How were countries or political borders created

Citizenship Challenges



Globalization and International Political Cooperation


refers to a process in which global relationships in a wide variety of areas and on different levels become stronger and more frequent ( For example, economic cooperation between municipalities in different countries, between regions and nation states, academic exchange, travel, networking through the Internet and the resulting “shorter” distances between states are expressions of globalization. Due to technological advances and increasing prosperity in one part of the world, border crossings have become logistically, technically and economically easier to manage and are also taking place more frequently. This advancing globalization leads to an increased delimitation and de-territorialization, not only of the economy, capital and goods traffic, but also of people, ideas and identities (Bloemraad / Korteweg / Yurdakul 2008: 165). Growing globalization and closer cooperation between states have reduced the importance of geographical borders for some policy areas (Caramani / Strijbis 2013: 387). It became easier and more natural to cross borders, because this is also done for mutual benefit - for example in trade relations.

However, this also led to the creation of common regulations and responsibilities as well as common problems that one state cannot determine or solve on its own, but that have to be worked out by mutual agreement between different states. Since the drafting of the UN Charter in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, an Art global constitutionalism, an increasingly dense network of international contracts, legal provisions and binding minimum standards, which supports and regulates the mutual dependency and cooperation of states at the same time (Brunkhorst / Kettner 2000: 13). The nation state is still the most important actor in the international political system and will remain so in the foreseeable future. However, a number of other actors have joined the nation states, such as NGOs (non-governmental organizations), international organizations, supranational actors, institutions, etc. so that democratic political structures have to be expanded step by step (Thürer 2000: 178). As a result, the gradually limited sovereignty and freedom of choice of nation states are supplemented by more and more international norms, stronger human rights protection and a better networked civil society (Benhabib 2007: 170f). It should not be forgotten that conflicts can sometimes arise between the democratic majority will of a state and norms resulting from international obligations, which can limit the democratic control of national governments by their citizens (Näsström 2011: 122; Benhabib 2007: 179): infringe national law against binding international norms, this must be reformed or repealed, even if the majority of citizens or their representatives support this law.

Not only national institutions, but also international ones need a certain degree of democratic control and loyalty to the citizens - accordingly, the debate about possible expansion of democracy and civic participation at the supranational level is a very topical and important one in the field of democratic development and the Citizenship Concepts.

The emergence of a global constitutionalism

The emerging global constitutionalism already mentioned is determined by three global political trends: new risks and global phenomena, new actors and new governance structures that bring with them a new form of sovereignty (Fues 2007: 1f).

Worldwide phenomena such as climate change, environmental pollution, international economic relations, international conflicts, etc. are developments or structures that affect many people and many countries in the world. At the same time, there are events that are not territorially bound, but have global or at least regional (e.g. on a certain continent) effects. For example, if there is a drought due to climate change, it does not stop at national borders. If, as a result of regional environmental disasters or conflicts, there are migration or refugee movements, countries that are further away (geographically) are also affected by this phenomenon. And if there is a crisis in the international financial system, as we have been experiencing since 2008, it cannot be limited to one or a few countries either. This is also a consequence of globalization: the stronger networking results in greater mutual dependency and vulnerability of the individual states. When it is in a state There is a crisis or problem, so it affects many other states out.

Increased political cooperation at the international and supranational level, on the one hand, gradually limits the scope for action of nation states and their governments. Partly because states are confronted with phenomena that they cannot cope with on their own, partly because their political and legal leeway has been restricted by international treaties, international law and European integration. This represents a challenge for democracy, which is structured and organized on a national basis. Increasingly, decisions are no longer made by national (democratically legitimized) politicians, but by international or supranational actors who are not democratically legitimized in a comparable way (Näsström 2011: 124). At the same time, the influence of democratically illegitimate economic actors (such as corporations) has grown significantly due to the international deregulation of economic relations and the progressive economization of politics.

On the other hand, this restriction of the state's freedom of action must not be regarded as a kind Zero sum game in which nation states lose power and international actors gain power, because these international actors, which have emerged in the last few decades and have become increasingly important, are largely created and controlled by nation states and their representatives. One can speak of a shift in decision-making power or the creation of supplementary structures (Thürer 2000: 191). The strengthening of new power structures that stand outside or above traditional national structures, which represent a democratic (control) relationship between citizens and "their" states, creates the need to expand and supplement democratic structures and thus also of citizenship concepts. Approaches to this expansion are already in the making global civil society recognizable. These take up the wishes and needs of civil society and carry them into the arenas of international politics (UN, international organizations). This incipient development of increasing legalization of international politics and greater involvement of non-state actors in international negotiations and resolutions is referred to as governance summarized and denotes the developing, still difficult to grasp, expanded structure of governance, which no longer takes place exclusively within the framework of the nation-state (Thürer 2000: 202, 205).

So far, national societies have been conceptualized as self-contained, homogeneous vessels that stand side by side. Such a vessel is manageable and relatively easy to govern. At the same time, these government structures are also embedded in a system of democratic control mechanisms that guarantee citizens' participation. However, when these “closed units” open up and affiliations and boundaries begin to blur and new structures emerge, the mechanisms with which the nation-states were governed only function to a limited extent. Exactly this problem arises from globalization and the increased international cooperation for national governments: The population of the national states is no longer as uniform and stable as it may have been in the past, and political and economic decisions at the international level are affected differently Range gained. The assumption that a society is territorially bound and “immobile” in a state must be questioned (Seitz 2009: 41). Due to economic links, it is often no longer so easy to assign clear competencies and responsibilities to certain actors. In a new situation in which many things can no longer be so clearly delimited and assigned, politicians have to develop new strategies and regulatory mechanisms, which is what the European Union is currently trying to do. If the international context of a democratic system changes significantly, the strategies and instruments of the democratic system must also be adapted accordingly. The increasing internationalization of many areas of life therefore also represents a challenge for national citizenship.

Supranational Cooperation - European Union

The effects of international political cooperation are discussed most frequently and most intensely within the framework of the European Union: The member states of the EU are increasingly shifting originally national competences to the supranational organs of the EU (Commission, European Parliament). This means that national governments can no longer make sovereign decisions on their own in many political areas, but have to make compromises with other European governments, and in many areas there are genuinely European directives and regulations that are binding for the nation states. This complex and novel system of supranational decision-making poses a variety of challenges for conventional, nationally conceived democratic systems: On the one hand, the national parliaments are partially disempowered because, for a long time, the members of the executive branch negotiated and decided at the EU level (European Commission, Councils of Ministers). This means that in the national political systems the executive (government) has been strengthened vis-à-vis the legislature (parliament). Furthermore, the governments at the EU level have to make compromises, which means that the national parliaments and the public can no longer hold their governments directly to account if political decisions were not made in their favor: compromises had to be found.
These different tendencies and factors lead to a legitimation deficit of the national democracies due to the increasing internationalization of politics. The expansion of supranational decision-making powers has so far not been accompanied by a corresponding supranational democratization, which could alleviate emerging challenges (Seitz 2009: 43). The European Parliament has been directly elected since 1979 and has been steadily strengthened since then, so that today it has equal rights with the Council in almost all areas that are decided at European level. Nonetheless, a strengthening of the governments vis-à-vis parliaments can be observed overall. Economic structures and logics are also becoming increasingly influential and restrict the freedom of decision-making of sovereign states. In this context, the scientific literature also speaks of the economization of the political (Salzborn 2012: 122). The question of how such a large and complex political entity could be more democratically controlled and structured has therefore been discussed intensively in both politics and political science for many years. However, a solution to this problem has not yet been found.


Further in the module:

New forms of participation