European Union - Democratization - Democratic Citizenship

Vienna, 22 April 1999/P/K/16448c-is

In a report prepared within the framework of the research project "European Studies for Democratic Citizenship," Dr. Hans Koechler, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and President of the International Progress Organization, called for democratization of the European Union on the basis of the requirements of democratic citizenship and participatory democracy. The report deals with (a) the concept of citizenship in the European "constitutional" system, (b) the Treaty of European Union (Maastricht Treaty in the recent version of the Treaty of Amsterdam) and its implications for democratic citizenship, and (c) the requirements of democratization on the European level.

The report proposes, among others, the following measures of democratization on the level of the European Union:

The report states that such measures of reform, as vaguely defined as they may be at the present stage, may provide the basis for democratic citizenship at the European level – in conformity with the declaration of the Treaty on European Union (Art. 6, Par. 1): "The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law ..." The European Union has to be developed towards an open and democratic community which is based on co-operation among sovereign member states on an equal basis and on the participation of the citizens, the holders of the sovereignty of the member states, both in the national and transnational context. Only this will help to strengthen the hitherto "fragile legitimacy" of a supranational organization that ultimately aspires to build a federal system of Europe in which the citizens enjoy their basic rights beyond the confines of the European nation-state.

See the abridged online version of the text. The full text of the report may be ordered from the International Progress Organization.

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