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The European nation?

For many people, the necessity of establishing the European Union was explained by the increasingly evident inadequacy of nation-states to tackle the challenges posed by globalization, where globalization means the ever more complicate and dense system of interstate relations, here and now. The nation-state, which not so long ago used to be the primary (or even sole) form of political organization of humanity, seems to be more and more inadequate for embarking upon tasks such as regulation of nuclear proliferation, decreasing the deepening global economic and financial instability, subduing the powers of multinational companies and capital, halting massive migration, pacifying the conflict zones, and avoiding the global environmental disaster. Popular views suggest that these issues could only be regulated by regional powers--if at all--as the EU had been envisaged to become by its founders.

Thus, among the many other aspects, the EU could be perceived as a modern alternative of a system of nation-states, an endeavor to overcome the inadequacy of nation-states through a new political form of organization, a new political "body". Indeed, sovereignty transfer in Europe has become more and more visible after World War II, having as direct "beneficiaries" the political institutions of the EU: the Commission, the Council and the Parliament, and as "losers" the nation-states. Albeit the EU initially had not been envisaged to be more than a steel and carbon industry community encompassing a few states only, that is, an economic community with the primary goal of preventing--through economic interdependence--the revival of nationalism that covered the entire Europe in blood twice in the 20th century, by today, the institutionalization of the EU has by far exceeded the initial economic objective.

Otherwise, the functionalistic conception of political integration that practically accompanied the EU institutionalization from start, has proven to be true in terms of its basic assumption: the need for creating--and logically, controlling--a common economic market indeed lead to the birth of the common European governance institutions. In this regard, the birth of institutions followed the scenario first elaborated in theory: by the acquisition of real and independent power by these institutions, a new center and a new form of power and governance was created in Europe. However, the nature of this new form has become quite intangible, and moreover, the legitimacy of the governing institutions created in the meanwhile has proven to be extremely disputable. The Europe-wide form of governance has not turned out to be as transparent, accountable and accessible--not even visible for the European citizens--as its predecessors, the governing bodies of European nation-states were. Moreover, the more power these institutions acquire, the more evident their democratic deficit becomes.

Similarly, the nature or character of the EU as a political form of organization hasn't turned out unequivocal either. The EU is not merely an international organization as the UN or the NATO, but it isn't a nation-state either. Albeit the motives of power and sovereignty transfer in Europe were mostly geopolitical, the EU has not become an alliance of nations either, as the EU norms are institutionalized through rules and practices all over Europe, deeply penetrating into social life: neither the Delian League, nor the Hanseatic League had such a claim on transforming social life. Perhaps the closest resemblance could be drawn with a federation; yet, the common control and influence instruments of a federal government are missing. The American political scientist Michael Mann is justified in his irony when he says that by creating the EU, the political legacy of the Greek language is finally superseded, and probably the best term for describing the institutional character of the EU is just "euro". (1)

Regardless of what the correct description and classification of the European Union as a state organization is, indisputably, it is a justified question to ask, as in case of every form of political organization and government: whom does it represent? Are there any, and if there are, who are the people who comprise the European nation, the European demos?--If today the issue of the European constitution is the primary subject of disputes in Europe, we must take into account that a constitution does not only set out the methods and limits of exercising power (in the future), but also approaches the person of the legislator. Creating a constitution must be seen as an act whereby the legislator, that is, the "nation" shapes itself and also submits itself to the power it created. Therefore, creating a constitution does not only assume the existence of a legitimate and limited power, but also that of a "political body", that is, the existence of the people themselves. A political community is created by the "people" submitting themselves to the political power they themselves created.

Thus, the question arises involuntarily: is there a European demos which could serve as basis for European governance and constitution?--which is practically the same as asking: is there a pan-European political identity or at least some feeling of togetherness--more vague and intangible--in the European people. Can we justly say today that "we, the people of Europe"?

I believe that the answer to this question--at least for now--is negative. In this regard, it is worth taking a look at the Eurobarometer data: to what extent the inhabitants or citizens of European nation-states stated they were Europeans or rather Europeans than members of a certain nation (around 12%, of which only 4% declared they were Europeans), and what did that actually mean for them? (2) It seems that albeit the political elites of some nation-states tend to see--and accordingly, treat--the EU as an independent and specific political institutional system based on its own law, the citizens of the same nation-states have a completely different view on it. Aside from the small, almost insignificant group of Europe fans, even today most citizens identify themselves primarily with their own national community. They see the European governance as part of the international relations of their own national governments, which indeed concerns some of their national interests, but is not by itself a political institutional system based on its own law. The positive approach of most Europeans to the EU, reflected in the Eurobarometer data, is of little significance in this regard. Surveys polling the voters about their approach to the EU essentially differ from elections, when voters are asked to resolve their priorities and undertake issues in order to cast that one vote they have in a coherent way.

The visible difficulty of identification with the EU probably emerges from the "abstractness" of European political goals: as of today, citizens don't consider the problems of taxation and social benefits or normative issues such as abortion or immigration regulation to be within the EU's competence.

Similarly, albeit the official documents and treaties of the EU utilize the concept "European citizen"--moreover, there is even an EU passport--, none of these documents can be said to possess a real operational value. Indeed, ultimately one has to be a citizen of a nation-state in order to get a European passport, and the passport is issued by the competent authorities of the nation-states, just as before. That is, while the governance institutions and organizations of the Union acquired independent and autonomous powers, European citizenship remained merely a derivate of national regulation. The term European citizen creates the false impression that citizens living in the EU acquired a specific and new political status, which is far from reality--it is merely a symbolic status. The only real political substance that could be paired with this status is that European citizens, at least at the local levels of European elections, are entitled to elect or be elected under certain conditions. Yet, the parties operating in certain countries, that usually dominate the process of nomination, rarely nominate foreign national candidates. Thus, if we are to seek some closer form of European identity--able to serve as basis for political community--, the analysis of Eurobarometer data or the examination of the effective, operational value of Union treaties and documents lead to fairly skeptical conclusions.

As for the feeling of togetherness: Europeanism and the sense of belonging to Europe indeed have some historical and cultural roots, yet this sense of togetherness will hardly be sufficient for stimulating--for instance--a stronger feeling of solidarity that would be necessary for operating the European welfare system (welfare state). (The failure of the French referendum on the draft constitution pointed out this very fact in 2005.) As a matter of fact, discussions on the issue of European cultural identity per se--and of the political implications of this cultural legacy--could only bear tangible results if we manage to surpass the usual generalities.

Theoretically, the "common" European cultural tradition has a double root: the Hellenist one and the Judaic-Christian one. Greek tradition produced the most important elements of our democratic political culture, but this "culture" has undergone quite many changes during the transmission process, and our political thinking and practice today is determined much more strongly by the quasi-institutionalized theoretical legacies of Hobbes and Locke or Montesquieu and Rousseau than by the world of Aristotelian ideas. Today, our democracies bear resemblance to the democracies of Greek city-states only in their names.

In principle, Christian tradition does not have such political implications. By referring to the Christian roots of Europe, we mostly think of the fact that Christian values penetrated European culture. At most, we habitually--and incorrectly--consider the democratic principle of equality to be originating in the Christian doctrine of equality of all human beings before God. Nevertheless, there are political philosophers--such as Pierre Manent (3), to name one--, who claim that the typical European form of political community and identity, the nation, could not have developed without Christianity, and that it is rooted in Christianity: Christianity spiritualized the political community, and through Reformation, it nationalized it. Thus, it might be worth analyzing the political significance of Christianity from this point of view, in another context.

Thus, we may summarize that the common European identity (today) is by no means an actually existing fact; it is, at best, a desideratum; and the basis for creating it could hardly be given in reminiscences or reminders of the common European cultural tradition. The typical European form of political community and identity has remained until this day the nation, and as they usually say: things that separate European nations are much more numerous than those that unite them. After these, the task for the EU--should it want to validate itself as a specific and independent form of governance--is evidently to create such an identity (a political body), and indeed there are express aspirations within the Union in this regard, primarily relying on the instruments of education and communication. (4)

Yet, if we look beyond these--quite hesitant and often contingent-looking --aspirations of the Union, and also take into account the important theoretical debates that are still taking place in this field, we shall see that the leading political theoreticians themselves push for the creation of a common European political identity--naturally, except for those who do not believe it is possible. (The latter group includes the afore-mentioned Pierre Manent, whose views shall be analyzed later herein.) Beyond doubt, the leading voice is Habermas, who advocated the necessity of a common European constitution and a common European loyalty in several of his books and studies. (5)

After World War II--Habermas points out--the entire Europe witnessed the appearance of a strong demand for a pluralist and tolerant society similar to the United States of America--this hope continues to animate his vision of a "post-national" Europe, but also the gradually institutionalizing political project of the European Union itself. However, he suggests that the "transnational" political community which could act as a sort of a "body" for the post-national Europe could only be created if the cultural differences that divide the groups--even nations--from each other were confined to the social (or, in certain cases, the private) dimension, and if we recognized that particular identity did not bear a public or political significance. The common--political--identity must be built on the universal values of a civil constitution based on the principle of guaranteeing individual rights. The demand for the political validation of particular identity (the so-called politics of recognition) cannot compromise the universal basic values of the constitution. Therefore, the hallmarks of Habermas's theory are transnational political community, civic nation, common constitutional values, citizen's loyalty, constitutional patriotism (and its instruments, social publicity and consultative democracy). (6)

As it is not my purpose (nor do I have sufficient space) for discussing Habermas's theory in more detail, I shall confine myself to making two short comments on the problems he raised. One of them is the fact that sovereignty transfer towards the EU undoubtedly erodes the powers of nation-states (albeit not their legitimacy), and as the nation-state is not only a beneficiary of a national type of identity, but also a promoter thereof, we can by all means speak of a gradual erosion of existing national identities, although only in a very limited way. Thus, it is indeed worth considering the possibility of a transnational (or even if not a transnational, but at least post-national) political identity. Nevertheless, the visible erosion of the sovereignty of nation-states does not automatically lead to a similar erosion of national communities and national identity. Such a conclusion would be legitimate--as the well-known researcher into nationalism, John Hutchinson, claims--only if we put the sign of equality between nation-state and nation, which is not really justified either from historical, or from methodological point of view. (7)

My second comment refers to the fact that Habermas--as he himself mentions--considers the American constitution to be exemplary, and envisages a key role of the future European constitution in the development of European constitutional patriotism. Ever since Tocqueville, we indeed have seen the

Americans as being characterized by a particular form of collective political loyalty which he identified as a reflected form of patriotism (that is, not merely one rooted in the hearts) and contrasted it with the French nationalism (which at that time was actually already typical of the entire Europe). Yet, as opposed to the fashionable theory of constitutional patriotism, Tocqueville did not attach a particular significance either to the so-called civil sphere (and social dialogue entertained within it) or to the constitution in the evolution of American patriotism or public spirit. He did mention civil organizations as bastions of culture and as products of civil initiative spirit, but he attributed much more importance to the decentralization of public administration in the evolution of public spirit. Administrative centralization, he suggested, robbed the people who accepted it of their power, because the state's omnipotence weakens public spirit in the citizens; however, decentralization, as it makes people interested in exercising power at the local level, arouses genuine concern and care for the future of the state (and not of the nation!).--I believe, it is a much more tangible proposal to base the possibility of patriotism and love of country on the decentralized forms of power than on a social deliberation and communicative action which is not given as a fact or perhaps not even as a possibility, and which, even so, could only have very slim chances besides the strongly centralized and bureaucratized forms of power.

Nevertheless, Habermas's theory is much more complex than to treat it so unjustly shortly. Yet, it is not the purpose of this study to explore his work, or to even consider the possibility of a transnational European political identity more seriously. Instead, I would like to ask ourselves: can the community of European citizens be envisaged as a national type of community? Or to put it plainly: can something like the European nation ever be created, at least in theory?

Such a question assumes from start that EU intends to become a nation-state, although such an aspiration is not that clear at all. Nevertheless, there are signs (such as the common European flag, the anthem, and generally other symbols meant to consolidate European identity) which point to the existence of some intention--albeit not always conscious and coherent in practice--to shape the European demos as a national type of community. Another argument for the approach I opted for is the fact that national political identity--regardless of how harmful European nationalism proved to be and of the damages it caused during the last two centuries turned out to be a very stable and popular form of common identity, to such extent that today one can hardly find an example of non-national political communities in Europe. And many consider this to be more than just a side-effect of historical coincidence. Rather, it shows--and some authors looking into political identity see it this way, too--that the nation has proven to be a form of political community which was the most capable of carrying the achievements of modernity, thus also the most adequate agent of modernity. (8)

There is no other better known and recognized authority in this manner of discussing the issue than Habermas. Albeit several available titles promise an examination of European identity from the perspective of national ideology, in most cases this correlation of European and national identity conceals merely a skeptical and pre-assumed conclusion. That is, those authors most often don't believe in the possibility of a European identity and intend to emphasize the durability and unchallengeable nature of existing national identities, against the common European identity. Thus, for instance, an older volume handling this subject-matter, edited by Brian Jenkins, warns about the increasing presence of nationalism in Europe. (9) At the same time, another one, edited by Mikaelaf Malmborg and Bo Strath, reveals that the various national discourses associate extremely different ideas with Europe. (10) A similar mindset underlies Anthony Pagden's approach from the perspective of the history of ideas, deducing from the analysis of various historical forms of the Europe idea that the European concept propagated in the various historical periods only served for concealing the European hegemonist aspirations of various states and empires, and nothing changed in case of the EU either, where the Europe ideal is just a camouflage of the German-French desires of hegemony. (11) This issue is approached in a very concrete manner and on a similarly skeptical tone in John Hutchinson's afore-mentioned study, but also in an older text by Anthony D. Smith, another emblematic figure of studies on nationalism. (12)

The approach I am proposing, albeit its basis in examining the issue of European identity is also served by the national ideology, brings into play another methodology and objective: that is, my intention is not necessarily to emphasize the durability and unchallengeable nature of existing national identities against the common European identity, but to inquire into the possibility--even if confined to the level of an intellectual experiment--of whether a national identity could be extended to the community of European citizens? (I reckon we should not be averse to such theoretical approaches ab ovo: let us remember that the birth of American constitution was accompanied by debates on such theoretical issues as the possibility--if any--of a republic of many people covering a large geographical area.) Evidently, my approach should eventually reach some conclusion regarding the possibility of European identity (or at least its certain modalities), but this conclusion does not by all means have to be a skeptical one; or, if it so, the supporting arguments should not be based necessarily on the primate of existing national identities.

The method I selected is a historic analogy whereby I endeavor to see to what extent our historic knowledge acquired about the shaping of the nations and the evolution of the national ideology entitles us to speak of the possibility of shaping a pan-European national community. Briefly, my position is that one has to analyze the process of creating a national political community in certain European states (on a large scale), focusing especially on the beginnings of the process, France and the French Revolution, and one also has to see whether some analogy could be drawn between the evolution or shaping of the national identity and the European identity.

At a first, superficial approach, it will seem that the process of the evolution of national ideology, of the genesis of the nation does contain moments which could fuel our hopes, and at least apparently, could entitle us to envisage optimistically the evolution of a common, national type of European identity.

First of all, it is the fact that the nation is always an idea. That means, it is an "abstract concept" (as Benjamin Constant said once), and not a "real thing". Unlike family, relatives or tribes, the nation is not a tangible form of community, and national identity--compared to other forms of identity--is a very abstract form of collective community identity to begin with. Therefore, its further extrapolation faces no theoretical hindrances. National identity was "created"--first in France, then elsewhere too, using the French example --by "separating" the individuals from their earlier particular forms of identity manors, parishes, guilds, provinces--, then the individuals thus "freed" were reunited under the nation as the most comprehensive form of political community. Therefore, there is no theoretical hindrance to separating individuals again from their existing national forms of identity, and reuniting them in the supranational nation encompassing all the citizens of Europe.

However, as this form of identity is based not on direct blood relations and the ties of kindred, but has a predominant conscious nature, a nation-building process could only expect success if a clear conscience of this new, comprehensive identity is "implanted" in the minds of people: a nation only "exists" if members of a given group of humans know (or recognize) themselves to be part of the same nation. This also entails--and Ernest Renan saw this quite clearly in his notable-notorious essay on the nation--that a preliminary condition to the existence of a national identity is not a common language, as the nation is predominantly or primarily not a linguistic, but a "spiritual" community: "A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle". (13) (Renan's finding remains valid even if he simply had to say this in the debate on the French nation he held with German historians because of the separation of Alsace. He couldn't say that the French nation was a linguistic community, considering that most Alsatians were speakers of German.)

Equally, belonging to the same ethnicity is not a precondition of a common national identity, nor is the historic remembrance of a common ethnical origin; but much rather--as Renan suggested--the forgetting of a distinct origin is. If the French had faithfully preserved the remembrance of their distinct--Gallic or Frankish--origin, the French nation could have never emerged. Thus, the conscience of national identity arises not from a carefully preserved memory of a common origin, but on the contrary: from collective historical oblivion and amnesia--and that's the only way it could arise.

Yet, the success of "nation-building" does not only depend on whether a clear conscience of the new identity can be created in individuals, but also on the ability to awaken in them a feeling of belonging to a nation. That is, the creation of a nation-like community is conditioned not only by national identity and its conscience, but also a strong emotional loyalty towards the nation. The fact that the nation is an "idea" or an abstract entity, does not mean that emotions towards the nation and the individual's emotional identification with the nation is not (or could not be) very "real".

For this very reason, the French Revolutionaries, faithfully following Rousseau's proposals on the national religion, attempted to spiritualize the national idea, through the mandatory religion of the Supreme Being introduced through Robespierre's decree. That is, they tried--and today we know that they succeeded--to transform the concept of nation into the object of religious or quasi-sacred reverence. Albeit the object of spiritual adoration in Robespierre's state religion was the concept of the Supreme Being, this concept of the Supreme Being--as he himself emphasized in several speeches--was actually expressing the character of the "French people". (14) Rousseau's proposal--which Robespierre quoted literally in the reasoning of the first festival of the Supreme Being, recorded in the decree--reveals even more evidently the final intentions of the state religion: "With liberty, wherever abundance reigns--Rousseau writes--well-being also reigns. Plant a stake crowned with flowers in the middle of a square; gather the people together there, and you will have a festival. Do better yet; let the spectators become an entertainment to themselves; make them actors themselves; do it so that each sees and loves himself in the others so that all will be better united." (15) Thus, at the festival of the nation's religion, each sees and loves himself in the others, so that all will be perfectly united.--Obviously, that doesn't mean that this is the only way to arouse emotional loyalty towards the concept of nation; but indeed it draws attention to the necessity of emotional loyalty towards the nation and towards the significance of symbols (anthems, flags), rites, etc. in shaping the nation-type identity. National identity is unconceivable without the common symbols which awaken this emotional loyalty, and fill the hearts with pride and sentiment.

Accordingly, we can draw the conclusion from the above that the nation is merely an "imagined community", a powerfully conscious form of common, collective identity, which does not assume either the historic remembrance of a common origin, or a common language. What it does require is the clear conscience and definite feeling of togetherness. From this perspective, it seems that the creation of a pan-European national identity is not facing any particular theoretical hindrances.

And still: thinking over the possibility of this, I do remain skeptical. And this is for several reasons.

First, because--and perhaps this is the most evident reason of all--the EU has so far obtained very little success in reviving the emotional loyalty of its citizens. This fact is so obvious that it is not worth demonstrating it in more detail.

Secondly, still at the level of emotional and spiritual reasons, also because the boundaries of the "imagined community" of the nation cannot be extended indefinitely, for the above reasons. The nation--Pierre Manent writes--which was actually made possible by the ideas of Christianity and Reformation, served as the first durable solution to the disconcerting dilemma that had preoccupied Europe since the Roman republic. The dilemma referred to what was an adequate framework of the political existence of European humanity: a small, clearly delimited city-state republic, or a monarchist empire, that is a huge, limitless corpus politicum. The historic answer to this question was the emergence of European nations, of these large but well delimited political entities which could only be created because Christianity had first spiritualized the political community, or at least persuaded the European humans to accept some sort of a spiritual community which ultimately had some political relevance attached. However, with Reformation, the Christian universe broke to pieces, and a new political form was born: the Christian nation. However, from the perspective of the nation's birth, it was at least equally important that the Christian king--voluntarily or under constraint, maintaining or losing its function--later surrendered its role to an impersonal, secular or, as Hobbes put it, "abstract" state. Yet, if Europe was formed of political communities of Christians, the sovereign, neutral, abstract state also needed a Christian political community, the Christian nation.

Of the above aspects, what is essential for our purposes is that the nation meant a sort of a "midway" between the strongly limited and the unlimited forms of political existence. However, today we are at the about same position as in the Roman ages, because after the failure of the nationalist and imperialist ideals, we again must tackle the question of what actually European nation means to us. On the one hand, we are attracted by the familiarity of the smaller nation-state framework, even if our nations have already lost a considerable part of their political sovereignty; on the other hand, we experience the imperial urge and wonder whether we should continue to walk on the path that leads to an unlimited European empire based on the universalistic feeling of togetherness. Manent points out that "we are fast losing the middle dimension, with its inseparable physical and spiritual aspects, on which we predicated everything worthy of still being cherished in our several national histories as well as in our common European history." (16) Far from us to say that we, the illuminated Europeans, grew out of the national frameworks. Instead, we rather visibly lost our sense for the fragile balance between the small things and grand things.

Finally, I am skeptical also because--as our historical experiences shows--creating the nation was possible only because the individuals could be separated from the earlier particular forms of identity. In 1789, this process --as we have seen--did not only entice with the hope of liberation, but also contained gradual individualization, the liquidation of former social binds: therefore, until this day, nation has been a community of individuals, and nationalism and individualism are interdependent. This claim, albeit astounding, is not paradoxical, nor is it unsustainable.

Such a claim appears to be paradoxical today, because after the age of revolutionary nationalism, we have also known the strongly collectivist forms of nationalism that contrasts the aspirations of liberty and is hostile towards the individual, and it seems to us today that this collectivism is hostile towards individualism. Nevertheless, as Hannah Arendt demonstrated, as soon as--starting the French Revolution--the individual appeared on stage as a completely independent being with inherent rights and dignity, who does not require any larger order encompassing it, it instantly disappeared and was transformed into one of the people. And, because after the French Revolution, humanity has been pictured as a family of people, indeed it is valid statement until today that the true form of man is not the individual, but the nation. (17)

Thus, the individualism of nationalism and its powerful collectivism were born in the same time; not only that the two are not mutually exclusive, but they actually mutually assume each other. Of all these aspects, here and now the only one that bears importance for us is that the nation is a community of individuals, and this calling into existence of the nation required gradual individualization, the "liberation" of the individual from the social bonds inherited. However, today this would mean that the individuals must be liberated from the inherited bonds of their national existence, and reunited in the European nation as a new, even more comprehensive form of political identity.--And personally, I see very slim chances for this.

Not necessarily because I were in the bonds of my own limited--Hungarian --nationalism. And not even because, like others, I see the nation-state--and the frameworks of national existence, for that matter--as some sort of historical necessity, a necessary framework of modernity or something like that. On the contrary: I fully agree with Elie Kedourie, (18) who in his debates with his younger colleague, Ernest Gellner, kept emphasizing that he considered the nation to be nothing more than a simple historical accident. (Another argument for why the nation is not a necessary framework of modernity is the fact that modernity occurred also in political communities which were organized along non-national principles: perhaps the best example is the United States of America. The United States is not a nation-state, its citizens do not form a nation, or at least not in the European sense of nation: nationalism, as we know it over here in Europe, is practically unknown over there.)

Albeit Gellner and Kedourie both were "modernists", that is, they considered the nation to be a modern phenomenon, still one could hardly imagine two theories that propose so distinct concepts about the origins of the nation. Gellner, especially in the works written in his last years (19) was stronger and stronger in the view that the nation was a necessary element of modernity: processes taking place in modernity (such as industrialization) called the nation into existence, and for this very reason, modernity cannot even be conceived without the nation. However, Kedourie argued that albeit the nation was a modern phenomenon, it was nothing more than a historical accident. In its essence, it was nothing more than an "ideological" construction, and responsible for the creation and propagation of the idea of the nation, more precisely, of national sovereignty, were philosophers such as Kant, but even more so his follower, Fichte. The explanatory scheme that is typical of sociologists, and characterizes Gellner's books so pronouncedly, tends to present this process in the light of historical necessity, particularly because it seeks the origins of the nation and nation-state in impersonal effect mechanisms (modernization, industrialization, spreading of standardized high culture, etc.). Yet, through the eyes of a historian of ideas, it is obvious that the nation and the nation-state is nothing else but ideology embodied--again: a simple historical accident. (Of course, this doesn't mean that--as Manent's afore-quoted words show--that the appearance of the nation did not have certain given historical conditions to begin with, and that these could not be explained using the regular methods of historical explanation. Demand for social equality, which is perhaps the most essential element of the national ideal, was called into existence by absolutism, as stated already by Tocqueville. The same way, the ideal of a spiritual political community could of course originate somehow in Christian tradition.)

However, I repeat, I am convinced that the nation is nothing else but a historical accident which was brought into existence by certain given conditions and the ideology of national sovereignty. Yet, this certainly does not mean that today we could simply step out from the frameworks of national existence. No matter how an "abstract" idea the nation is and regardless of the fact that it is a historical product of an ideological construction, the idea--once embodied and taken an institutional form and dominating human thoughts--is very hard to cast off. (This is why Isaiah Berlin, the excellent scholar of the history of nationalist ideas, said that the activity of a bookworm scholar of ideas is by no means just a harmless, professor-like occupation: it is better--he suggests--to eradicate dangerous thoughts as early as in the scholar's study room, before they gain an ideological armor.)

Reiterating, I don't see any particular signs that the conscience-shaping effect of the national idea or the intensity of the national feeling diminished considerably. And I also don't see that the visible lessening of the nation-state's power and sovereignty could lead to the erosion of nation itself and the legitimating power of the national idea. On the contrary: together with the afore-mentioned Michael Mann, I too believe that the decline of the nation-state in the era of globalization does not point to the creation of bigger, multinational state constructions, but rather to the disruption of the existing ones: the ethno-politics, which intensifies in parallel with the decline of nation-states, results in nation-states newer, smaller, but seen more authentic. (20) (The most recent example of this is obviously Kosovo.)

Based on the above, it may seem as if I were contrasting the possibility of a European political identity solely with the somber reality of existing nationalism. However, we have another political experience at hand, which inclines me to have at least the same skeptical view. Albeit it is true that the nation is an abstract idea, an "imagined community", there are still a series of political effect mechanisms which do not only assume, but also consolidate the conscience of national belonging and national cohesion. Thus, it is worth evoking--and Istvan Bibo never forgot to do so--that nationalism and "democratism" are so-called "blood-brothers", that is, the national ideal's gaining ground in France was accompanied by the introduction of the republican governance; and that the linguistic assimilation was urged also for basically republican considerations in France. (21) That is, if the French Revolutionaries considered--and some of them indeed did it--that the dialects spoken on France's territory at that time (Breton and Basque, but also Italian or German) simply had to be annihilated, then it was not because they were just irritated by linguistic diversity, as are our days' nationalists, but because they considered that the ideal of liberty (the republican ideal) claimed this sacrifice from linguistic minorities.

The clearest reasoning of linguistic homogenization during the Revolution was phrased by Barere, who otherwise was convinced that French was "Europe's most beautiful language", called to "mediate the highest thoughts of liberty to the world". In his proposal made on the 8th of pluviose year II (27 January 1794), he enounced before the National Convention that "it is impossible to destroy federalism which is based on not communicating thoughts". (22) "We revolutionized governance--he said--, the laws, the customs, the morals, the costume, trade and even thinking; let us revolutionize language which is the common means of the latter one. You ordered that the laws be sent to all the villages of the Republic; but this good deed is in vain for the counties which I referred to. The "light", which is delivered to the margins of the country at great cost, vanishes by the time it reaches the destination, as those places don't even understand the laws. (23) Federalism and superstition speak Breton; emigration and hatred of the Republic speak German; the counter-revolution speaks Italian, and fanaticism speaks Basque. Let us smash these harmful and faulty instruments." (24)

That is, linguistic assimilation is warranted by the propagation of the idea of liberty, i.e. constitutionality and the idea of the Republic. Uniformity is justified by universalism; assimilation is vindicated by the urge for freedom: "man", in its own interest, can be compelled to liberty--even by smashing his particular, national identity. Thus, the purpose of linguistic homogenization is not cultural, but political, and is related to the necessity of political consultation (and the optimization of central administration). Linguistic homogeneity is not necessary because diverse linguistic and cultural identities are irritating or disruptive per se and therefore should be smashed, but because political significance is attached to language and communication in the Republic.

The most effective means serving this goal--as Edmund Burke noticed already during the Revolution--were the Parisian newspapers distributed in the provinces, as promoters of the revolutionary ideals and the revolutionary language, Parisian French. Yet, these means eventually turned out inadequate, the time available to the Revolutionaries way too brief for achieving the goal, and France's linguistic unity was created solely later, by the educational policy of the Third Republic, with extremely drastic methods. Nevertheless, even if the French Revolution did not eradicate France's linguistic diversity, it indeed terminated the French people's indifference towards the linguistic diversity of their country. (25)

Of course, not even today do all these mean that republican governance is unconceivable without national community, but rather that the French Revolution introduced a form of democratic systems in Europe which equally assumes and reproduces the nation-type political community. It assumes it because, according to Rousseau's logic, it conventionally legitimates itself as a nation-state, based on the principle of "national sovereignty", and is compelled to constantly reproduce because, being a strongly centralized and bureaucratized state structure, it is functional only as long as its citizens as a community speak the same official language which ensures the standard and undisturbed functioning of administration, justice and public education.

However, there are some contemporary authors who deduce a general conclusion from this historic experience--specifically related to the birth of European nation-states--, and take it as truth generally valid for the republican state structure that it cannot function in a multilingual social environment. Thus, Will Kymlicka, perhaps the most well-known contemporary representative of the theory of multiculturalism, argued in his attempt to dissipate the state's ethno-cultural neutrality shared by even some of today's liberals (such as Habermas) that linguistic identity has a particular political importance in republican political systems, considering that language is an instrument of democratic politics. (26)

Whatever the liberals may think, he says, political institutions cannot be separated from culture or language as it once happened with religion and state alike. And, he adds, this is so because liberalists generally tend to assume an analogy between the situation of ethnic communities or national minorities and the situation of confessions. (27) And as the state's spiritual neutrality was ensured by the separation of state and church, the state's ethnic neutrality should be ensured by the consistent separation of state and ethnicity. As the state does not recognize and support any confession, the same way, it shouldn't recognize any ethnicity and language either. Yet, while the state-church separation was possible through the laicization of state, as secular politics does not necessary need religious legitimacy (Christianity itself supports the separation of faith issues from secular authority), the central element of national identity, language, is also a necessary instrument of democratic politics. The state does not have to support certain confessions (even if it does so in several European states, such as Germany, England, Romania, but also elsewhere); however, when it decides on the language to be used in public offices, education, then it involuntarily confirms the legal and public status of a given language. And if it supports majority culture by making its language the language of public offices and education, it cannot deny official recognition to minority languages by invoking the breach of the principle of state-ethnicity separation.

Of all these, what concerns us, here and now, is not necessarily Kymlicka's conclusion, but the initial premise of his argumentation: the thought that the central element of national identity, language, is also the major instrument of democratic politics. This is so because, he says, democratic politics is a vernacular politics. For the average citizen, it is convenient to have the political issues raised in his own language, and democratic decision-making is legitimized only if each citizen of the state participates (or is able to participate) in the public debates preceding the decisions. Thus, the nation-state's demand for a common national language can be construed as a requirement of robust consultative democracy.

If we think of Barere's afore-mentioned enouncement, we can say that this thought is not that new: it was evident already for the French Revolutionaries that the requirement of participation in the republican decision-making process assumed linguistic homogeneity. France's linguistic diversity was not unpleasant as long as the "third estate" did not feel the need to participate in governance: it became a bothersome factor only with the introduction of the republican system. Yet, while recognizing the political importance of language led Kymlicka to infer the necessity of multicultural and multinational states which would institutionalize minority languages just as the majority language, Barere pushed for the assimilation of linguistic minorities on the grounds of uniformity, based on the same logic. The premise, the starting point indeed permits both.

And this is why we haven't been able to decide until now which position the most known representative of national liberalism, John Stuart Mill, represented in 1861, in the famous lines of his work on Representative Government: "Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. [...] For the preceding reasons, it is in general a necessary condition of free institutions that the boundaries of governments should coincide in the main with those of nationalities." (28) Evidently, this may also lead to the conclusion that an independent government must be set up to lead each nationality, but also that smaller nationalities are "civilizationally obliged" to merge into the bigger ones: a sacrifice to be made for the sake of liberty.

In a way or another, the premise remains valid regardless of the conclusions. Albeit Renan could have been right in claiming that the nation was not primarily a linguistic community, but a spiritual one, the daily functioning of a centralized nation-state and representative governance requires that citizens of the nation-state are shaped into a linguistic community. The nation could exist without a common language, but the nation-state could not. The linguistic homogenization policy of the nation-state obeys this very logic when forcing the official language on those who do not speak it.

However, if we interpret these words by Mill not as a call of a vehement nationalist to linguistic assimilation and civilizational rising (albeit it is difficult not to construe them this way, considering the Mill himself, a few lines below, speaks of a Highlander "sulking on his own rocks, the half-savage relic of past times" who should, instead of "revolving in his own little mental orbit", become English), then these words convey the sincere concern of the representative government and followers of the republic. They indeed draw attention to the fact that each republic assumes a "mutual sympathy" between citizens to begin with, and national feeling is only one, yet undoubtedly very efficient form of it. Regardless of this, the remark remains valid: each representative government form--whether or not functioning within the frameworks of a nation-state--assumes something common, something that connects citizens with each other, something that creates political cohesion between them, and for which the best term is perhaps "common political space".

Now the question arises: to what extent can we speak of such a common political space within the EU, of "mutual sympathy" between the citizens? To what extent is the EU government system representative?--And this question concerns not only the possibility of a European national identity in the narrow sense, but generally the possibility of European political community and representative governance.

If we attempt to see the EU political system not only as a government with pertaining institutions, but as a common--European--political space, "a political body", then we must notice at once that the "political body" of this system or government comprises not only the citizens, but also the members of political and administrative elite. The latter one can be divided into two groups. One consists of the representatives of national governments who sit in various Councils, while the other one includes the "Eurocrats", that is, the politicians and bureaucrats who serve the own institutions of the EU (including the Commission and the European Court mostly, and to lesser extent, the members of the so-called European Parliament).

Members of the first group find themselves in a somewhat paradoxical situation. Albeit they are active in EU institutions too and as such, they could often be in a situation where they should overlook their narrower national interests for the sake of deepening integration, their own co-nationals (and if they are interested at all, the citizens of the other nation-states) still see them as national representatives. The other group, especially members of the Commission, who exercise executive power in effect, are in the opposite position: they are barely known to citizens of nation-states. The work of the European Court, hardly known to others besides the narrow group of legal and academic experts, and the activity of the European Parliament are practically unknown and unseen for the large masses of citizens.

Citizens of the individual nation-states are not primarily citizens of the Union either--they are that only insofar as they are citizens of the individual nation-states. They are merely subjects of European regulation and norms, without having the slightest possibility to participate effectively in the creation of European laws and norms. Thus, if the EU is a political body, it does not actually have a "body"--it does not have actual citizens.

We see the same situation if we inquire into other dimensions of political bodies and political communities, such as a common political space based on communication. The EU communication system, especially its communication regarding various "policies" is evidently very complex--but it is at the same time structured in a very fragmented way. In the truest sense of the word, European communication takes place solely between the members of the political and administrative elite, those who participate directly in European governance or are at least close to it. Another, fairly different, example of European-level communication could be communication within European researches--to which some seem to attach importance in shaping the so-called European "spirituality" or even the European "creed"--and the communicational relations of the different political, cultural and economic dimensions. Indeed, many see this system of communication networks gradually built across Europe--to which an increasing number of national organizations, companies and recently, for the purpose of a better coordination of their activities, social movements and civil organizations connect--as being a gradually developing "civil society" of the EU.

However, I believe this conclusion to be unfounded and hasty. Indeed, as opposed to the common civil societies, very few citizens participate effectively in this one. As there is no common political space above the nations, social movements and groups of voluntaries can rarely exercise their potential to mobilize and act (such as demonstrations, civil disobedience movements, etc.), and they rely on some "internal" professional help from Brussels in order to make an efficient appearance. Thus, albeit trade unions have been trying for long to coordinate negotiations, talks and strikes, they still haven't reached some coordination and integration of their efforts at the European level, and they are quite far from reaching it. Generally, their strikes could be seen successful if the national media "amplifies" their sound, and if citizens properly resonate with these sounds in their own countries. In other aspects, the most they could count on is some sort of local answer or one from Brussels or Strasbourg.

Of course, based on the above examples of actions, interactions and communication, we could claim even that some common political space has been created in the EU after all. And similarly to every political space, this one is limited and often exclusive. But even if there is such a thing in the EU, this political space (and communication within) is semi-public at best, as opposed to communication taking place in the political space of democratic states.

If we take as example the government itself, it is striking that the main governing body of the EU, the European Council, does not meet, debate and decide publicly as a rule. (The same applies to other Councils consisting of the appropriate ministers of nation-states, operating in the various fields of the political sphere.) Of course, this is a natural consequence of the fact that these are actually intergovernmental bodies. It is therefore a legitimate expectation to see their activities as are seen international talks usually. Yet, as opposed to international talks, the results of the Council's activity are often determinant for European legislation. And while the Councils, as being formed by members of national governments, indeed may have authorization for the governmental activity and therefore exercise it legitimately, they have no authorization whatsoever to act as legislative bodies. As European governing bodies they do have some legitimacy, but none whatsoever as legislative bodies.

Similarly, the system of communication and networking across Europe is only semi-public. In practice, most information is available solely to experts and specialists. Even if the communication channel is fully public, interpretation and processing of information requires expert knowledge and relations: a possibility to access networks and regular contact with European agencies and the local ministry in charge of EU relations. Not to mention that the communication system is structured in a very fragmented way, certain channels only cover partial areas of the political sphere, and for now, there is no sign of an integrated communication network that covers all the partial fields which could organize Europe-wide public speech along some defined political agenda.

Thus, it would be more correct to speak of a fragmented information network manageable only by few, targeting the various fields of the political sphere, that operates on European levels and nation-state levels at the same time, than of a common, European, public, comprehensive political space and communication. Beyond all this, a European political space which could integrate and control all these and that could organize the information networks related to the various fields of politics around a standard political agenda, simply doesn't exist. Europeans who are not members of the elite and have limited access to the semi-public European communication networks, only see European politics and EU through the eyes of the national media. Because something like European media, again, does not exist.

However, one of the main reasons why we cannot speak of a fully public European political space is that social communication is even today of linguistic nature primarily. A political community and body is able to maintain a public political space if the "political body" it consists of meets certain linguistic criteria; and a minimum requirement to this is for the language of communication to be comprehensible for everyone. Thus, the question from this perspective is how the EU could tackle the linguistic diversity of its citizens.

Albeit the EU has an official language policy, (29) here too, as in so many other aspects, it is worth taking a look at the actual political practice rather than the enounced principles. The European political elite seemingly bridges this troublesome diversity of European language by either relying on translators (especially in case of documents), or by using some lingua franca, an intermediary language; most often, it mixes these two solutions. Indeed, pursuant to the official language policy of the EU, the language of each member state is also an official language of the EU. Therefore, in practice the elite members usually resort to English as an intermediary language, but they translate every document into all of the official languages. The latter one normally takes months, and documents are translated into the smaller languages most often by the time the experts have long lost their interest for the concerned issue. (Public opinion itself rarely follows up European events.)

Albeit using English as an intermediary language largely facilitates communication between the members of the European elite, the same thing does not apply in case of citizens: the constant translation of information and the related difficulties of passing on information pose serious challenges on the path of a full-value democratic participation. Thus, it is indeed questionable whether a representative government--one that effectively makes civil participation possible--could function efficiently in a multilingual social environment.

Those who see this concern to be unfounded usually contrast it with the counter-example of multicultural and multilingual societies such as Belgium, Canada and especially Switzerland--considering that the latter one has four official languages. However, in the case of Switzerland, political communication between the citizens is based on what we could call "passive multilingualism". (Even if this multilingualism only covers three large official languages and most often does not include Rhaeto-Romanic, albeit it possesses an official status as well.) The Swiss educational system indeed guarantees at least the comprehension of the other two languages, besides the native language. Theoretically, the Canadian education system functions according to similar requirements, but it is questionable whether the official position of the Canadian government in this matter could stand the test of practice.

Yet, no matter how successful the political practices and educational models targeting multilingualism are, they cannot serve an example for creating the European political space. For most European citizens, even if benefiting from full support from the domestic educational system, no more than one or two foreign languages could become accessible--including English, of course. Obviously, a solution in this situation could only be provided by recognizing English as an official intermediary language, yet such a decision seems hopelessly utopist against the backdrop of cultural and political realities currently dominating the Union, considering also the intention of further expansion.

Assuming of course that this solution would not prove to be insufficient in itself. Indeed, there is something irresistible in our liberal and progressionist illusions about the power of "communication", an attractive charm which most often prevents us from assessing its power realistically. We so keenly put a sign of equality between communication and political community, and we keep on quoting Aristotle who, based on the Greek political experiences--called man a "speaking" and a "political" being at the same time. Thus, if one of the oldest and most convincing definitions of man presented man to be someone with a logos, capable of articulate speech and therefore of political association, then it is legitimate to expect that the increasing number of various communication channels and the global spreading of communicational desires would bind people closer together and extend the sphere of the known forms of human associations.

Nevertheless, this thesis bears some covert ambiguity. Albeit the relation between human speech and human association is very close, it is not symmetrical: the two terms are not synonymous. It was not speech that created community, but the community created and maintains speech.--I believe that we often attach excessive importance to means of communication, especially to the role of intermediary language in creating the common space. If let's say tomorrow we all spoke English, this would not bring us a single step closer to political unity, in my opinion. Israeli and Palestinian delegations usually speak a very acceptable level of English, not to mention Indian or Pakistani diplomats; and still, the common language visibly fails to help them communicate any better. Mutual understanding indeed assumes that the interlocutors are parts of the same political community, or at least they belong to political communities whose political systems and political experiences resemble. And we, the Europeans, already know that even this prerequisite is so far from being sufficient: how many nations have fought each other in Europe, even if their political systems and experiences were similar?

Thus, the common language is only one condition of creating the common political space. It is of at least the same importance--and perhaps, Switzerland serves the most relevant example--to have a common political culture; the common cultural and political field of meanings in which everybody attaches the same meaning to the same phenomenon, and shares the accepted political practices and symbols, and which is based on common institutions and traditions (common history).--Albeit the European nation-states themselves share to some--a very broad--extent a common cultural and historical tradition, they still hosted so very different "cultures", and what matters most: their political culture largely differs. This cultural diversity resulted in largely differing institutional and justice systems, lead to striking differences in constitutionality, and concepts of democracy in the first place. Thus, if we take a look around Europe, we see very dissimilar taxation systems, insurance systems, health care services, educational systems and pension systems.

Undoubtedly, the Union, if it wants to create the so very needed common political space, must accept and assert a form of multicultural politics which will be capable of integrating this visible diversity of political cultures, and ensure the common institutional background, as well as the "mutual sympathy" which are indispensable for creating and maintaining the common political space. However, all this time, the EU faces such a troublesome diversity of local and national political cultures and languages that none of the federal systems ever had to tackle.

Albeit our historical experiences show that the federal systems were indeed capable of bearing with the wide difference of their internal institutional and justice systems (and thus, the ideal of federation, of United States of Europe could bring some hope for the supporters of Europe), it is possible solely if they also have "something" in common, something that keeps them together as political bodies and creates in them the common political space. Thus, if "we, the Europeans" indeed want a republic, even if a federal one (and, I think, no other order than the political order of the republic is possible or desirable if we want liberty for ourselves and for others), then we must focus on an order which makes actual political cohesion possible, and creates a real political community, namely by "connecting our feelings for ourselves and for others effectively". (30) And, Pierre Manent claims, this is possible only where "people in the given political order have something in common, namely the political order, the political body, the republic which is a public thing": res publica. Thus, it is possible solely where citizens truly see and feel that the political order of the republic is theirs.

I am not saying this is unconceivable in Europe today. But I am indeed certain that if there will be one, the order of the European federal republic, as any other republican order, will be limited for emotional and spiritual reasons to being with. We would be able to see and feel that this order is ours only if we clearly see its limits. In other words: we must finally decide who "we, the Europeans" are. We cannot just submit a preferential number of communities with different political cultures under the same government. Besides all other reasons, also because commitment to the common order (formerly known as patriotism), this human feeling which Rousseau considered to be "the source of supreme virtues", could only gain durable strength if it is focused on a particular human community. If we try to extend this feeling to communities of increasingly large numbers, theoretically we could hope for a much more just order, as nobody would be excluded from the order of the republic and liberty, however, this feeling will also gradually lose its intensity: eventually, it will be so weak that it would be unable to create a fairly just and happy association of humans.


1. Andrew, Joe; Crook, Malcolm; Waller, Michael (2000) (eds.), Why Europe? Problems of Culture and Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2. Arendt, Hannah (1992), A totalitarizmus gybkerei (The Origins of Totalitarianism), Budapest: Europa Konyvkiado, 1992.

3. Bakk, Miklos (2008), Politikai kbzbsseg es identitas (Political community and identity), Cluj-Napoca: Komp-Press Kiado.

4. Balibar, Etienne (2004), We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

5. Bellamy, Richard; Castiglione, Dario; Shaw, Jo (2006) (eds.), Making European Citizens, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

6. Bruter, Michael (2005), Citizens of Europe? The Emergence of a Mass European Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

7. Checkel, Jefrey T.; Katzenstein, Peter J. (2009) (eds.), European Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

8. Demeter, Attila M. (2004), "Rousseau es a polgari vallas dicserete" (Rousseau and the Praise of the Civil Religion), in Demeter, Attila M., Irastudok forradalma (Revolution of the Scholars), Miercurea Ciuc: Pro-Print Konyvkiado.

9. Demeter, Attila M. (2005), "A nemzet modern eszmenyenek kialakulasa a francia forradalom idejen" (Evolution of the Modern Ideal of Nation during the French Revolution), in Demeter, Attila M., Republikanizmus, nacionalizmus, nemzeti kisebbsegek (Republicanism, Nationalism, National Minorities), Cluj Napoca: Pro Philosophia.

10. Eotvos, Jozsef (1981), A XIX. szazad uralkodo eszmeinek befolyasa az allamra (Influence of the Dominant Ideas of the 19th Century on the State), Budapest: Magyar Helikon.

11. Fligstein, Neil (2008), Euroclash. The EU, European Identity, and the Future of Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

12. Gellner, Ernest (1997), Nationalism, New York: New York University Press.

13. Grande, Edgar (2000), "Post-National Democracy in Europe", in Graven, Michael Th.; Pauly, Louis W. (eds.), Democracy beyond the State, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 115-138.

14. Graven, Michael Th. (2000), "Can the European Union Finally Become a Democracy", in Graven, Michael Th.; Pauly, Louis W. (eds.), Democracy beyond the State, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 35-62.

15. Habermas, Jurgen (1992), "Citizenship and National Identity: Some Reflections on the Future of Europe" in Praxis International, vol. 20, 1992, 1-19.

16. Habermas, Jurgen (1999), "The European Nation-State and the Pressures of Globalization" in New Left Review, 46-59.

17. Habermas, Jurgen (2006), "Why Europe needs a Constitution?", in Rogowski, Ralph; Turner, Charles (eds.), The Shape of the New Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 25-45.

18. Hutchinson, John (2003), "Enduring Nations and the Illusions of European Integration", in Triandafyllidou, Anna; Spohn, Willfried (eds.), Europeanisation, National Identities, and Migration, London--New York: Routledge, 36-51.

19. Jenkins, Brian; Sofos, Spyros A. (1996), (eds.), Nations and Identity in Europe, London--New York: Routledge.

20. Johanson, Jonna (2007), Learning to Be(come) a Good European. A Critical Analysis of the Official European Discourse on European Identity and Higher Education, Linkoping: Linkoping University.

21. Kedourie, Elie (1993), Nationalism, Oxford: Blackwell.

22. Keitnernek, Chimene (2007), The Paradoxes of Nationalism. The French Revolution and its Meaning for Contemporary Nation Building, Albany: State University of New York Press.

23. Kraus, Peter A. (2008), A Union of Diversity. Language, Identity and Policy-Building in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

24. Kymlicka, Will (1995), Multicultural Citizenship, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

25. Kymlicka, Will (2001), Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

26. Kymlicka, Will; Straehle, Christine (1999), "Cosmopolitanism, Nation-States and Minority Nationalism: A Critical Review of Recent Literature" in European Journal of Philosophy, no. 1, vol. 7, 65-88.

27. Malmborg, Mikaelaf; Strath, Bo (eds.) (2002), The Meaning of Europe. Variety and Contention within and among Nations, Oxford--New York: Berg.

28. Manent, Pierre (2003), Politikai filozofia felnotteknek (Cours familier de philosophie politique) (Hungarian translation by Peter Kende), Budapest: Osiris Kiado.

29. Manent, Pierre (2007), "What is a Nation?", in Manent, Pierre, Democracy without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 87-103.

30. Michael Mann (1997), "Has Globalization Ended the Rise of the Nation-State?" in Review of International Political Economy no. 4:3, 472-496.

31. Mikkeli, Heikki (1998), Europe as an Idea and an Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

32. Mill, John Stuart (1954), "Considerations on Representative Government", in Linsday, A. D. (ed.), Utilitarianism, Liberty, Representative Government, London: J. M. Dent, 361-362.

33. Offe, Claus (2000), "The Democratic Welfare State in an Integrating Europe", in Graven, Michael Th.; Pauly, Louis W. (eds.), Democracy beyond the State, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 63-90.

34. Pagden, Anthony (2002), The Idea of Europe. From Antiquity to European Union, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

35. Renan, Ernest, "What Is A Nation?" [], 13 February 2011.

36. Robespierre, Maximilien (1988), "A vallasi es erkolcsi eszmenyekrol, kapcsolatukrol a koztarsasagi elvekkel, es a nemzeti unnepekrol" (On Religious and Moral Ideas and Republican Principles, and on National Festivals) (Hungarian translation by Geza Nagy), in Robespierre, Maximilien, Elveim kifejtese (My Principles), Budapest: Gondolat Kiado, 443-470.

37. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (2004), Letter to D'Alembert and Writings for the Theater, University Press of New England.

38. Smith, Anthony D. (1992), "National Identity and the Idea of European Unity" in International Affairs, no. 1, vol. 68, 55-76.

39. Zurn, Michael (2000), "Democratic Governance beyond the Nation-State", in Graven, Michael Th.; Pauly, Louis W. (eds.), Democracy beyond the State, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 91-114.

(1) See Michael Mann, "Has Globalization Ended the Rise of the Nation-State?" in Review of International Political Economy no. 3, vol. 4, 1997, p. 487.

(2) See also the books penned by Michael Bruter, Neil Fligstein and Heikki Mikkeli (Michael Bruter, Citizens of Europe? The Emergence of a Mass European Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005; Neil Fligstein, Euroclash. The EU, European Identity, and the Future of Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, especially chapter "Who are the Europeans?", pp. 123-164; Heikki Mikkeli, Europe as an Idea and an Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1998--the first ones are more useful), and two collections. One of them is edited by Jefrey Checkel (Jefrey T. Checkel; Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), European Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.), the other one by Joe Andrew, Malcolm Crook and Michael Waller (Joe Andrew; Malcolm Crook; Michael Waller (eds.), Why Europe? Problems of Culture and Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000). For the European demos, see the studies by Michael Th. Greven and Claus Offe (Michael Th. Graven, "Can the European Union Finally Become a Democracy", in Michael Th. Graven; Louis W. Pauly (eds.), Democracy beyond the State, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2000, pp. 35-62; Claus Offe, "The Democratic Welfare State in an Integrating Europe", in Michael Th. Graven; Louis W. Pauly (eds.), op. cit., pp. 63-90), and Etienne Balibar's book (Etienne Balibar, We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004).

(3) See Pierre Manent, "What is a Nation?", in Pierre Manent, Democracy without Nations? The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2007, pp. 87-103.

(4) See Jonna Johanson, Learning to Be(come) a Good European. A Critical Analysis of the Official European Discourse on European Identity and Higher Education, Linkoping: Linkoping University, 2007.

(5) Jurgen Habermas, "Citizenship and National Identity: Some Reflections on the Future of Europe" in Praxis International, vol. 20, 1992, pp. 1-19; Jurgen Habermas, "Why Europe needs a Constitution?", in Ralph Rogowski; Charles Turner (eds.), The Shape of the New Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 25-45; See also: Jurgen Habermas: "The European Nation-State and the Pressures of Globalization" in New Left Review, 1999, pp. 46-59.

(6) Obviously, Habermas is not alone with this view. Other representatives of the alternative of transnational identity, albeit not necessarily on the grounds of constitutional patriotism, are Michael Zurn and Edgar Grande with their studies (Michael Zurn, "Democratic Governance beyond the Nation-State", in Michael Th. Graven; Louis W. Pauly (eds.), op. cit., 91-114; Edgar Grande, "Post-National Democracy in Europe", in Michael Th. Graven; Louis W. Pauly (eds.), op. cit., pp. 115-138), or Peter A. Kraus with his book (Peter A. Kraus, A Union of Diversity. Language, Identity and Policy-Building in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). The same position is adopted also by most authors published in the book edited by Richard Bellamy, Dario Castiglione and Jo Shaw, including the three editors (see: Richard Bellamy; Dario Castiglione; Jo Shaw (eds.), Making European Citizens, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

(7) John Hutchinson, "Enduring Nations and the Illusions of European Integration", in Anna Triandafyllidou; Willfried Spohn (eds.), Europeanisation, National Identities, and Migration, London--New York: Routledge, 2003, pp. 36-51.

(8) See, for example: Miklos Bakk, Politikai kozosseg es identitas (Political community and identity), Cluj-Napoca: Komp-Press Kiado, 2008. (Especially sub-chapter "A nemzet mint a modernitas egyetlen formaja (The nation as the only form of modernity)".)

(9) Brian Jenkins; Spyros A. Sofos (eds.), Nations and Identity in Europe, London--New York: Routledge, 1996.

(10) Mikaelaf Malmborg; Bo Strath (eds.), The Meaning of Europe. Variety and Contention within and among Nations, Oxford--New York: Berg, 2002.

(11) Anthony Pagden, The Idea of Europe. From Antiquity to European Union, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

(12) Anthony D. Smith, "National Identity and the Idea of European Unity" in International Affairs, no. 1, vol. 68, 1992, pp. 55-76.

(13) Ernest Renan, "What Is A Nation?" [], 13 February 2011.

(14) Maximilien Robespierre, "A vallasi es erkolcsi eszmenyekrol, kapcsolatukrol a koztarsasagi elvekkel, es a nemzeti unnepekrol" (On Religious and Moral Ideas and Republican Principles, and on National Festivals) (Hungarian translation by Geza Nagy), in: Maximilien Robespierre, Elveim kifejtese (My Principles), Budapest: Gondolat Kiado, 1988, pp. 443-470.

(15) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letter to D'Alembert and Writings for the Theater, University Press of New England, 2004. About Robespierre's state religion and its relation to nationalism, see: Attila M. Demeter, "Rousseau es a polgari vallas dicserete" (Rousseau and the Praise of the Civil Religion), in Attila M. Demeter, Irastudok forradalma (Revolution of the Scholars), Miercurea Ciuc: Pro-Print Konyvkiado, 2004, pp. 123-143; Attila M. Demeter, "A nemzet modern eszmenyenek kialakulasa a francia forradalom idejen" (Evolution of the Modern Ideal of Nation during the French Revolution), in: Attila M. Demeter, Republikanizmus, nacionalizmus, nemzeti kisebbsegek (Republicanism, Nationalism, National Minorities), Cluj Napoca: Pro Philosophia, 2005, pp. 37-72.

(16) Pierre Manent, op. cit., p. 102.

(17) Hannah Arendt, "A torzsi nacionalizmus" (Tribal Nationalism) (Hungarian translation by Magdolna Modos), in Hannah Arendt, A totalitarizmus gyokerei (The Origins of Totalitarianism), Budapest: Europa Konyvkiado, 1992, p. 278.

(18) Elie Kedourie, Nationalism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

(19) See Ernest Gellner, Nationalism, New York: New York University Press, 1997.

(20) Michael Mann, op. cit., p. 155.

(21) It should be noted that less than half of France's citizens spoke only French during the time of the French Revolution.

(22) In Revolutionary rhetoric, federalism designated separatism.

(23) Barere exaggerates: the justice minister created an office for translating laws and decrees to German, Italian, Catalan, Basque and low Breton as early as December 1792.

(24) Jozsef Eotvos, A XIX. szazad uralkodo eszmeinek befolyasa az allamra (Influence of the Dominant Ideas of the 19th Century on the State), Budapest: Magyar Helikon, 1981, Vol I, Chapter III, p. 126.

(25) A similarly oriented analysis of the genesis of national identity is found in the work of a less known figure of nationalist studies: Chimene Keitnernek, The Paradoxes of Nationalism. The French Revolution and its Meaning for Contemporary Nation Building, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

(26) See e.g. Will Kymlicka, Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001; Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995; Will Kymlicka; Christine Straehle, "Cosmopolitanism, Nation-States and Minority Nationalism: A Critical Review of Recent Literature" in European Journal of Philosophy, no. 1, vol. 7, 1999, pp. 65-88.

(27) Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, ed. cit., p. 111.

(28) John Stuart Mill, "Considerations on Representative Government", in A. D. Linsday (ed.), Utilitarianism, Liberty, Representative Government, London: J. M. Dent, 1954, pp. 361-362.

(29) See: Monica Shelley; Margaret Winck (eds.), What is Europe? Aspects of European Cultural Diversity, London--New York: Routledge, 1995.

(30) Pierre Manent, Politikai filozofia felnotteknek (Cours familier de philosophie politique) (Hungarian translation by Peter Kende), Budapest: Osiris Kiado, 2003, pp. 330-331.

Attila M. Demeter, is assistant professor and the head of Hungarian Department of Philosophy, within Babes-Bolyai University. He is founder of the philosophical review Kellek, founder and president of Pro Philosophia Foundation from Cluj-Napoca, member in Presidium of Hungarian Society of Philosophy from Transylvania.

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Author:Demeter, Attila
Publication:Studia Europaea
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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