HOME MAIL SEARCH HELP NEW



 

Politik und Gesellschaft Online
International Politics and Society 1/2001


Jacques Delors

Towards a New Dynamism in the Process of European Integration

Benjamin Benz / Jürgen Boeckh / Ernst-Ulrich Huster
Europa - a New Social Area: Development Trends and Policy Options

Dirk Messner
A Co-operative World Power. The Future of the European Union in the New Global Politics

Gerd Föhrenbach
The Transatlantic Security Partnership on the Threshold of the 21st Century

Eric Teo
The Emerging East Asian Regionalism

Hartmut Elsenhans
Globalisation - a Barrier to Growth: Development Policy Can Recreate Dynamism

Christian Ahler
Democr@tic-Global-Governance.net. ICANN as a Paradigma of New Forms of International Government in Cyberspace

 

 

Jacques Delors

 

Towards a New Dynamism in the Process of European Integration

 The inclusion of more and more new member states in the European Union makes it increasingly difficult to deepen European integration. Many of the member states will be unable to keep pace with the speed of integration which the core EU countries are able and willing to maintain. This creates a danger that the entire process of unification – and this is very much desired by certain sides – will not get beyond a free-trade zone. This would not be appropriate in view of the challenges we will be facing due to globalisation. In order to escape the danger of stagnation, those member states already prepared to opt for a greater degree of communitarisation must form an avant-garde which leads the way towards integration. Within the existing Union, they should join to form a “European Federation” which is always open for additional EU members. This federation should not be understood as a new European nation state, but as a “federation of nation states” committed to the principle of subsidiarity. This principle would make the allocation of responsibilities to different levels of government dependent on the way the various issues develop. The “Community method”, which has brought European unification to its current position, should continue to be applied in future. The finely balanced combination of supranational sovereignty and intergovernmental co-operation which is characteristic of the Union should be regarded not as a transitional solution, but as Europe’s real strength. It unites the identity-fostering function of the nation states – a function which cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future – with the possibility of making appropriate responses to the international and global challenges.

 

Benjamin Benz / Jürgen Boeckh / Ernst-Ulrich Huster


Europe – a New Social Area:

Development Trends and Policy Options

 

The end of the Cold War has opened up prospects of a “common European house”. But ten years after the disappearance of the Iron Curtain, it is becoming clear that, whilst recourse can be had to shared traditions, new conflicts are also building up. There are signs of increasing interlinkages between the economic and political changes in the eastern European countries in transition and in the EU members. Social structures and processes are becoming interwoven in three central aspects of this emerging European social area: firstly in the economic integration of eastern and western Europe, secondly in migration and thirdly in the repercussions on major fields of policy, and particularly wages, welfare and tax policy. Overall, a social transformation of Europe is being fostered, as has long been advocated by conservative/liberal forces. Because responsibility for welfare and tax policy remains largely in national hands, these policy fields are being exposed to increasing pressures of competition in the borderless European (not so much global) economy. They become means to safeguard and improve national competitiveness. So far, low-wage competition from eastern Europe has not really played a major role. But it does feed into the general perception of the competing business locations. The primacy of such cost-cutting policies promotes social polarisation in western Europe. At the same time, there is no sign that the development gap between western and eastern Europe is closing. The predominant concept for the integration of the east into a borderless pan-European market provides no political lever to attain this objective. The continuing geographical polarisation between east and west will further reinforce the polarisation within societies in eastern and western Europe. What is needed is an alternative integration policy which relies on different speeds and shared fundamental values, which must include basic social rights.

Dirk Messner


A Co-operative World Power

The Future of the European Union in the New Global Politics

 

Since the mid-1990s, the European Union has been starting to constitute itself as a foreign-policy player. However, the European players with the power to act are not yet thinking in global policy categories. There is a lack of an image or at least of pointers to guide the EU as it tries to find its way through the field of global policy. The key question is whether Europe wishes to become a co-operative global power in order to exert influence on the shaping of globalisation and the construction of a viable architecture of global governance. The latter is the key future challenge for global policy. In tackling it, the traditional criteria of power, oriented to the safeguarding of “external sovereignty” in the anarchic world of nation states, are irrelevant. Instead, it is important to create cross-border co-operation in order to uphold the “internal sovereignty” of societies (maintaining social objectives in the face of global problems). This necessitates the power to persuade, to set agendas and to form structures. The EU has good preconditions for this, not least because it is not succumbing to the unilateralist temptations of the hegemonic power, the United States. But it needs to take advantage of these preconditions to build up and use its power to form definitions, consensus and structures. The first steps along this road would be – in the course of a European, not nationally restricted, debate – the formation of objectives (world order structures) and foreign policy concepts in relation to the United States and other global policy players (not only states) and in the development of a common EU position in major international fora like the UN.

 

Gerd Föhrenbach

 

The Transatlantic Security Partnership on the Threshold of the 21st Century

 

The security relations between the countries of western Europe and the United States of America are currently affected by differences of opinion on numerous issues. But Europeans and Americans will continue to need each other in future. The Europeans in particular must aim to maintain the US interest in protecting the old continent. After all, since the end of the east-west conflict, new threats have emerged, not least due to the acquisition by several states of weapons of mass destruction. In Europe, there is a tendency either to play down this threat or to regard US military support as automatic. The United States, on the other hand, tends towards a high-handed approach which ignores customary international traditions of co-operation and thus engenders unnecessary resentment. However, it is true that the United States has repeatedly proved to be the one power that can be relied on when acute international problems need to be resolved (e.g. in Bosnia and Kosovo). Basically, the United States needs to change its attitude. In contrast, the Europeans need to do their “homework”. In particular, they need to make an appropriate material contribution towards the functioning of the transatlantic security partnership. Amongst other things, they need to boost their military effectiveness and adapt it to the new challenges. But any thought of building up a military capacity independent of the USA is misplaced.

 

Eric Teo

 

The Emerging East Asian Regionalism

 

The advantages of regional co-operation have become more and more obvious to the countries of East Asia since economic globalisation has been increasingly placing question marks over old certainties and now that the orientation of the individual country to an apparently robust world economic system, whose centres of gravity lie elsewhere, is no longer the most obvious option. So far, the concept of regional co-operation has been opposed by the primacy of a Realpolitik oriented to threat scenarios, rivalries in power politics, and competing alliance strategies. The rapprochement, largely influenced by China, between North and South Korea is now removing a significant barrier to the concept of pan-East Asian co-operation. It is also reshaping the relationship between China and Japan. At the same time, there is a growing understanding in South East Asia that the subregional level of co-operation alone is not suited to coping with the new problems. On the other hand, ASEAN has lost a lot of its ability to function as a result of the Asian financial crisis and its aftermath and due to enlargement. Nevertheless, first steps have been taken in the context of the “ASEAN+3” concept (inclusion of China, Japan and South Korea) towards setting up regional structures for co-operation. But the road is not yet clear for further implementation of the regional concept. The imponderables include future US and Russian policy, ASEAN’s internal difficulties, the progress on Korean rapprochement, the internal Chinese and internal Japanese debates on the regional roles of the two countries, and – above all – the Taiwan question.

 

Hartmut Elsenhans

 

Globalisation – a Barrier to Growth:

Development Policy Can Recreate Dynamism

 

Ever since their agricultural sectors have produced surpluses with which urban workers can be fed, the developing countries have been able to compete successfully on the world’s industrial goods markets. They are able to reduce the wages paid in the exporting industry – measured in dollars – virtually at will, since their workers can eat the cheap domestic foodstuffs which cannot gain access to the world market. Currency devaluations reduce the nominal wages of workers in the export industry – and thus enhance international competitiveness – but leave their real wages virtually untouched. This possibility to compete via devaluation only reaches its limits when labour becomes scarce in the exporting country. Then the real southern wages also rise; there are defensive increases in productivity and shifts in relative prices. Increased consumer demand also impacts on the world market. But as long as there is a surplus of labour and labour can be fed cheaply (in terms of world market prices) due to agricultural surpluses, the southern entry onto the world’s industrial goods markets creates a gap in demand. The growth mechanism of the capitalist economy, which is based on full employment and the resulting need to keep enhancing productivity, begins to stutter. The workers made redundant in the north by the low-wage competition from the south cannot find any equivalent employment, since new markets are not created at the same rate as when mass incomes rise in the south. For these incomes to rise, labour first needs to become scarce there. Here, development assistance can help. It can, as it were, engender artificial demand which directly employs part of the labour force and thus keeps it out of the “real” labour market. Labour can then become scarce and the dynamics of rising real wages, rising productivity (in order to offset the cost pressures) and rising demand can start moving. The developing countries would be integrated into the growth dynamic of the capitalist world economy, their average incomes would grow in line with their average productivity. That is what happened in the case of the East Asian “tigers”, where in an early stage of the process of industrial development, agricultural reforms kept large numbers of workers in the farm sector.

 

Christian Ahlert

 

Democr@tic-Global-Governance.net

ICANN as a Paradigm of New Forms of International Government in Cyberspace

 

On the one hand, old-style international organisations are becoming increasingly inefficient: they are not tailored to the new global challenges. At the same time, these very challenges are making them increasingly important. But this highlights their democratic deficit. Their popular legitimacy is declining. In contrast, the Internet, with its forms of communication which are totally independent of geographical proximity and timetabled co-ordination, provides a possibility for world-wide participation in decision-making processes beyond national frontiers. This can manifest itself both in referendums and elections and in the debates preceding decisions. Not only cross-border democratic decisions, but also more direct participation of the people affected by such decisions and thus less need for representation mechanisms appear possible. ICANN, which establishes important rules for the functioning of the Internet and the possibility to participate in this medium (and which is also termed the “Internet government”), had some of its directors elected directly by Internet users from around the world in 2000. The focus was on electing representatives not from nation states, but from large regions of the world (continents). The running of the election fell well short of a legitimate democratic decision-making process. But the election campaigns did manifest the Internet’s huge potential for world-wide participation in the debates which precede decisions. However, the web also presents the problem that mass participation runs the risk of degenerating into a ritual, the real decision-making power then ending up with small groups of insiders. This indicates a need for selection mechanisms in which specific participation in pre-decision debates is restricted to a limited number of representatives of the Internet “demos”. If the paradigmatic nature of the ICANN election for future transnational democracy is to be better understood, it would also be necessary to study the relationship between “single issue” decisions and more comprehensive governmental processes. So far, all that has been tested is a consumer democracy.


© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | net edition malte.michel| 1/2001