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Europe and the common

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Significant attention has been given to the necessary conditions for a viable and legitimate European polity. Drawing on traditions in political philosophy, a central strand of this debate has concerned what must be common to a set of people such that they may be ruled through the same institutions, with various types of collective bond proposed as possible bases for political community. The argument of this article is that many such approaches, which conceive a bond in terms of shared interests, cultural attributes or shared values and principles, are liable either to underplay or to overplay how much the citizens of a polity must have in common, tending either to empty public life of the pursuit of shared ends or conversely to downgrade the importance of adversarialism. Both may be seen as depoliticising moves. The article goes on to explore how a more explicitly political bond, based on the appraisal of political problems, might be conceived for a European polity.

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