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European Integration Theory

European Integration Theory (3rd edn)

Antje Wiener, Tanja A. Börzel, and Thomas Risse
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date: 21 July 2024

p. 21611. Normative Political Theory and the European Unionlocked

p. 21611. Normative Political Theory and the European Unionlocked

  • Richard Bellamy
  •  and Joseph Lacey


This chapter highlights the three main positions that have come to dominate the normative debate on the European Union: cosmopolitanism (premised on a social contract between individuals globally), statism (premised on a social contract between states), and, more recently, demoicracy (premised on a social contract between states and all their individual citizens). The main body of the chapter attempts to understand each of these normative perspectives, both as freestanding political theories and as they have been applied to the EU. Proponents of each view maintain that the EU embodies some of the principles that comprise their respective theories, but fall short in other regards. Using each of these three theories to evaluate the European response to the refugee crisis, which peaked in 2015, the authors of this chapter attempt to further illustrate the similarities and differences between them. Final reflections concern directions for future research on political theory and the EU.

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