Now, the common European Constitution has failed and has been put on ice for the time being, but what remains is the concern of some Member States about the loss of their sovereignty and, therefore, their identity. These debates are avoided as far as possible in the EU's political leadership circles and demonised, with the broad support of the media, as "regression" and "nationalist tendencies" - without offering a common European identity.
However, also in Great Britain it was probably the concern for the loss of one's own identity and sovereignty that initiated and made possible the Brexit debate. The rude awakening followed when it became clear that Great Britain's withdrawal from the European Union was a highly complex task and a precedent under international law. And the British really got into a skid in view of the complexity of the associated political consequences. How should the British Parliament deal with the reversal of the already advanced distribution of power at the international level?
Britain overlooks the fact that in the globalised world with its diverse economic interdependencies, the attempt to strictly uphold statehood (sovereignty) cannot be a suitable response to the new political challenges.
The EU, for its part, overlooks the fact that the political identity that has always inspired peoples to form states cannot be replaced by the economic, i. e. by the catalogue of fundamental freedoms. The EU overlooks the fact that identity formation cannot take place if the common foreign and security policy, Schengen, the Monetary Union, etc. are not accessible to all Member States or are developed differently in the Member States.
So Brexit is much more than a British crisis. It is a fact that individual states with their democratic institutions cannot solve international problems. It is another fact that intergovernmental cooperation between states cannot function according to the principles of national democratic constitutions. Neither the British Parliament nor the EU institutions can solve this fundamental dilemma. We therefore urgently need new political steering mechanisms that allow national identity and sovereignty to be preserved, even when international problems are being solved.
The source: Valdai Discussion ClubViews expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.