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Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

13. An End to Enlargement: The EU, its Neighbourhood, and European Order  

Karen E. Smith

Between the period of the end of the Cold War and now, the European Union (EU) has enlarged four times. In 2016, on the eve of the Brexit referendum in the UK, it had a total membership of 28 countries, almost half of which (11 member states) are in Central and South-Eastern Europe. By enlarging, the EU wanted to consolidate the democratic and economic reforms in post-communist countries, and spread security and prosperity eastwards. Its enlargement policy involved an obvious carrot-and-stick policy, to encourage reforms, mainly through the application of membership conditionality. However, 30 or so years on from the end of the Cold War, the potential of EU enlargement to reshape European order is clearly currently in jeopardy: the fragile consensus favouring the enlargement project has become more brittle, and rather than generating a secure and prosperous European order, the EU has found itself surrounded by an ‘arc of crisis’, with wars and atrocities in its ‘backyard’. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is proving to be the most serious threat to European order since the end of the Cold War. The EU will have to adjust to a much more insecure and threatening environment. The EU’s influence in its neighbourhood is tempered not just by Russia, but also by China and Turkey.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

12. The Enlarging European Union  

Anna Michalski

This chapter examines the pervasiveness and importance of enlargement in the history of European integration. It first considers the principles, conditions, and instruments of enlargement before discussing the roles of various institutional actors and the candidate states. It then shows how, faced with the likelihood of large-scale Central and Eastern European accession, the European Union extended the requirements for membership to include the candidate countries' democratic credentials and economic competitiveness. The first enlargement included Britain, Denmark, and Ireland, followed by Greece, Spain, and Portugal, the European Free Trade Association, the Central and Eastern European countries, Cyprus, and Malta. The chapter also explains how the EU has developed a variety of strategies to deal with growing differences among the member states' socio-economic situations and policy needs without formally resorting to a division of its membership in concentric circles, core and peripheral groups, or alternative frameworks.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

11. The European Union, the Soviet Union, and the End of the Cold War  

Jeffrey J. Anderson

This chapter examines the connection between German unification and the economic and monetary union (EMU), with particular emphasis on the relationship between the acceleration of European integration in the late 1980s and the seismic geopolitical shifts in Central and Eastern Europe, culminating in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Following a review of relations between the European Community (EC) and the Soviet Union on the eve of those momentous events, the chapter explains how the rapid integration in Western Europe became intertwined with disintegration in Central and Eastern Europe. It shows that the collapse of the Soviet bloc had a profound impact on the European Union as ten newly-independent Central and Eastern European states clamoured for membership. The chapter concludes with an assessment of EU enlargement in the post-Cold War period.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

11. The institutions of Economic and Monetary Union:  

from the euro crisis to COVID-19

Dermot Hodson

Since 1999, a subset of EU member states—known collectively as the euro area—has delegated exclusive competence for monetary policy to the European Central Bank (ECB), while giving limited powers to the European Commission, ECOFIN, and the Eurogroup in other areas of economic policy. The euro crisis provided the first major test of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), as a sovereign debt crisis spread between member states and threatened to tear the single currency apart. The ECB and two new institutions—the European Stability Mechanism and Euro Summit—helped to keep the euro area together but at significant economic and political cost. EU institutions were better prepared for the initial economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crisis still produced important institutional changes. The COVID-19 recovery fund Next Generation EU gives the Commission and Council a major new role in economic policy, albeit a temporary one for now. The EMU illustrates three key dimensions of EU institutional politics: the tension between intergovernmental versus supranational institutions, leaders versus followers, and legitimacy versus contestation. It also reveals the explanatory power of new institutionalism among other theoretical perspectives.

Chapter

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

7. Economic and Monetary Union  

An Enduring Experiment?

Dermot Hodson

This chapter examines the role of the economic and monetary union (EMU) in the European Union’s macroeconomic policy-making. As of 2015, nineteen members of the euro area have exchanged national currencies for the euro and delegated responsibility for monetary policy and financial supervision to the European Central Bank (ECB). EMU is a high-stakes experiment in new modes of EU policy-making insofar as the governance of the euro area relies on alternatives to the traditional Community method, including policy coordination, intensive transgovernmentalism, and delegation to de novo bodies. The chapter first provides an overview of the origins of the EMU before discussing the launch of the single currency, the sovereign debt crisis, and economic responses to Covid-19. It also considers variations on the Community method, taking into account the ECB and the European Stability Mechanism.