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The Foundations of the EU as a Polity

Massimo Fichera

In this insightful book, Massimo Fichera provides an original account of European integration as a process. He argues that European constitutionalism has been informed from its earliest stages by a meta-rationale, which is expressed by security and fundamental rights as discourses of power. Employing this descriptive and normative conceptual framework to analyse the development of the EU as a polity, chapters cover significant recent events such as the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, the rule of law crisis, Brexit and the constitutional identity crisis.
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Chapter 4: The foundations of the EU as a polity

Massimo Fichera


This chapter explores five out of six dimensions of security -spatial, temporal, ontological, popular and epistemic. The risk in the process of European integration is that the circularity of security and fundamental rights discourses—the self-referentiality of the meta-rationale of security—leads to a blind alley, and potential self-destruction. The multiple crises of the recent years have showed that this is a concrete possibility. The chapter distinguishes between the refugee crisis, the rule of law crisis, the financial and economic crisis, the constitutional identity crisis, the boundaries crisis and the Brexit crisis. For the first time in the history of the European liberal project, all dimensions of security are being challenged simultaneously by six types of crisis. Paradoxes and tensions certainly emerge from the common effort to construe an internal market within a diversified multi-layered transnational society, while at the same time preventing its fragmentation and dissolution. Yet, the moment has come to face political conflict and address it directly, rather than conceal it behind a veil of neutrality. Being ready for actual confrontation means dismissing the straitjacket imposed by the European liberal project and moving beyond the current state of affairs. As a result, the constellation of nation States should not be sidelined too easily and, at the same time, the needs and claims of the local, sub-national level should be considered more carefully.

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