In this paper I try to explore whether the EU can go on expanding and thereby become culturally ever more diversified, and at the same retain its stability. The answer is, in principle, affirmative. Europe has always been much diversified, and therefore it is not possible to define a European identity in terms of particular cultural traditions. However, in spite of their diversity, the EU-member countries are united by their adherence to the principles of democracy, rule by law and human rights. Countries which do not share this basic consensus would not be accepted as members, nor is it likely that they would apply for it. An essential part is the willingness of member states to accept a reduction of national sovereignty on some important policy fields. The EU project is basically about lifting the principles of democracy and rule by law on the international level, most and foremost among the member states, but also as to the outer world. This endeavour can be seen the core of the European identity. It provides mechanisms which allow handling cultural differences, and in principle, it is open to other countries. Furthermore, theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence has convincingly shown that economic modernisation leads to a set of predictable cultural changes, among them exactly the spread of democratic ideals. Modernisation is thereby a powerful ally of the European project. Further geographical expansion and an intensification of the cooperation are the most likely scenarios, and so is the existence of many conflicts. But this is simply EU-normality.
|Udgiver||Center for Comparative Integration Studies|
|Status||Udgivet - 2006|