Max Vives-Fierro, director executiu de la Fundació Catalunya Europa.
The EU is still under construction. It is a complexe, ambitious project that has been boosted mainly by the different Member States that make up it and the personalities of civil society that made it possible. This project aims to drive the various member states into political unity, although the steps taken are slow and in different areas.
The citizenship of the Member States is a new status achieved in the last treaties and a fact that has meant moving forward with the feeling of integration towards the Union.
It is clear that since the signing of the first treaties, new institutions have appeared that are added to the national, regional and municipal authorities already implemented in each Member State, a situation that is more complex.
Since 1990’s Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks, developed the concept of multi-level governance that gives expression to the idea that there are many interacting authority structures at work in the emergent global politics. It empasizes the dispersion of decision making from local to the global level, characterizes the changing relationships between actors situated at different territorial levels. And it raised a new and important questions about the role, power and authority of states. At European level, is understood as respecting competences, sharing responsabilities and cooperating between the various levels of governance. Within the European Union nearly 95.000 local and regional authorities currently have significant powers in key sectors. These implement nearly 70% of the EU legislation. On 16 of June 2009, the Committee of the Regions adopted a White paper on multi-level governance which recommended specific mechanisms and instruments for stimulating all stages of the European decision-making process.
At this time, there are many levels of government that weigh on every European citizen, in Catalonia. By inverse order we find different levels: the districts, the municipalities, the metropolitan area, the province, the region, the Euroregion, the Union for the Mediterranean, State, European Union and United Nations. Larger levels of government, which require well defined skills and a budget to carry them out. Of the quoted: four very clear, municipality, region, State and European Union. It is logical to think that we must reduce them and reorder them, in a rational and far-away way from the impulses of political parties that add more complication to a reform that is global in scope and is necessary.
In this sense, and in the current moment in Europe, and given what happened with the different Soviet republics, the former Yugoslavia, Britain and Ireland, we can confirm that there is a legitimate boost for citizens who want to cede sovereignty to the institutions that represent their community beyond what was established in the Peace of Westphalia, where the map of today’s Europe was drawn, and that the current configuration of Europe could no longer be conformed by different states. We must remind what happened at the United States: they accepted the secession of Vermont from New York in 1791, Kentucky from Virginia in 1792 and Maine from Massachusetts in 1792.
This means that the predominance of the strength of the presence of four States in the government of Europeans would diminish and more power could be given to other Estates regions or metropolitan areas that, in themselves, could be groups that should have a voice and vote in the decisions that affect the political management of the interests of all Europeans. In particular, one could think of a diminution of the power of the European Council, accompanied by a predominance of the European Parliament and its executive arm, the European Commission, where the regions and metropolis had more power of decision. Just as article 1.2 of the Lisbon Treaty marks: “a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen”. We understand peoples as community of persons, not States.