MRI Forum 54

"European Supranationalism -
The Battle of Spirit of Jean Monnet and Vision of General de Gaulle"


by Krzysztof Śliwiński

4 November 2009


Summary of the Presentation

Jean Monnet, the great visionary, one of the fathers of European integration strongly advocated federal cooperation as means of achieving peace and stability in Western Europe. French President, General Charles de Gaulle, supporting the idea of a European confederation, opposed Monnets’ standpoint. The battle between the two visions embodied in the principles of federalism and confederation is omnipresent in the history of European integration as much as it is reflected in the sophisticated structure of the European Union. In effect, EU is a mixture of intergovernmental and supranational arrangements. Supranationalism is strongly opposed by many EU member states, however the reasons for such strong stance vary and do not always steam from the fear of losing national sovereignty.

The Lisbon Treaty brings a number of amendments to the institutional structure of the European Union. Among those are extended Qualified Majority Voting and a creation of the institution of the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission. Yet, the future of the European Union, by many considered as an inescapable ‘ever closer union’, is most likely to hold the same mixture of intergovernmental and supranational arrangements as we can see today.

Profile of the Speaker

Dr. Krzysztof Śliwiński studied international relations at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw. His major was European Integration. After achieving his master’s with distinction, he continued to study at Ph.D. level. His main focus was British security strategy. Upon completing his Ph.D. at the same Institute, he worked for two years at the University of Warsaw as an assistant professor. During that time he published on British foreign policy and security strategy as well as on European integration. Since January 2007 he has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Government and Intentional Studies Department of Hong Kong Baptist University. He holds regular lectures on European integration, security studies as well as on international relations and political science.