The Juncker Commission and public support for the EU
15 Jun 2016 - 14:41
Source: Flickr - Thierry Ehrmann
Recognizing the severity of the EU’s legitimacy crisis, the Juncker Commission has tried to regain public confidence by proving that the EU can solve major problems. The question is, however, what kind of EU is created when the policies of the Juncker Commission are implemented? Juncker’s assumption seems to be that people will accept deeper European integration only if the EU delivers. This leads to two fundamental questions: will the public accept deeper integration even if it delivers growth, jobs and solutions to the migration crises? And, is Juncker’s analysis correct that faltering public trust in the EU originates from a lack of EU outputs?
One conclusion we can draw is that Juncker is silent on the EU’s finalité (end goals). The swift and effective policies Juncker strives for might be dangerous because they may involve integration by stealth of the sort the public may not want. Secondly, the EU’s legitimacy crisis may have a different source. Whereas Juncker wants to increase the trust people have in the EU, the Dutch government sees the trust people have in weak member states as a more fundamental problem. As a result, the Juncker Commission might be heading in directions that conflict with Dutch analyses of the EU’s governance deficits and preferred actions. Lack of trust in the EU is not the issue per se; lack of trust in weak member states is.
You can read the full article of Adriaan Schout and Hedwich van der Bij in: Adam Hug (ed), 'Europe and the people: Examining the EU's democratic legitimacy' Foreign Policy Centre (June 2016).