The United States… of Europe? A reform proposal

March 14, 2017
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Sergio Fabbrini believes that Europe finds itself in unique circumstances. If dealt with correctly, it could mark a turning point for the future of the continent and the European project.

Sixty years after the Treaty of Rome that established the European Economic Community and a common market where people, goods, services and capital freely circulate, and that contributed to guaranteeing prosperity and stability for citizens of Europe, transformations caused by the end of the Cold War and the most recent financial crisis have made Europe, in the words of Fabbrini, a “crossroads of numerous unions”. Nevertheless, institutional structures and European political competencies have frequently highlighted limits in terms of efficiency and legitimacy, slowing down the integration process between member states.

Fabbrini offers a solution, analyzing the theme, not merely technical but of much wider political relevance, to the reform of the European fiscal system. His study includes a comparison to other proposals, particularly with work from the High Level Group on Own Resources (HLGOR), led by Mario Monti. Fabbrini describes a Europe of mixed characters that incorporates different institutional dynamics and reflects different needs: not a mere association of states, nor union of a federalist nature.

Fabbrini’s proposal reflects this situation, proposing a diversified solution. Fiscal sovereignty should be separated by the national and European levels. National policies should still be support diversified sed by each state’s finances while European policies should be financed by an autonomous European fund, albeit limited. Autonomous as it should be based on its own resources and not on national financial transfers. This would have positive consequences on the European representation of citizens who would finally be elected to manage its own budget (representation with taxation).

Fabbrini’s contribution comes from a talk given during a workshop organized by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies in Florence as a part of a research project financed by the European Parliament.

"Representation without Taxation: an Association or Union of States?"

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