‘The Union Shall Respect Cultural Diversity and National Identities’: Lisbon’s Concessions to Euroscepticism – True Promises or a Booby-Trap?
23 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 19, 2010
Taking Euroscepticism that mainly concentrates on the tension between European integration and the preservation of cultural diversity and national identity as a point of departure, this contribution serves as a normative observation of the Lisbon Treaties' competences and procedures in relation to the statement that the EU will respect cultural diversity and national identity. The question is whether the Lisbon Treaties are giving in to Euroscepticism by respecting and protecting diversity or whether the statements are only a window-dressing formality which, in reality, is not effectuated by the Union. When one looks at some Union developments and initiatives over the last few years, the EU's eventual ideal of becoming a more centralised political entity becomes clear. If, when looking at the new provisions in the Lisbon Treaties, this ideal is taken into account, the Treaties seem to reflect this progressive approach. Overall, it seems that 'Lisbon' has indeed considered the Eurosceptic arguments concerning a lack of democratic control and the tension concerning diversity and national identity. Nonetheless, the general signal expressed by the innovations seems to be that progressive integration by increased effectiveness is more important than the satisfaction of the Member States' wishes with regard to respect for cultural diversity and national identity. It may well be that this effectiveness results in a counter-effect: an intensification of Euroscepticism that may negatively reflect on the Union's progressive integration.
Keywords: Lisbon Treaty, Euroscepticism, Cultural Diversity, National Identity, Effectiveness, Democracy, Procedures, Competences
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