Author(s): Larry Siedentop
Taking inspiration from the heated discussions that preceded the birth of federal government in the United States, Larry Siedentop investigates what we can reasonably expect and what we have to fear from a united Europe. Despite the profound hostility between skeptics and proponents of a united Europe, the outlines of serious public debate have barely been sketched. While skeptics talk of national sovereignty and invoke the spirit of wartime resistance, Europhiles embrace the idealism of eurozones and sound economic management.
Larry Siedentop examines whether representative government is feasible across the vast physical scale and human diversity of Europe. He explores the threat to local autonomy and individual freedom, and he anatomizes the widely different political cultures of Britain, France, and Germany. He balances throughout an understanding of the great theorists of supranational government, especially Montesquieu and De Tocqueville, with a deep, though critical, appreciation of contemporary Europe. Siedentop argues that it is only on a publicly discussed and commonly agreed upon constitution that one can hope to build a democratic Europe equal to the pressures it will have to withstand.