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For Whom Is Europe?

A Friendly Reply

Henry R. Huttenbach

In a previous issue of the European Journal of Social Quality, Wolfgang Beck and Laurent van der Maesen raised the question: ‘Who is Europe for?’ Certainly not for the general populations, they conclude, judging from who designs the blueprints, formulates policy and executes and manages plans in and for the emerging European Union. Beck and van der Maesen raise the age-old plaint that the people, the citizens of and residents in multi-state Europe are being systematically bypassed by a bureaucratic elite more or less deaf to the voices and interests of the general public. Instead of decision-making taking place in the openness of the agora, in the public space, it is being made in camera by faceless and democratically unaccountable committees. The authors object to the new Europe increasingly run by experts, by arrogant professionals and by disinterested technocrats who harbour a basic contempt for grassroots democratic processes. In short, Beck and van der Maesen are critical of a Europe designed almost exclusively for transnational corporate interests and their allies – investment bankers, public officials, and so on.

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Jan Baars, Carroll L. Estes, Piet Houben, Henry Huttenbach, Anne Jamieson, Malcolm Johnston, John Mepham, Anne Shostack Sassoon and Wendy Stokes

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