No Integration without Representation

Alexander Hamilton is on everyone’s mind in Brussels nowadays, as watered-down versions of his concept of fiscal federalism are increasingly perceived as the solution to the eurozone’s malaise. But Hamilton’s ideas are incomplete without James Madison’s examination of how political representation should be structured in order to facilitate economic integration.

FLORENCE – The eurozone crisis is a common cause for Europeans. But the shared interests of Europe’s citizens lack adequate political representation – a failing that contributed to the current crisis. The longer the crisis is treated exclusively as a technocratic issue, the more strongly the European Union will be pushed toward disintegration.

To avoid a breakup, Europe’s leaders should look to the ideas of James Madison, one of the authors of the United States Constitution and The Federalist Papers. Currently, Madison’s co-author Alexander Hamilton is on everyone’s mind in Brussels, as watered-down versions of his concept of fiscal federalism are increasingly perceived as the solution to the eurozone’s malaise.

But Hamilton’s ideas are incomplete without Madison’s examination of how political representation should be structured in order to facilitate economic integration. Madison’s “scheme of representation” included several innovative elements, two of which apply to the eurozone’s current crisis.

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