The Integration of the European Union and Domestic Political Issues

The Integration of the European Union and Domestic Political Issues

The Integration of the European Union and Domestic Political Issues

The Integration of the European Union and Domestic Political Issues

Synopsis

The integration of the European Union may well be a worthwhile enterprise bringing many economic and social advantages, but integration faces many obstacles, from attachment to nationalism to opposition to a federal governmental system. Feld examines how the European Union countries arrived at their current situation and the prospects for further strengthening of ties.

Excerpt

The purpose of this volume is to examine the determinants of the process of regional integration among the participants of the European Union (EU). Two factors play a vital role: first, the number of participants has increased from six in 1957 (1953, if one considers the European Coal and Steel Community as the beginning) to 15 in 1997, and this number may grow further if and when East European countries such as Poland and the Czech State are given EU membership. Second, administrative changes may be made in the institutional structures of the EU that may affect the internal and external decision-making processes in the years to come.

The theoretical basis of regional integration goes back to the 1950s, and the best-known scholars in this field were E. B. Haas and Leon Lindberg. The most important names of the theories were functionalism, neo-functionalism, and intergovernmentalism. A well-documented book dealing with the period of 1950 to 1972 is Charles Pentland, International Theory and European Integration (New York, 1973). Following this period and especially during the late eighties and early nineties, a variety of new theoretical efforts to explain and predict regional integration sprang forward. We will use chapter 2 to provide an overview of these efforts and analyze the extent to which they explain the present and future developments in the EU integration process. What can we learn from the activities of the member state governments during the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), and from the goals and their implementation proposed by the European Union Commission? Was the Reflection Group, consisting of representatives of the . . .

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