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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: 11 December 2023

p. 272. Federalism and European Integrationlocked

p. 272. Federalism and European Integrationlocked

  • R. Daniel Kelemen


Theories of federalism can provide a set of assumptions, concepts, and arguments that shed light on many aspects of European integration. Applying the federalism perspective opens up EU scholars to a range of relevant comparative cases that provide analytic leverage and insight on the EU. This perspective also enables EU scholars to draw on and contribute to a well-established literature in comparative politics, thus connecting their findings about the EU to broader academic debates. EU scholars have applied theories of federalism to help explain a wide range of questions about European integration, from general questions about why and how the EU came together as a political system to narrow questions about very specific policy areas, to the causes and consequences of the EU’s recent crises. This chapter discusses the main assumptions, concepts, and methodologies in federalism theories of the EU, and explores how this perspective can shed light on the eurozone crisis and the crisis of democratic backsliding among EU member states.

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