2 The Gap Between Politics and Economics—Or, Perception and Reality

European integration in the post-war period has been characterized by continuous expansion in terms of both geography and policy functions. It was born only a few years after a devastating world war with a highly ambitious attempt to integrate the coal and steel industries—then considered strategic sectors of the economy—in six countries of Western Europe. It reached adolescence with a still incomplete common market, and matured into middle age at the turn of the new century as a European Union of fifteen members performing (or sharing) most of the traditional functions of the nation-state. And arguably as a sign of the maturity that usually accompanies middle age, this European Union has decided to appropriate for itself one of the key attributes of sovereignty, namely, a currency of its own, thus casting the old currencies of European states into the dustbin of history.

After the end of the cold war that had divided Europe into two heavily armed camps, with only a few countries trying to preserve some kind of neutrality, a new prospect has opened up of integration (or unification, for some) extending to the whole of the European continent. Ten more countries are now ready to join, and others are already in the waiting room. This new round of enlargement is a slow process, as it has been in the past. And as before, most member countries are seeking ways to combine this widening of membership with the further deepening of the process of integration—this being at least the

-13-

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What Kind of Europe?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • What Kind of Europe? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: What Kind of Europe? 1
  • Part I Taking Stock 11
  • 2: The Gap Between Politics and Economics—or, Perception and Reality 13
  • 3: Winners and Losers . . . 43
  • 4: And the Rest of the World 66
  • Part II the Main Challenges Ahead 93
  • 5: Economic Governance and Policy Choices 95
  • 6: Emu: A Unifying Factor 142
  • 7: Extending Pax Europea 167
  • Part III Conclusions 201
  • 8: What is at Stake? 203
  • Select Bibliography 223
  • Figures and Table 232
  • Abbreviations 233
  • Index 235
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