Conference Agenda

Panel 908: The EU's Raison d'Etat - In Search for a Single European Interest
Wednesday, 08/Sept/2021:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Dominika Harasimiuk, Lazarski University
Discussant: Tomasz Braun, Lazarski University,Warsaw


The EU's Raison d'Etat - In Search for a Single European Interest

Chair(s): Dominika Harasimiuk (Lazarski University, Warsaw, Poland), Spasimir Domaradzki (Warsaw University)

The panel attempts to analyse the notion of the raison d'état in the context of the EU's capacity as a supranational organisation. We will reflect on the question of whether a raison d'etat of the EU may exist at all. The raison d'etat is traditionally associated with the interest of the state as a subject of international law. Today, looking at the development of the EU, one may ask whether the raison d'etat can be attributed to it. Or perhaps the raison d'état of the Union can be understood as the sum of the interests of its Member States. Is it possible to derive a common interest or a group of interests of an overriding character, which would exist without conflicting with the interests of the Member States? Is it possible to determine the relevant areas of the EU's raison d'état? The reflection developed within the present panel undertakes such a task. Our goal is to focus on the areas of EU law and policy fields, which may best identify the possible EU’s raison d’etat. The Common Commercial Policy, enlargement policy, the process of transfer of legislative powers by the Member States to the Union in the area of climate-energy policy, may be indicated as the relevant ones. Such a transfer of competencies to the EU level can be treated as an emanation of the Member States’ raison d'etat. On the other hand, the transferred areas may become priorities for the Union itself and thus define its raison d’etat.


Presentations of the Symposium


The General Interest of the EU and/or The Common Interest of the Member States

Magdalena Bainczyk
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Poland; Institute for Western Affairs, Poznan, Poland

The paper goal is to focus on the issue of the general interest of the EU from the prespective of the mutual relations between the European Commission and Member States. The issue of the existance of the EU's raison etat, shall be analyzed also in the context of Art. 17.1 TEU, and being more precise in the light of the term used to define the character of the European Commission that shall promote the general interest of the Union. Having in mind present conflicts in many areas between the Commission and some Member States, it may be worth considering, if the general interest of the EU still exists and what is necessary to maintain the common interest of 27 Member States. Whether in that context it is advisable to expand constantly the scope of EU competencies, turning also values, not defined in the Treaties into new fields of the EU institutions’ activities.


The EU in a Quest for its Raison d’Etat in the Western Balkans: Can the New Enlargement Methodology Help?

Ivana Radic Milosavljevic
The University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences, Serbia

Embedded in the framework of the realist theory of international relations and the concept of raison d’état, the article questions the EU's role in the so-called Western Balkan region. The region continues to be covered by the EU's enlargement policy. However, the policy has become increasingly disgraced because of the EU's inability to act as a unified and resolute actor. Almost forgotten, the enlargement towards the Western Balkans has come to the fore once again after French President Macron's rebuff of Albania's and North Macedonia's accession negotiations aspirations in 2019. After the French initiative, the European Commission developed a new enlargement methodology proposal for the Western Balkans. The aim has been to save the enlargement policy and retain the region's crumbling membership perspective – the EU's major foreign policy instrument in the region. Additionally, the proposal should persuade the EU Member States that keeping the WBs membership perspective is in the EU's own interest.

I analyze the new methodology's proposed solutions, and I argue that the document is not fit for the purpose. Although the Commission has been actively promoting the EU's common interest in the region, the Member States' diverging national interests preclude the EU from aggregating its raison d’état towards the region. The new methodology does nothing to overcome this situation. What is more, by insisting on a "stronger political steer" in the document, the Commission pushes the Union further away from a common ground regarding the question of the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans.


The EU Common Action Against Climate Change as Substantive Meaning of the EU “Raison d’ État”

Antonietta Elia
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Climate change and environmental harms are increasingly threatening human security and request to international organized community to take concrete measures to both adapt to and mitigate their impact. At multilateral level, the signature and adoption of a variety of international legally binding instruments, declarations of commitment and engagement signed the way forward. In that general framework of action taken at the universal level, what is the role of European Union? How it is acting promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation measures? Is there a common framework at EU level according to which Member States must take legal and policies measures? The present proposal will try to explore the existing legal and policy framework at EU level and its function and impact to the national environmental policies. The proposal will consider the present and future development of the EU Next Generation Plan also as a tool to determine legal and policy measures to protect environment, between national Member States and EU supranational framework.