Background Paper for THESEUS Conference “A Political Union: clear concept or constructive ambiguity?” by Laura Ventura

logoLaura Ventura, Project Officer at TEPSA, wrote a background paper “A Political Union: clear concept or constructive ambiguity?” for the THESEUS Conference “A vision for post-crisis Europe: Towards what kind of political union?”, organised on 17-18 October in Vienna.
The topic of political Union has remained a fundamental question since the early debates on the European Political Community in 1950s and the Fouchet Plan in 1960s. Nowadays while coping with the crisis, the need to set-up a political Union has become a priority. A post-crisis Europe ‘era’ and a political Union are closely interlinked. Yet the visions of head of states and governments differ  largely on the degree of sovereignty they agree to give up and thus to transfer to the EU level. Although vague, the concept as such is not new but its meaning has evolved over time. Before the crisis in the 1990s, the concept of political Union encompassed a set of various policies. The crisis and post-crisis period urged EU leaders and head of state of governments to complete an Economic and Monetary Union. The  concept of political Union has thus shifted to focus on the coordination of economic policies, although not only.
The crisis has shown the limits of the Lisbon Treaty to provide an adequate coordinated economic response. In order to enhance further integration, although the Treaty offers some possible developments to establish a political Union, discussions on a new Convention to install a federal economic government for a fiscal union and a new Treaty have already started and will be further debated at the occasion of the next European elections.
This paper will discuss to what extent a political Union represents a clear concept or a constructive ambiguity, from its origins to what kind and how to enhance its achievement.