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In this chapter we provide a philosophically rooted reflection on the concept of ‘autonomy’, focusing our discussion on an analysis of some of its core theoretical underpinnings as well as on its status as a lived capacity. This analysis draws on insights from the field of ‘personal autonomy’ and uses them as a reflective device in examining ‘national autonomy’. The ‘EU experience’, in particular in the aftermath of the European Banking and Debt Crisis, acts as the backdrop to our discussion. In adopting a ‘relational’ stance, we argue that although autonomy is an intrinsic capacity that is exercised by individual nations, relationships influence their capacity to recognise the existence of their autonomous capacities and exercise them. Indeed, strong and stable interactions (such as with other members of one’s community) are a crucial means through which autonomy is fostered. Autonomy helps to ensure EU member nations do not become subsumed under or subservient to more powerful orthodoxies. Troikanomics, however, has exemplified how the EU was colonised by an orthodoxy intent on subverting national autonomy and displacing countervailing sovereign status. In light of this, we ask whether it is still possible to speak meaningfully of the prospect of ‘autonomous’ member nations, and whether or not this is an aspiration that can survive within the EU’s current landscape. In this context, our analysis is not directly concerned with the autonomy of the EU itself as a distinct entity, but rather with the autonomy of the individual nations which comprise it.
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- Autonomy Within the EU: A Relational Perspective
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