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Cover The Member States of the European Union


Simon Bulmer and Christian Lequesne

This chapter focuses on the current state of the EU and the prospects for Europeanization. Resistance to Europeanization exists, yet the EU still exercises continued attraction to states on its periphery that are waiting for the opportunity of EU membership. In reviewing the academic debate on forms of resistance to Europeanization we first explore the literature on EU disintegration, before turning to concrete examples of member state resistance. Prompted by Brexit, as a concrete manifestation of such resistance, we then assess the difficulty for a member state to leave the EU and its sphere of influence completely. Finally, we turn to the state of play with enlargement, also highlighting the impact of Europeanization upon European states outside the EU.


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.


Cover European Union Politics

29. The Future of the EU  

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.


Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

1. Integration and Disintegration before 1945  

Peter Stirk

This chapter examines patterns of national integration and international disintegration in the decades before World War II. It first provides an overview of integration and disintegration before World War I, along with World War I and postwar reconstruction, before discussing the challenge of the New Order envisioned by Adolf Hitler. It argues that national integration was a source of myths that formed an obstacle to the consolidation of incipient European integration. It also shows that economic integration did not lead inexorably to political unification and that visions of empire, central to the history of the major European states, challenged the supposed pre-eminence of the nation state and were bound up, in varying degrees, with some visions of integration. Finally, the chapter explains how integration, often assumed to be a peaceful process in contrast to the violent proclivities of nationalism and the nation state, has not always taken a benign form.