Political Philosophy and the European Union

CHAIRE HOOVER Louvain-La-Neuve

UCLouvain & Université St Louis
Academic Year 2017-2018, 2nd semester

Philippe Van Parijs

Political philosophy has traditionally focused on the nation-state, in particular on how its collective decisions should be taken to qualify as democratic, and on how its institutions should be designed to count as just. More recently, political philosophy has resolutely expanded its focus: it started asking, for example, whether global governance should be a macroscopic replica of domestic government, and whether global justice is to be conceived as inter-national justice or as social justice writ large.

But what about this intermediate entity of an unprecedented nature that is now called the European Union? What can be said about it from a normative point of view? What are the principles that should determine how much power its institutions are to be given, how these should be designed, and what the scope and content of their policies should be? In the light of these principles, is the very existence of the European Union a good thing? Should its geographical scope increase or decrease? Should its powers be expanded or shrunk? And what policies should it most urgently develop?

These questions will be addressed through a set of carefully prepared dialogues with prominent European personalities.