After a long period of routine proceedings of European integration, the first months of 2000 seemed to bring back big ideas to the European public. A wave of speeches and statements of key politicians has fostered a wide debate on where Europe should be heading in the coming years. The three boldest ones might have been Joschka Fisher's at Humboldt University, Jacques Chirac's before the German Parliament and Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's at the occasion of receiving an honorary degree from Lipsia University. In this note, focus is on Fischer's speech, which embodies not only a certaine idée de l'Europe, but a quite detailed blueprint of how representation and decision-making processes should be changed. His is a committed federal proposal, and one might even say that it has a Habermasian flavour. My intention is to provide some normative arguments for what seems to me the implicit premise of Fischer's speech, namely that there is no necessary tension between European integration and democracy. We can have more of Europe, more of nation-states and more of democracy, provided we use our institutional imagination.
A later version of this paper was published in C. Joerges, Y. Meny and J. H. H. Weiler (eds) What Kind of Constitution for What Kind of Polity? Robert Shuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Intitute and The Jean Monnet Chair, Harvard Law School, pp. 125-138.