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Supranationalism is a method of decision-making in multi-national political communities, wherein power is transferred or delegated to an authority by governments of member states. The concept of supranational union is sometimes used to describe the European Union, as a new type of political entity.[1] The EU is the only entity which provides for international popular elections, going beyond the level of political integration normally afforded by international treaty. The term "supranational" is sometimes used in a loose, undefined sense in other contexts, sometimes as a substitute for international, transnational or global. Another method of decision-making in international organizations is intergovernmentalism, in which state governments play a more prominent role.


Origin as a legal concept

The Council of Europe created a system based on human rights in its founding Statute and its Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Robert Schuman, French Foreign minister, initiated the debate on supranational democracy in his speeches at the United Nations,[2] at the signing of the Council's Statutes and at a series of other speeches across Europe and North America.[3]

The term "supranational" occurs in an international treaty for the first time (twice) in the Treaty of Paris, 18 April 1951. This new legal term defined the Community method in creating the European Coal and Steel Community and the beginning of the democratic re-organization of Europe. It defines the relationship between the High Authority or European Commission and the other four institutions. In the treaty it relates to a new democratic and legal concept.

The Founding Fathers of the European Community and the present European Union said that supranationalism was the cornerstone of the governmental system. This is enshrined in the Europe Declaration made on 18 April 1951, the same day as the European Founding Fathers signed the Treaty of Paris.[4]

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