Instituting Europe: Germany, the Union, and the Legacy of the Short Century

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Hannover University and Harvard University
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Recent debates about the future of the European Union have focused

in large part on institutional reforms, the deficit of democratic legitimacy,

and the problem of economic and agrarian policies. As important

as these issues may be, the most crucial question at the moment

is not whether Europe will prevail as a union of nations or as a thoroughly

integrated federal structure. What is of much greater concern

is the fact that political structures and their corresponding political

discourses have lagged far behind the social changes occurring in

European societies. The pivotal transformation of 1989 has not been

grasped intellectually or politically, even though its results are

increasingly visible in both the east and west.

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