Book Review: The European Union and Global Engagement: Institutions, Policies and Challenges by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martinez Arranz, and Pascaline Winand

By Uneke, Okori | International Social Science Review, September 2016 | Go to article overview

Book Review: The European Union and Global Engagement: Institutions, Policies and Challenges by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martinez Arranz, and Pascaline Winand


Uneke, Okori, International Social Science Review


Witzleb, Normann, Alfonso Martinez Arranz, and Pascaline Winand, eds. The European Union and Global Engagement: Institutions, Policies and Challenges. Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2015. xix + 323 pages. Hardcover, $135.00.

The European Union and Global Engagement: Institutions, Policies and Challenges--edited by three Monash University academics: Normann Witzleb (law), Martinez Arranz (environmental/energy policy), and Winand (politics)--is the compilation of eighteen, expert, indepth accounts of the key issues confronting the European Union (EU) today. The book addresses the interplay between the EU's internal developments and global challenges. On the domestic front, many of the analyses are grounded in historical developments that have led to the current situation, namely: the Lisbon Treaty, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), challenges in monetary and fiscal policy, human rights, social policy, as well as environmental and energy policy. The external analyses focus on trade, security, and the EU's relationship to significant world regions, particularly post-communist Eastern Europe, North America, the Asia-Pacific, and Oceania.

The book has three distinct parts: Institutions, Policies, and Global Engagement. Part I discusses the institutional structure of the EU after the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, European legal integration, and the consequences and reactions of the EU following the 2008 global financial crisis. As a backdrop, the origin of the EU is traced to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which aimed to unite member states. The European Economic Community (EEC), stemming from the 1957 Treaty of Rome, created a common market and a customs union for the six original EU members: Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, and West Germany. The EEC members agreed to a demand by France for central planning in agriculture, known as the Common Agricultural Policy, which included price controls and production quotas. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty transformed the EEC into the EU. Thus, from a free-trade and a customs union, the EU has grown into a supranational institution that controls many aspects of the daily lives of citizens of its twenty-eight member states.

The integration achievements of the EU include: a free trade zone, a common agricultural policy, free movement and migration within the EU, and an Office of High Representative (EU Foreign Minister). Shared difficulties involve the sovereign debt crisis (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain--PIGS), and a single monetary policy without strong federal fiscal policy. The latter normally entails a political union that most EU member states are not ready for. By and large, members have relinquished, completely or partially, part of their sovereignty to EU institutions. In some cases, elected public officials at the national level are required to implement decisions made in Brussels; however, migration policy, in particular, has generated growing resentment in the richer countries. Unsurprisingly, the rising support for nationalist parties across Europe and the recent referendum decision in the United Kingdom to leave the EU (Brexit) has raised fears about the future survival of the union.

Part II deals with EU policies, including CAP, human rights, social policy, trade policy, and the integration of environmental and energy policies. …

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