TEPSA Commentary: “Let the European Union Embrace European Democracy!”, Jaap Hoeksma

To celebrate Europe Day, TEPSA is happy to publish a commentary by Euroknow’s Jaap Hoeksma. Hoeksma studied philosophy of public law at the Free University of Amsterdam. He worked with the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Refugees from 1976 to 1990 and wrote several books on asylum and refugee law, notably Tussen Vrees en Vervolging, Assen 1982. In 1991 he founded his company Euroknow and published the board game Eurocracy in order to demonstrate that the newly founded EU was feasible as a European democracy. In 2023 Hoeksma authored The Democratisation of the European Union, in which he analyses the EU’s evolution from an association of states to a democratic Union of democratic States. 

Europe Day 2023 may be an appropriate occasion for proclaiming that the European Union (EU) has found its constitutional destination as a transnational democracy. Fourteen months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and one year before the 2024 elections for the European Parliament, ideologists should cease their almost theological battle over the so-called finalité politique of the Union and value the EU for what it is: an unprecedented democracy of States and citizens.

In its present form, the EU is far from perfect. The desire to lay the foundations for an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe must inspire contemporary politicians to strive for improvement in many domains. The EU has to tackle climate change, social injustice and migration. Moreover, the Union has to learn to defend itself. On a day like 9 of May, however, it should also be realised that the EU constitutes the most significant improvement of the modern States system since the end of the Middle Ages.