The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration

In This Review

The Idea of a European Superstate: Public Justification and European Integration

By Glyn Morgan
Princeton University, 2005
204 pp. $29.95

This well-written, well-argued, and challenging essay offers both a strong contribution to the debate about the shape of European integration and an argument for the relevance of political philosophy to international relations. Morgan tries to establish what kind of Europe best fulfills the requirements of "public justification." He settles on three components of a democratic standard of justification: a requirement of publicity (arguments "must appeal to reasons that all suitably situated Europeans could accept"), a requirement of accessibility (arguments "must be understandable by ordinary people"), and a requirement of sufficiency (arguments must show that a federal European politics "provides an effective and efficient protection for the goods or benefits that purport to justify its existence"). Morgan moves on to expose the weakness of nationalist Euroskepticism and then examines two different possible Europes. One is "post-sovereign Europe," "a radically decentered polity ... held together by practices of dialogue and contestation." The other, which has Morgan's favor, is a sovereign Europe, "premised on the contribution a federal Europe would make to individual security." The costs of the current unipolarity, Morgan argues, are too high, and the Europe he calls for requires internal sovereignty, secured through "the construction of parallel, nonduplicative political structures that can gain legitimacy only as they demonstrate efficacy."

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