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European Union Politics

European Union Politics (7th edn)

Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán
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date: 26 September 2023

29. The Future of the EUlocked

29. The Future of the EUlocked

  • Brigid Laffan


This chapter is structured around four scenarios on the future of the European Union (EU): ‘Disintegration’, ‘Piecemeal Adjustment’, ‘Functional Federalism’, and ‘A European Sovereignty’. The EU is now facing the immense challenges of climate change, the accelerating digital transformation, Europe’s unstable neighborhood and the impact on Europe’s role in the world arising from the return of Great Power competition, all against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The perennial questions about the EU remain—how does it collectively amass sufficient political authority to address Europe’s challenges while maintaining its legitimacy? How can it be resilient as a Union while managing the deep diversity that characterizes Europe? Disintegrative fissures cannot be ignored. Piecemeal Adjustment continues to have resonance, as does Functional Federalism,. ‘A European Sovereignty’ sometimes defined as ‘strategic autonomy’ emerged on the political agenda with the election of French President Macron in May 2017.

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