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Chapter

Cover Foundations of European Politics

14. European Politics into the Future  

This chapter explores recent changes in European politics and looks to the future for European democracy as it stands now. The chapter explores the ongoing political change that can be seen within European countries and also at the European Union (EU) level. It aims to highlight four important debates about the state of democracy in Europe. These are: the debates about the rise of political fragmentation and its consequences for democracy; democratic backsliding in central and eastern Europe; the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU on democracy; and the democratic deficit in EU politics.

Book

Cover European Union Politics

Edited by Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

European Union Politics is the most complete and issues-led introductory textbook on the European Union. Alongside rigorous coverage of the theory, institutions, and policies of the EU, the book engages with contemporary debates, and current crises. The seventh edition has been substantially updated, with significantly revised chapters on Brexit and the CJEU, as well as two new chapters covering the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the European migration and refugee crisis. The text’s accessible writing style makes it the ideal starting point for anyone wishing to fully understand the workings of this complex and ever-evolving system. Throughout the book, students are supported by helpful learning features, including key points, questions, and examples.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

1. Introduction  

Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

This chapter comprises a very brief introduction to European Union (EU) politics. It aims to help those students who are completely new to the EU by drawing attention to some general background information and context, which should help to make sense of the chapters that follow. To that end this introductory chapter begins by explaining what the EU is, why it was originally set up, and what the EU does. The chapter ends by explaining how the book is organized.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

5. Germany: A German Europe or a Europeanized Germany?  

Timm Beichelt and Simon Bulmer

This chapter examines Germany’s profile as a European Union member state. It is divided into two parts, looking at EU-Germany relations from both bottom-up and top-down perspectives. The first considers Germany’s increasing influence on the EU, notably during the eurozone and refugee crises. It considers the question of whether Germany has assumed the role of the EU’s hegemon. At the same time the chapter argues that Germany is a very Europeanized member state. It uses the comparative politics paradigm by considering public opinion on Europe, the European dimension of party politics, and the Federal Republic’s major political institutions and their role in European policy. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the two perspectives, seeking a balance between the arguments for a German Europe and a Europeanized Germany.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

1. The European Union and its Member States: An Overview  

Simon Bulmer and Christian Lequesne

This chapter provides an overview of the European Union and its member states. It first explains why the member states matter in the EU before discussing the role of member states in the EU, with particular emphasis on three approaches to understanding member state–EU relations: intergovernmentalism, institutionalism, and governance approaches. It then examines the Europeanization of the member states as well as the revival of domestic politics approaches, which claim that it is impossible to understand the EU in light of its politicization during the 2010s. It concludes by presenting the logic and structure of this volume: how the relationship between the EU and its member states will be portrayed in the chapters that follow.

Book

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

Edited by Dermot Hodson, Uwe Puetter, Sabine Saurugger, and John Peterson

The Institutions of the European Union is the key text for anyone wishing to understand the functions, powers, and composition of the EU’s institutions. Written and edited by a team of leading international experts, the text offers a comprehensive analysis and explanation of all the most important organizations and their roles in the governance and management of the EU. The fifth edition has been substantially revised, featuring a range of newly authored chapters and including coverage of the most important developments affecting the institutions of the European Union as they contend with the changing dynamics of European integration. Up-to-date chapters examine current challenges, including the rise of populism and how it is wielded by politicians to target EU institutions, the climate emergency, and the EU’s bold new policy commitments to make the Union climate neutral by 2050, as well as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authoritative yet accessible, The Institutions of the European Union is the best guide to how institutions work together to provide political direction, manage the European Union, govern policies, and integrate contrasting interests within the EU.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

9. The European Union and the Global Political Economy  

Amy Verdun

This chapter examines the position of the European Union (EU) in the global political economy (GPE). It also highlights key dimensions of change and development, and evaluates the EU’s impact on the operation of the contemporary GPE. It does this by examining key ideas in international political economy (IPE), by relating these to the growth of the EU, and by assessing the EU’s role in the GPE in three areas: European integration itself, the EU’s engagement in the GPE, and the EU’s claims to be a major economic power. The final part of the chapter brings these together with an analysis of global economic governance—in particular, the EU’s role in the financial, multilateral state system with its principles of global governance, and pays some attention to recent crises (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

10. Bulgaria’s Slow Europeanization  

Petia Gueorguieva

The chapter analyses the Bulgarian experience of Europeanization: its achievements, weaknesses, and patterns of convergence with EU norms and rules. The chapter is structured in four parts. First, it offers a brief historical overview of Bulgarian accession to the EU. Secondly, the impact of EU membership on public opinion and political parties is evaluated. The third part presents the impact of EU membership on Bulgarian political institutions and governance. Finally, a brief comparison is offered with the Romanian experience of Europeanization. The underlying argument is that the process of Europeanization has been a slow one.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

6. Theorizing the European Union after Integration Theory  

Ben Rosamond

This chapter deals with recent theoretical work on the European Union. Three broad analytical pathways are discussed: comparative political science; a revitalized international relations (IR); and ‘critical theories’. This chapter discusses in turn the contribution to EU studies of comparative political science in general and new institutionalist political science, and in particular the emergence of social constructivist approaches to the EU, IR’s contribution to the theorization of EU external action, together with approaches from the subfield of international political economy (IPE), and a variety of critical theoretical readings of the EU. The chapter also explores how IR theories might be brought back into EU studies. The purpose of the chapter is to show how the EU still raises significant questions about the nature of authority, statehood, and the organization of the international system. These questions are doubly significant in the present period of crisis, where the issue of ‘disintegration’ comes to the fore.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

23. The EU as a New Political System  

Simon Hix

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the Eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system— the lack of genuine democratic politics.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

11. The European Council and the Council of the European Union  

Jeffrey Lewis

This chapter examines the components that constitute the Council system: the European Council and the Council of the EU. Together, these institutions form the part of the Union that unabashedly represents national interests in the European integration process. The EU Council is a site of intense negotiation, compromise-building, and at times acrimonious disagreement among the member states. The EU Council is not a single body, but a composite of national officials working at different levels of political seniority and policy specialization. From the heads of state and government to the ministers, down to the expert-level fonctionnaires (officials), the EU Council and the European Council embed governments of the EU into a networked club of collective decision-making that penetrates into the national capitals and domestic politics of the member states. In authority, scope, and procedural methods, the Council system represents the most advanced, intensive forum of international cooperation between sovereign nation states in the modern world.

Chapter

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

9. The Budget  

Who Gets What, When, and How?

Brigid Laffan and Johannes Lindner

This chapter examines the European Union’s budgetary procedures with an eye towards elucidating the characteristics of budgetary politics and policy-making. Where EU money comes from, how it is spent, and the processes by which it is distributed are the subjects of intense political bargaining. Budgets matter politically, because money represents the commitment of resources to the provision of public goods and involves political choices across sectors and regions. The chapter first provides a thumbnail sketch of the EU budget before looking at the major players involved in the budgetary process. It then considers budgetary politics over time, focusing on two phases, one dominated by budgetary battles and the other by ordered budgetary decision-making, and shedding light on the EU’s large-scale budgetary response to the Covid-19 pandemic which marks an important step within the evolution of the EU budget. Finally, the chapter also provides an assessment of how the EU manages a larger budget.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

4. ‘France is back’ … in a French Europe  

Olivier Rozenberg

This chapter examines France’s relationship with the European Union by focusing on the heterogeneity of adaptation to the EU. While public policy and legislation became increasingly Europeanized, the EU had a limited impact on political life and the domestic institutional system. This situation changed during the 2010s, as revealed by the 2017 presidential elections and the arrival of President Macron. The chapter considers patterns in France–EU relations before discussing the impact of EU membership on public opinion and political parties. It then looks at the Europeanization of French politics and the impact of EU membership on French institutions as well as public policy. The chapter argues that while domestic politicization is recent, there remains considerable continuity in other aspects of France’s adaptation to the EU.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

8. Sweden: Shedding Exceptionalism in the Face of Europeanization  

Anna Michalski

This chapter examines the adaptations that have occurred in Sweden’s political and administrative system following its admission to the European Union on 1 January 1995. Sweden became a member of the EU on 1 January 1995 after a long period of hesitation. After fifteen years of membership, reticence has given way to a more positive stance, best characterized as pragmatic support. The chapter first considers patterns in Sweden’s membership in the EU before discussing Swedish public opinion towards the EU and the impact of Sweden’s EU membership on the country’s political parties, political institutions, public administration, and sub-national actors such as the civil service. The chapter goes on to explore Sweden’s approach to EU public policy and concludes by comparing its experience with those of other member states, including Austria and Finland.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

15. Citizens and Public Opinion in the European Union  

Simona Guerra and Hans-Jörg Trenz

This chapter provides an overview of trends in public opinion towards the European Union (EU). The chapter also discusses the key factors thought to explain differences in mass opinion regarding the EU. These include political economy and rationality; that is, opinions stemming from calculations about the costs and benefits of the EU; perceptions of the national government (domestic proxies); the influence of political elites; political psychology, including cognitive mobilization (attentiveness to politics) and concerns about the loss of national identity; and, finally, the role of the mass media in driving opinions regarding the EU.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

1. Introduction  

Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, and Richard Corbett

This chapter discusses the practical and analytical reasons for studying the EU. It presents the EU as a complex and innovative political entity, comprising its member states, its institutions, and its citizens. The chapter presents some of the key theoretical and conceptual approaches to understanding how the EU has developed historically and how it works today. Furthermore, it outlines three broad themes that help the reader make sense of the EU: experimentation and change; power sharing and consensus; and scope and capacity. Finally, it provides an overview of the chapters that follow, which cover topics ranging from an historical overview of the EU’s development to its institutional architecture, from its policy-making process to its democratic credentials, from its key internal policies to its growing role as an actor on the global stage.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

2. The European Union in World Politics: An Historical Overview  

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

This chapter provides a structured treatment of the historical context for the mutual entanglement of European integration and the broader development of international relations, bearing in mind the threefold framework set out in the first chapter, namely, European integration as a sub-system of international relations, as part of the general processes of international relations, and as a potential or actual ‘power’ in international relations. The chapter looks at developments up to the end of the 20th century and provides some background to the topics covered in the following chapters. It shows how the European Union’s (EU’s) international role has continuously been shaped by both by the changing international environment and the continuous interaction between politics, economics, and security.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

3. The European Union and Theories of International Relations  

Filippo Andreatta and Lorenzo Zambernardi

This chapter looks at theoretical answers to two major questions arising from the emergence of the European Union (EU) on the world stage. Firstly, what have the causes of European integration been in general, and in the foreign policy field in particular? Taking note of the fact that prevailing schools of international politics assume that states do not easily give up their sovereignty, classical and recent theoretical approaches to International Relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) have struggled to find the motives for integration and incorporate them in their overall frameworks. Secondly, the chapter investigates theoretical interpretations of the consequences of European integration for international relations in Europe and in the wider world. The chapter concludes by focusing on the idea and reality of the EU as a major power in international politics.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

7. Democracy and the Populist Challenge  

Christopher Lord

This chapter starts by asking a key question: how far is populism inside and outside the European Union (EU) a challenge to the EU as an international actor? The chapter argues that the democratic legitimacy of the Union’s external powers and behaviours depend on assumptions about its own internal political order and international order that are especially vulnerable to populism. The chapter highlights four populist threats to democratic politics. It then moves on to talk about the standards of democratic legitimacy that the EU will need to satisfy where it acts internationally. It then argues that the forms of democratic politics threatened by populism are precisely those important to the EU and to the international roles available to it.

Chapter

Cover The Member States of the European Union

11. The United Kingdom: Towards a Parting of the Ways  

Anand Menon and Luigi Scazzieri

This chapter examines the history of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European integration process. The chapter dissects the long-term trends in public opinion and the more contingent, short-term factors that led to the referendum vote to leave the European Union. The UK was a late joiner and therefore unable to shape the early institutional development of the EEC. British political parties and public opinion were always ambiguous about membership and increasingly Eurosceptic from the early 1990s. Yet the UK had a significant impact on the EU’s development, in the development of the single market programme and eastward enlargement. If Brexit goes through, Britain will nevertheless maintain relations with the EU in all policy areas from agriculture to energy and foreign policy. Europeanization will remain a useful theoretical tool to analyse EU–UK relations even if the UK leaves the Union.