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The Emergence Of A Supra-National European Citizen

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Kostas Theologou, Political Scientist, PhD

Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

School of Applied Mathematics and Physics

National Technical University of Athens, Greece

Genikes Edres, Bldg E, 1st floor

9 Heroon Polytechneiou Str,

15780 NTUA Zographos Campus

tel. 0030 210 772 2255, cell 0030 6976016195

fax. 0030 210 7721618 e-mail:

The emergence of a supra-national European citizen

Kostas Theologou,


The emergence of a supra-national European citizen


This paper examines the emergence of European citizenship as a procedure of merging national (partial) characteristics into a supra-national formation. The paper summarizes the catalysts to the formation of a Pan-demos Europe.

No doubt, the role of the nation-state is changing within the institutional frame-work of the European Union. The model of citizenship based on national identity and the established idea of a nation-state is being outdated. This paper focuses on the conditions that produce the emergence of a non-ethnic attribute for E.U. citizens.

The social chemistry can arguably enhance the institutional framework of the central administrative attempts to define the social fabric of a multiethnic, mul-tilingual, multicultural and multi-denominational organisation. Yet, the more complex patterns of identity cannot be mere mixtures of political-administrative structures and institutions. In addition, the future of a federal Europe can only exist as one Republic Union of Working Citizens, not as several particularities and nationalisms.

The whole process is likely to be of long duration, assisted mainly by two fac-tors: the educational mechanisms in the existing states and the geographic diffu-sion of the European people (achieved by the facilitation for obtaining property in other countries and the working people mobility within its expanding bounda-ries). A new collective identity is likely to be thus created by sharing experi-ence, myths and memories. This quasi-political identity may finally transcend the partial (fragmental) nationalities and ethnic features that can well fuse to-gether into a new citizenship.

My argument, though, is to express that the citizens of a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, as Europeans are, can better live in peace within an enlarged concept of their identity, however, without disregarding their local tradition and ethos.

Key words: citizenship, non-ethnic identity, pan-demos Europe, educa-tion, equal access, language, osmosis

1. Defining a modern European civil society

We are in need for a European identity, because no European nation-state alone is in a position to meet the challenges of the modern world such as the ecologi-cal crisis, unemployment, poverty, the rise of world population, the modern arms used in wars etc (Korthals Altes, 1999). The European social model, based on cohesion and equality within a framework of diversity , is coming under in-creasing pressure caused by globalisation. The Maastricht Treaty had introduced the new concept of a citizen of the Union, although his/her rights and obliga-tions have still to be defined . New forms of participation and representation are emerging as individuals explore the possibilities offered by European citizenship.

With the single market and the euro now firmly established, and with the enlargement of the Union just being accomplished, concepts of governance are changing rapidly in Europe. Who governs, and how and to whom one is account-able, is not always clear.

Nations are bound to be “imagined”, since they are such large entities that peo-ple cannot know each and every one in the same "community" that forms a na-tion-state. The feeling of brotherhood (being part of the same nation) has been the power, which has mobilized millions of people to fight in wars "for their country" (Anderson, 1983). However, “national identity” does not go as far to prescribe that the nation is inexorably bound-up with the state and that it can only survive through the existence of a state apparatus. This is particularly ap-propriate in an era of multi-level governance and subsidiarity where the demar-cation of state functions and responsibilities are less clear (Fowler, 2002).

A new consciousness brings a new ideology; a modern civil society demands a new political party (or pressure group), a managerial mechanism to co-ordinate the European professionals, the working citizens of EU.

The notion of demos is appropriate in our case, since we are a society in quest for the European citizenship through a democratic procedure. Demos, then, is the body of citizens who contribute to the sustainability of the European Union by working and labour (=either manual or mental work, labours or technocrats, workers, civil servants or free lancers of the private sector) is their only means of existence. These working citizens constitute a novel international social class, a supra-national pressure group struggling to focus and subsequently force the decision-making centres towards an institutional osmosis, which in parallel is so-cially already elaborated. People who do not contribute to demos with a specific kind of work are to be excluded from it; work would be eventually the pass to political rights.

A strong concept of European citizenship, characterised by a wide and rich range of rights ascribed through it and with independence from national citizenships, could powerfully contribute to solve (at least partly but nevertheless effectively) the democratic deficiencies of the European Union. A democracy is not merely a representative or parliamentary political system but first and foremost an asso-ciation of equal citizens who are defined as such directly, without referring to intermediate social and political groups; democracy is not considered only or even mainly as given by the majority rule applied to political decisions, but emi-nently by the existence of a public domain of free discussion. But in order to have this, some requirements have to be satisfied: first of all a feeling and a sphere of common concern (La Torre, 1999).



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