La Expansión y la Democracia en Europa

Europa se encuentra al borde de dos eventos casi revolucionarios: la expansión hacia el este y la posibilidad de hacer un borrador de constitución para la Unión Europea (UE). Ambos deberían tratarse como inexorablemente relacionados. Estoy a favor de la expansión de la UE. Es una necesidad histórica. Sin embargo, la expansión debe realizarse mano a mano con las reformas institucionales que mejorarían tanto la capacidad de acción de la UE como su legitimidad democrática.

Desde la caída del comunismo, las naciones de Europa central y del este han pasado por varias excitantes, pero difíciles, transiciones. El mayor peligro planteado por ese más bien abrupto proceso de transformación es que una sociedad, al tratar de volverse abierta, se arriesga a desintegrarse en el intento. Esto puede suceder cuando se retiran las estructuras viejas y no son reemplazadas prudentemente con nuevas. Las sociedades abiertas requieren de instituciones confiables y éstas no pueden crearse de la noche a la mañana.

Atravesar ese difícil pasaje desde una sociedad cerrada hasta una abierta fue una medida necesaria para que los estados de Europa central y del este se volvieran candidatos y -quizá pronto- miembros de la UE. Realizaron un esfuerzo enorme -algo que los actuales miembros de la UE no entienden por completo- para lograr esas transformaciones domésticas y así adaptarse a los increíblemente extensos requerimentos de la Unión.

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