The movement to integration: a theoretical
In Chapter 1, we referred to the different theories relevant to an understanding of the development of postwar integration: federalism, functionalism and intergovernmentalism. Monnet felt that intergovernmentalism was not enough, but as to whether he was himself a federalist or a functionalist is a matter of disagreement.The same difficulty has afflicted those commentators who have attempted to provide a theoretical explanation of the dynamics of integration, in other words to explain how and why it has come about. The difficulty is all the greater because at different periods the Union has exhibited different tendencies, sometimes seeming to progress more by intergovernmental agreement, at others because of the inspiration of those who have urged a federalist agenda.
Since the ending of World War Two, several moves have been made towards unification
in Europe. They have culminated in the creation of the European Union, as a result of the
implementation of the Maastricht Treaty. A union can imply relatively loose cooperation
between member states designed for their mutual advantage or a much closer degree of
unity in which key decisions are made by supranational institutions. The term
‘integration’ refers to the process via which this unification has come about, a process in
which for more than fifty years sovereign states have relinquished or ‘pooled’ some of
their national sovereignty in order to maximise their collective strength. The various
steps along the road to greater unity – economic, military and political – are seen as
moves in the direction of closer integration.
Integration theory refers to the views advanced in a considerable amount of literature
to explain the manner in which the EU has evolved and the factors involved in its
evolution. As we shall see, none of them provides a complete picture. In this chapter, we
examine the main perspectives that writers have adopted, in particular the key division
between intergovernmentalists and supranationalists.
|•||Some writers emphasise the long-standing enterprise of articulating the ‘idea of Europe’. They see the events of the late 1940s as the fulfilment of a dream of European unity which has deep roots. Unity is therefore an expression of, or a search for, a clear identity and a distinctive set of European values. In this view, Europe is seen as the ‘cradle of civilisation’ and postwar cooperation as an attempt to restore the continent to its former importance and glory.|