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The persistence of the European Union: A speculative view

Associate Professor Barnard Turner, Senior Fellow, EU Centre in Singapore

31 Mar 2011

CIT Auditorium, Level 2, Computer Centre, National University of Singapore 2 Engineering Drive 4, Singapore 117584

3.30pm – 5.00pm


Since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union has a legal “personality” and, arguably, a greater will to soft power and sense of actorhood on the world stage. Through some twenty propositions and related excursi, this paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to the current state of the European Union, its persistence and ongoing transformation which have reached a summation and new stage with the coming-into-being of the Treaty, a Constitution manquée. Yet figuratively and in some oblique sense literally, the EU is still in its infancy and a reflection on the coming-to-be of that great analogue, the United States, after the Revolutionary but before the Civil War (through writings of the Anti-Federalists, Tocqueville and Thoreau) is yet instructive and somewhat underplayed in the attempt to cast the EU as an “actor” exclusively sui generis. There has now arisen a contestable category shift in defining of the Union as the sum of its parts, or (the same thing expressed deductively), in adducing the restrained but still active competencies of the member states from those left over, not assumed by the Union in the Lisbon Treaty.

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