Social Forces in the Making of the New Europe: The Restructuring of European Social Relations in the Global Political Economy

Social Forces in the Making of the New Europe: The Restructuring of European Social Relations in the Global Political Economy

Social Forces in the Making of the New Europe: The Restructuring of European Social Relations in the Global Political Economy

Social Forces in the Making of the New Europe: The Restructuring of European Social Relations in the Global Political Economy

Synopsis

Social Forces in the Making of the New Europe argues that the revival of European integration in the mid-1980s and the emergence of a "New Europe" have to be analyzed against the background of globalization and the transnational restructuring of social forces since the early1970s. The contributors work from a range of diverse-but-similar critical perspectives that draw from the functionalist and intergovernmentalist approaches.

Excerpt

After two decades of relative stagnation, European integration experienced a dramatic revival in the mid-1980s. In 1985, the Commission published its famous White Paper, Completing the Internal Market, which proposed 300 (later reduced to 279) measures designed to facilitate progress towards the completion of the Internal Market by 1992 through the abolition of non-tariff barriers. The Single European Act (SEA) of 1987 not only spelt out the goals of the Internal Market – that is, the four freedoms of goods, services, capital and labour – but it also strengthened the supranational institutions. The European Court of Justice (ECJ), for example, became the arbiter of the Internal Market, while the European Parliament gained a second reading and the chance to influence legislation through amendments with the introduction of the co-operation procedure. In addition, the Treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1991. Amongst other changes, it laid out the plan for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), including a single currency to be administered by a supranational and independent European Central Bank (ECB). In other words, member states decided to give up monetary sovereignty. In January 1999, 11 member states carried out this step when they irrevocably fixed their exchange rates. At Maastricht, further steps were also taken towards a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) which, although it is still mainly organised along intergovernmental lines, could imply further future pooling and transfer of sovereignty related to defence. Finally, in the 1995 enlargement, the

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