chapter  2
23 Pages

The constitutive nature of values, images and principles in the European union

The quote from Romano Prodi serves several purposes in this chapter – first

and foremost it illustrates the extent to which the President of the European

Commission’s understanding of the EU was clearly located in the notion of a

European model, rather than the naked pursuit of European interests. But it

also tells us something about the nature of Prodi, his speechwriters, and the

shared self-understandings of the Commissioners and their cabinets. The speech

talks not of the EU, but of Europe; it talks not of ‘own interests’, but of being

here to share interests; it talks not of utopia, but of horrendous experiences; it

talks not of expediency, but of principles; and finally it talks not of majoritarian

politics, but of a consensual model. So for those behind the speech, the Eur-

opean model is spoken of as part of a European understanding of self, history,

principles, and politics.