Supranational union
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A supranational union is a type of
multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign state that comprises two or more nat ...
political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social re ...
where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member
nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
s. The term is sometimes used to describe the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million ...

European Union
(EU) as a new type of
political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resource ...
. It is the only entity that provides for international popular elections, going beyond the level of political integration normally afforded by international
treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relati ...

treaties
. The term "supranational" is sometimes used in a loose, undefined sense in other contexts such as a substitute for international, transnational or global. Another method of
decision-making In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several possible alternative options, it could be ...
in international organisations is
intergovernmentalism In international relations, intergovernmentalism treats states (and national governments in particular) as the primary actors in the integration process. Intergovernmentalist approaches claim to be able to explain both periods of radical change in ...
in which state governments play a more prominent role.


Origin as a legal concept

After the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945,
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theory ...

Albert Einstein
spoke and wrote frequently in the late 1940s in favor of a "supranational" organization to control all military forces except for local police forces, including nuclear weapons. He thought this might begin with the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, and grow to encompass most other nations, presenting this as the only way to avoid nuclear war. He broached the idea in the November 1945 and November 1947 articles in ''
The Atlantic Monthly ''The Atlantic'' is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher. It was founded in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, as ''The Atlantic Monthly'', a literary and cultural magazine that published leading writers' commentary on education, the ...
'' that described how the constitution of such an organization might be written. In an April 1948 address at Carnegie Hall, he reiterated: "There is only ''one'' path to peace and security: the path of supranational organization." Thanks to his celebrity, Einstein's ideas on the subject generated much discussion and controversy, but the proposal did not generate much support in the West and the Soviet Union viewed it with hostility. With its founding Statute of 1949 and its Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which came into force in 1953, the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organization, international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Eur ...

Council of Europe
created a system based on
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Th ...
and the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language ...

rule of law
.
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
, French foreign minister, initiated the debate on supranational democracy in his speeches at the United Nations, at the signing of the Council's Statutes and at a series of other speeches across Europe and North America. The term "supranational" occurs in an international treaty for the first time (twice) in the Treaty of Paris, 18 April 1951. This new legal term defined the
community methodThe Community method (also known as the Union method) refers to decision making processes in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located ...
in creating the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
and the beginning of the democratic re-organisation of Europe. It defines the relationship between the High Authority or
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes an ...

European Commission
and the other four institutions. In the treaty, it relates to a new democratic and legal concept. The
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
of the European Community and the present European Union said that supranationalism was the cornerstone of the governmental system. This is enshrined in the ''
Europe Declaration The Europe Declaration, also known as the Charter of the Community, was a joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministers of West Germany, France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a coun ...
'' made on 18 April 1951, the same day as the European Founding Fathers signed the Treaty of Paris.'' Der Schuman Plan. Vertrag ueber die Gruendung der europaeischen Gemeinschaft fuer Kohl und Stahl'', p21 Ulrich Sahm mit einem Vorwort von Walter Hallstein. Frankfurt 1951. ''Schuman or Monnet? The real Architect of Europe. Robert Schuman's speeches and texts on the origin, purpose and future of Europe '' p 129. Bron 2004 "By the signature of this Treaty, the participating Parties give proof of their determination to create the first supranational institution and that thus they are laying the true foundation of an organised Europe. This Europe remains open to all nations. We profoundly hope that other nations will join us in our common endeavour." This declaration of principles that included their judgement for the necessary future developments was signed by
Konrad Adenauer Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. ...

Konrad Adenauer
(West Germany),
Paul van Zeeland Paul Guillaume, Viscount van Zeeland (11 November 1893 – 22 September 1973) was a Belgian lawyer, economist, Catholic politician, and statesman born in Soignies. Van Zeeland was a professor of law and later director of the Institute of Econ ...
and Joseph Meurice (Belgium),
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
(France), Count Sforza (Italy),
Joseph Bech Joseph Bech (17 February 1887 – 8 March 1975)Thewes, Guy"Les gouvernements du Grand-Duché depuis 1848." Service information et presse. Luxembourg: Imprimerie Centrale, 2011. was a Luxembourgish politician and lawyer. He was the 15th Prime Mini ...
(Luxembourg), and
Dirk Stikker Dirk Uipko Stikker (5 February 1897 – 23 December 1979) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the defunct Liberal State Party (LSP), co-founder of the defunct Freedom Party (Netherlands), Freedom Party (PvdV) and of the People's Party for ...

Dirk Stikker
and
Jan van den Brink Johannes Roelof Maria "Jan" van den Brink (12 April 1915 – 19 July 2006) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal The Christian Democratic Appeal ( nl, Christen-De ...

Jan van den Brink
(The Netherlands). It was made to recall future generations to their historic duty of uniting Europe based on liberty and democracy under the rule of law. Thus, they viewed the creation of a wider and deeper Europe as intimately bound to the healthy development of the supranational or Community system. This Europe was open to all nations who were free to decide, a reference/or an invitation and encouragement of liberty to the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regi ...
countries. The term supranational does not occur in succeeding treaties, such as the
Treaties of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization that ...
, the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
, the
Treaty of Nice The Treaty of Nice was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. It amended the Maastricht Treaty The Maastricht Treaty, concluded in 1992 between the 12 member states of the European Communitie ...
or the Constitutional Treaty or the very similar
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also ...
.


Distinguishing features of a supranational union

A supranational union is a supranational
polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resourc ...
which lies somewhere between a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in i ...
that is an association of states and a federation that is a state. The European Economic Community was described by its founder
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
as midway between confederalism which recognises the complete independence of states in an association and
federalism Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government nor ...
which seeks to fuse them in a super-state. The EU has supranational competences, but it possesses these competences only to the extent that they are conferred on it by its member states ('' Kompetenz-Kompetenz''). Within the scope of these competences, the union exercises its powers in a sovereignty, sovereign manner, having its own Legislature, legislative, executive, and Judiciary, judicial authorities. The supranational Community also has a chamber for organised civil society including economic and social associations and regional bodies. Unlike states in a federal super-state, member states retain ultimate sovereignty, although some sovereignty is shared with, or ceded to, the supranational body. The supranational action may be time-limited. This was the case with the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
, which was agreed for 50 years with the possibility of renewal. Supranational accords may be permanent, such as an agreement to outlaw war between the partners. Full sovereignty can be reclaimed by withdrawing from the supranational arrangements but the member state may also lose existing advantages offered by unrestricted access to participating states, such as economies of scale. A supranational union, because it is an agreement between sovereign states, is based on international treaties. The European treaties in general are different from classical treaties as they are constitutionalizing treaties, that is, they provide the basis for a European level of governance and rule of law. These treaties are similar to the Constitution of the United Kingdom, British constitution, in that they are not necessarily a single document. They are based on Treaty, treaties between its member governments but normally have to undergo closer scrutiny than other treaties because they are more far-ranging, affecting many areas of citizens' lives and livelihoods. Decision-making is partly Intergovernmentalism, intergovernmental and partly supranational within the Community areas. The latter provides a higher degree of institutional scrutiny both via the Parliament and through the Consultative Committees. Intergovernmentalism provides for less democratic oversight, especially where the institution such as the Council of the European Union, Council of Ministers or the European Council takes place behind closed doors, rather than in a parliamentary chamber. A supranational authority may have some independence from member state governments in specific areas, although not as much independence as with a federal government. Supranational institutions, like federal governments, imply the possibility of pursuing agendas in ways that the delegating states did not initially envision. Democratic supranational Communities, however, are defined by treaty and by law. The union has Supremacy (European Union law), legal supremacy over its member states only to the extent that its member state governments have conferred competences on the union. It is up to the individual governments to assure that they have full democratic backing in each of the member states. The citizens of the member states, though retaining their nationality and national citizenship, additionally become citizens of the union, as is the case with the European Union. The European Union, the only clear example of a supranational union, has a European Parliament, parliament with legislative oversight, elected by its citizens. To this extent, a supranational union like the European Union has characteristics that are not entirely dissimilar to the characteristics of a federal state like the United States of America. However, the differences in scale become apparent if one compares the United States federal budget with the budget of the European Union (which amounts only to about one percent of combined GDP) or the size of the federal civil service of the United States with the Civil Service of the European Union. Because decisions in some EU structures are taken by majority votes, it is possible for a member state to be obliged by the other members to implement a decision.


Supranationalism in the European Union

Historically the concept was introduced and made a concrete reality by
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
when the French Government agreed to the principle in the Schuman Declaration and accepted the Schuman Plan confined to specific sectors of vital interest of peace and war. Thus commenced the European Community system beginning with the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
. The six founder States (France, Italy, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) agreed on the goal: making "war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". They agreed about the means: putting the vital interests, namely coal and steel production, under a common High Authority, subject to common democratic and legal institutions. They agreed on the European rule of law and a new democratic procedure. The five institutions (besides the High Authority) were a Consultative Committee (a chamber representing civil society interests of enterprises, workers and consumers), a parliament, and a Council of government ministers. A Court of Justice would decide disputes coming from governments, public or private enterprises, consumer groups, any other group interests or even an individual. A complaint could be lodged in a local tribunal or national courts, where appropriate. Member states have yet to fulfil and develop the articles in the Paris and Rome treaties for full democracy in the European Parliament and other institutions such as the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions. Schuman described supranational unions as a new stage in human development. It contrasted with destructive nationalisms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that began in a glorious patriotism and ended in wars. He traced the beginning concept of supranationality back to the nineteenth century, such as the Postal Union, and the term supranational is used around the time of the First World War. Democracy, which he defined as "in the service of the people and acting in agreement with it", was a fundamental part of a supranational community. However, governments only began to hold direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979, and then not according to the treaties. A single electoral statute was specified in the treaty for Europe's first community of coal and steel in 1951. Civil society (largely non-political) was to have its own elected chamber in the Consultative Committees specific to each Community as democratically agreed, but the process was frozen (as were Europe's parliamentary elections) by Charles de Gaulle and other politicians who opposed the Community method. Today supranationalism only exists in the two European Communities inside the EU: the Economic Community (often called the European Community although it does not legally cover all State activities) and Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community, a non-proliferation community, in which certain potentialities have been frozen or blocked). Supranational Communities provide powerful but generally unexploited and innovatory means for democratic foreign policy, by mobilising civil society to the democratically agreed goals of the Community. The first Community of Coal and Steel was agreed only for fifty years. Opposition, mainly by enterprises which had to pay a small European tax of less than 1% and government ministers in the Council, led to its democratic mandate not being renewed. Its jurisprudence and heritage remains part of the European Community system. De Gaulle attempted to turn the European Commission into a political secretariat under his control in the Fouchet Plan but this move was thwarted by such democrats in the Benelux countries as Paul-Henri Spaak, Joseph Luns and
Joseph Bech Joseph Bech (17 February 1887 – 8 March 1975)Thewes, Guy"Les gouvernements du Grand-Duché depuis 1848." Service information et presse. Luxembourg: Imprimerie Centrale, 2011. was a Luxembourgish politician and lawyer. He was the 15th Prime Mini ...
as well as a large wave of other pro-Europeans in all the Community countries. The supranational Community method came under attack, not only from de Gaulle but also from other nationalists and Communists. In the post-de Gaulle period, rather than holding pan-European elections under a single statute as specified in all the treaties, governments held and continue to hold separate national elections for the European Parliament. These often favour the major parties and discriminate against smaller, regional parties. Rather than granting elections to organised civil society in the consultative committees, governments created a three-pillar system under the Amsterdam Treaty and
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
, mixing intergovernmental and supranational systems. Two pillars governing External policy and Justice and Home affairs are not subject to the same democratic controls as the Community system. In the Lisbon Treaty and the earlier nearly identical Constitutional Treaty, the democratic independence of the five key institutions is further blurred. This moves the project from full democratic supranationalism in the direction of not just intergovernmentalism but the politicisation of the institutions, and control by two or three major party political organisations. The Commission defines key legal aspects of the supranational system because its members must be independent of commercial, labour, consumer, political or lobby interests (Article 9 of the Paris Treaty). The Commission was to be composed of a small number of experienced personalities, whose impartiality was beyond question. As such, the early presidents of the European Commission, Commission and the High Authority were strong defenders of European democracy against national, autocratic practice or the rule of the strong over the weak. The idea in the Constitutional and Lisbon Treaties is to run the European Commission as a political office. Governments would prefer to have a ''national'' member in the Commission, although this is against the principle of supranational democracy. (The original concept was that the Commission should act as a single impartial college of independent, experienced personalities having public confidence. One of the Communities was defined in the treaty with a Commission with fewer members than the number of its member states.) Thus, the members of the Commission are becoming predominantly party-political, and composed of sometimes rejected, disgraced or unwanted national politicians. The first president of the High Authority was Jean Monnet, who never joined a political party, as was the case with most of the other members of the Commissions. They came from diverse liberal professions, having made recognised European contributions. Governments also wish to retain the secrecy of their deliberations in the Council of Ministers or the European Council, which discusses matters of the most vital interest to European citizens. While some institutions such as the European Parliament have their debates open to the public, others such as the Council of Ministers and numerous committees are not. Schuman wrote in his book, ''Pour l'Europe'' (''For Europe''), that in a democratic supranational Community "the Councils, committees and other organs should be placed under the control of public opinion that was effectual without paralysing their activity nor useful initiatives".


Categorising European supranationalism

Joseph H. H. Weiler, in his work ''The Dual Character of Supranationalism'', states that there are two main facets to European supranationalism, although these seem to be true of many supranational systems. These are: * Normative supranationalism: The Relationships and hierarchy which exist between Community policies and legal measures on one hand and the competing policies and legal measures of the member states on the other (the executive dimension) * Decisional supranationalism: The institutional framework and decision making by which such measures are initiated, debated, formulated, promulgated and, finally, executed (the legislative-judicial dimension) In many ways, the split sees the separation of powers confined to merely two branches.


Comparing the European Union and the United States

In the Lisbon Treaty, the distribution of competences in various policy areas between member states and the European Union is redistributed in three categories. In 19th century U.S., it had exclusive competences only. Competences not explicitly listed belong to lower levels of governance.


Democratic deficit in the EU and other supranational unions

In a supranational union, the problem of how to reconcile the principle of equality among nation states, which applies to international (intergovernmental) organisations, and the principle of equality among citizens, which applies within nation states is resolved by taking a sectoral approach. This allows an innovatory, democratic broadening the number of actors to be included. These are present not only in the classical Parliament which has slightly different functions but also in the Consultative Committees such as the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions which the treaties give powers equivalent to parliaments in their own areas but which are at present still developing their potential. In the European Union, the Lisbon Treaty mixes two principles (classical parliamentary government with a politically elected government) and a supranational community with a totally independent
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes an ...

European Commission
. Governments are also trying to treat the Lisbon Treaty as a simple classical treaty, or even an amendment to one, which does not require citizens' support or democratic approval. The proposed Lisbon Treaty and the earlier Constitutional draft still retain in the European Union elements of a supranational union, as distinct from a federal state on the lines of the United States of America. But this is at the expense of the democratic potentialities of a full supranational union as conceived in the first Community.


Other international organisations with some degree of integration

The only union generally recognised as having achieved the status of a supranational union is the European Union. There are a number of Trade bloc, other regional organisations that, while not supranational unions, have adopted or intend to adopt policies that may lead to a similar sort of integration in some respects. * African Union (AU) * Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) * Benelux, a political union of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Though part of the EU, EU treaties contain an exception that EU law is subservient to Benelux integration. * Caribbean Community (CARICOM) * Central American Integration System (SICA) * Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations * Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (Gulf Cooperation council) (GCC) * Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) * International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) * South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) * Union of South American Nations (USAN) * Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) * Union State * Turkic Council (TurkKon) * Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) * Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) * Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) * Pacific Alliance Other organisations that have also discussed greater integration include: * Arab League into an "Arab Union" * Pacific Islands Forum into the "Pacific Union" * Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia into the "Eurasian Union" * Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) into the "Latin American integration, Latin American Union" * East African Community into the "East African Federation"


See also

* Staatenverbund * Continental union * Democratic globalization * Devolution * Economic union * Federation * History of the European Coal and Steel Community (1945–57) * International human rights law * International parliament * List of economic communities * List of free trade agreements * List of supranational environmental agencies * Multi-level governance *
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
* Regional integration * Schuman Declaration * Supranational aspects of international organizations * Transnational citizenship * United Nations Parliamentary Assembly * World government * Constitutional patriotism * Civic nationalism


Notes and references


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Supranational Union Supranational unions, Federalism Imperialism European Union law Theories