While sovereignty is pulled from above and from below in international, European and local processes, member states still want to hold it back. This seminar seeks to explore the meaning of sovereignty in today’s Europe, as the tension between supranationalism and intergovernmentalism intensifies.
The European Union member states perceive how their national sovereignty is inevitably eroding. Interdependence and global dynamics, from European integration to economic crises and climate breakdown, have curtailed the capacity for states’ autonomous action. At the same time, the gradual importance of sub-national actors like cities, which govern everyday spaces, or regions, which reclaim further decentralisation, also contest state structures and their legitimacy.
Yet, as a response to these trends, states opt for slowing down the process of European integration, privileging intergovernmentalism over common strategies and policies. Supranational institutions such as the European Commission or the European Parliament are often relegated to a secondary role, overshadowed by the primacy of the European Council and the Council of the EU.
While sovereignty is pulled from above and from below in international, European and local processes, member states still want to hold it back. This seminar, co-organised by CETC and CIDOB, seeks to explore first the meaning of sovereignty in today’s Europe, as the tension between supranationalism and intergovernmentalism intensifies. Second, it discusses ways to institutionalise forms of shared sovereignty up from below, in order to address the tensions and crises of state sovereignty.
In order to meet these objectives, the two-day seminar will be structured in two keynotes, that are followed by two roundtables. The first keynote and roundtable explore the challenges to European integration by considering two ideas: the prospects for multispeed Europe and multi-level governance processes. The former considers how different parts of the Union can integrate at different pace and degree, to accommodate different political sensibilities and contestations (from eurosceptics to eurocritics). The latter discusses the role of different levels of governance, from cities or regions like Catalonia to supranational actors like the EU, to address future crises.
The second keynote and subsequent roundtable think of sovereignty as “taking back control”. They discuss the weakening of the social Europe, particularly as a consequence of the economic and migratory crises. Rethinking sovereignty requires thinking novel ways of addressing social concerns: from developing integrated fiscal programmes or improving service provisions at the subnational level to make reforms that could enable more humane and efficient responses to future migration flows. While the Catalan government and the Barcelona City Council have been critical of national and European responses, it is yet unclear which redistribution of sovereign competences would make a difference in key social matters.
Antoni Segura, President, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)
Mireia Borrell Porta, Secretary for Foreign Action and the European Union, Government of Catalonia
Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)
Keynote speech: Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Director and Professor of International Relations, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford
Initial comments: Antoni Bassas, Journalist, ARA Newspaper
Input statements: Simon Toubeau, Assistant Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham
Sophia Russack, Researcher, CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies)
Marc Sanjaume, Adjunct Professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
Eleonora Poli, Research Fellow, IAI (Instituto Affari Internazionale)
Chair: Pere Almeda, Director, CETC (Centre d’Estudis de Temes Contemporanis)
Keynote speech: Ulrike Guérot, Professor and Head of Department, Danube-University Krems (DUK)
Initial comments: Carme Colomina, Researcher, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs); Journalist, ARA Newspaper
Input statements: Eulalia Rubio, Senior Research Fellow, Jacques Delors Institute
Emmanuel Comte, Research Fellow, Vienna School of International Studies
Rym Ayadi, Founder and Director, Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies; Senior Advisor, CEPS (Centre for European
Blanca Garcés, Senior Research Fellow and Research Coordinator, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)
Chair: Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)
Alfons González Bondia, Director General for European and Mediterranean Affairs, Government of Catalonia