SUMMARY: I. Introduction: the disconnect between power and legitimacy and the search for “reconciliation” in European integration. – II. Matteo Renzi and Europe’s “soul”: seeking a “large-scale solidarity” to transcend austerity in the Eurozone? – III. “Building Europe without Europeans”? The problem of supranational technocracy as the driver of integration. -IV. Europeanization or Reconciliation? On the “legitimacy resources” of national parliaments and the need for a riserva di legge in European integration. – V. Conclusion: Matteo Renzi, Max Weber, and “the assault of technocracy”.
This paper builds on a lecture delivered at the Summer School on “Parliamentary Democracy in Europe” at the LUISS Guido Carli School of Government in Rome on 18 July 2014. The lecture closed the first week of courses on the “Europeanization of National Parliaments.” The paper argues, ultimately, for caution in using the idea of Europeanization to describe the changes in national parliamentary responsibilities and procedures as a consequence of integration. It asserts, rather, that there is a risk of understating the “legitimacy resources” possessed by national parliaments as the constitutional expression of self-government in the European system. To make the point, the paper deconstructs some recent statements of the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, most importantly his speech before the European Parliament on 2 July 2014, viewed in relation to statements made before the Italian Chamber of Deputies and elsewhere. Renzi’s line of rhetoric on Europe — notably his quest for Europe’s “soul” and “the meaning of [its] life together” — provides a point of entry into a broader set of reflections on the current state of the integration process, its socio-political/socio-cultural underpinnings, as well as the “reconciliation” between Europe and national parliaments (technocracy and democracy) that is the focus of this lecture.