Why is the European Union a failure

European elections

Max Haller

To person

Dr. phil., born 1947, professor of sociology at the University of Graz; Universitätsstrasse 15 / G4, 8010 Graz / Austria.
Email: [email protected]

As far as the European unification process is concerned, there is a gap between the elites and the citizens. The main beneficiaries of integration are the political, economic and bureaucratic decision-makers.


It has long been evident that a considerable gap has opened up between elites and citizens when it comes to the European unification process. While the former defend it enthusiastically, the latter shows at best lukewarm approval, and in many cases skepticism. In 2005, 55 percent of the French and 62 percent of the Dutch rejected the "Constitution for Europe". The then French President Jacques Chirac had called this vote of his own free will.

The rejection hit him and all of Europe like a thunderbolt, as one could say that this constitution would have brought clear progress by the European Union (EU) in terms of democratization, transparency and efficiency of decision-making structures. EU-friendly commentators sought - and found - the reasons for this result, which, as it turned out, had little to do with the constitution itself - but above all with the unpopularity of President Chirac. Indeed, it seems that the people do not really understand a complex issue like European integration, which is why it would be better to leave the decision on it to their elected and knowledgeable representatives.