The Politics of European Integration: A Reader

The Politics of European Integration: A Reader

The Politics of European Integration: A Reader

The Politics of European Integration: A Reader

Synopsis

The debate over European integration is a central issue in the study of contemporary Europe. This book guides the student through the most important of the integration theories and academic literature on this vital topic. The Reader * includes a wide-ranging introductory essay providing a clear overview and critical analysis of the debate on European integration during the post-war period. * discusses the historical origins, scope and meaning of the idea of Europe * provides key extracts from the seminal authors who have contributed to and fashioned the debate. * brings together the most important parts from the most essential and influential literature on this important topic. The Politics of European Integration will be of great value to the growing number of undergraduate and postgraduate students who are undertaking courses in European studies and politics. It will be especially useful to those who require some knowledge of the origns and development of this important issue at the centre of the debate over Europe.

Excerpt

The search for the meaning of European integration operates at two levels. It represents a political ideal to be prescribed or resisted depending on the values of the commentator. At the practical level, European integration consists of particular projects. These are closely related concerns. Both aspects of the debate on European integration have contributed to a long and lively discourse throughout the postwar years. The central issue under review here is the limits or otherwise of nation statehood. The idea of European integration has attracted both support and opposition. Support for the idea of refashioning Europe’s political arrangements grew in response to the two ‘great’ wars of the early twentieth century. Regional integration offered a solvent for the intense national rivalries that had propelled Europe into these two disastrous and costly conflicts within a generation. Opposition to the integration prospectus was focused on the belief in the nation state as the natural limit of humanity’s search for a viable political community. From this perspective, regional integration was both unnatural and illusory. It was assumed to be a dangerous experiment which tampered with the natural laws of politics. And one which deflected statesmen from their primary task of encouraging effective government and a stable socio-economic order within defensible frontiers.

The ideological friction between those commentators who recommended a radical shift in the foundations of political community, and those who preferred to maintain the status quo, has been reflected in the academic debate over the future of the European nation state. The literature which has contributed to this fascinating discourse is our principal concern here. The debate on the concept of nation statehood, and the prospects for integrating Europe’s existing states into a regional polity, are two sides of the same question. The issues raised here go to the heart of political science’s elemental concerns about the nature of political man and the most likely sources of effective governance.

The extracts which comprise Part III of this book provide a flavour of the key issues and principal approaches to these critical questions, across the spectrum of what has been a lively and protracted debate. The constraints on space have limited both the choice and the length of these extracts. We can only highlight . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.