Anna C. Davidson


Debates on the viability of European integration often rest on the need for some form of common European identity. This article looks at European integration through the framework of normative political theory to explore what form of European identity is needed for the EU to be considered both justified – having a good or just reason for existence, and legitimate – having consent from its citizens. It critiques arguments for a purely justified EU, which rule out the need for a common European identity, as well as those requiring a thick common identity for a legitimate EU. In contrast, this article argues for a European identification that is both desirable as an identity and works to sustain a justified and legitimate EU. The proposed conception of European identification takes into consideration national and sub-national identities and opens up the potential for Europeanised identities at multiple levels.


European identity; legitimacy; justification; Europeanised identity; multi-level polity
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