Una teoría sobre la ciudadanía europea

Hay algo trágico en el desarrollo actual de Europa. El avance de la democracia en el continente y la formación de un mercado único a lo largo de una buena parte del territorio europeo han creado estabilidad, seguridad y prosperidad sin precedentes. La nueva divisa, el euro, y la promesa de la Unión Europea de admitir hasta diez nuevos miembros en 2004 son indicadores sólidos de una integración en curso.

Sin embargo, la capacidad de las instituciones europeas para manejar una integración más amplia y profunda se ve socavada cada vez más por la persistencia de un ideal contradictorio y obsoleto desde hace mucho: el Estado-nación como base de legitimidad política y de soberanía. Una mayor integración europea genera tanto miedo y oposición debido, en gran medida, a que la idea de una ciudadanía europea común con frecuencia se entiende, por analogía, como una ciudadanía nacional.

El Estado-nación, en el sentido tradicional, presuponía una ciudadanía que se creó al decaer las identidades colectivas en competencia. Los venecianos se volvieron italianos, los bávaros se conviertieron en alemanes, y así sucesivamente. Los creadores de las naciones en Europa promovieron (ciertamente con distintos grados de éxito) el surgimiento de una cultura dominante, un idioma oficial y una identidad basada en parte en las distinciones frente a los Estados, pueblos y culturas vecinos. Las minorías nacionales en todas partes se enfrentaron a la expulsión o a enormes presiones oficiales para asimilarse.

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