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Cover European Integration Theory

12. Litmus Tests for European Integration Theories  

Explaining Crises and Travelling beyond Europe

Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse

This chapter deals with two litmus tests for theories of European integration. The first part asks, how and to what extent various approaches can explain the contemporary crises of European integration. It thereby tackles the question of whether European integration theories might have biased EU scholars towards ignoring evidence for (dis-)integration. While being more optimistic about the state of the Union than many EU scholars are, the authors of this chapter argue for a more differentiated conceptualization of integration as a continuous variable that takes disintegration, rather than stagnation or no integration, as the opposite value of integration. The second part of the chapter examines to what extent European integration theories are able to shed light on experiences with regionalism across the globe. It argues that they do provide plausible accounts for the emergence of regionalism around the world. Comparing regions points to important scope conditions under which European integration theories operate. When it comes to outcomes, however, they need to be complemented by explanations emphasizing diffusion to clarify why and when states are more inclined to pool and delegate sovereignty in some regions than in others.

Chapter

Cover European Integration Theory

13. Taking Stock of Integration Theory  

Antje Wiener

This chapter takes stock of the third edition of European Integration Theory in three steps. First, it offers a comparative perspective on the distinct contributions to the mosaic of integration presented by each chapter. The assessment is framed by three sea-faring metaphors of European integration, and details the insights derived by each of the book’s contributions from addressing the kind of polity, politics, and policy based on the three types of crises (i.e. economic, refugee, and security). Second, the chapter addresses the absence of security crises in the book’s contributions. To reverse that absence, it distinguishes the impact of integration along a horizontal regional comparative dimension and a vertical normative dimension. The former builds on insights from regional integration, the latter connects normative crises in EU sub-units with global conflicts. And third, the chapter addresses the question of how integration theory fares sixty years on from the Treaty of Rome, and points out potential issues and themes for the future of European integration theory.