Europäische Integration seit 1990 (German Edition)

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European integration

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  8. Across the EU, we find a lot more diversity than within individual member states. In some states, there are still powerful organized labour interests and corporatist, statist or solidaristic tendencies. So, European integration is not only multilayered, but also pluralistic, reflecting tensions between economic and political interests rather than a coherent neoliberal project.

    Critical integration theory recognizes the primacy of these tensions, rather than reading them off as the secondary consequence of functional, instrumental or capital logics. When we look at political dynamics, we see that there are clearly different political projects that cannot be reduced to and may contradict the idea of a single economic logic. Indeed, some of the political projects that continue to exist today pre-date the current neoliberal agenda by decades.

    Election What Germany’s parties want for Europe | European Council on Foreign Relations

    These older projects draw their legitimacy from a very different vision of Europe and continue to motivate a set of political interests that often stand in the way of a neoliberal agenda. It is decidedly anti -Gramscian to see the integration process as reflecting a clear neoliberal agenda representing only the economic strand, thus downplaying the role of politics, ignoring the causal power of alternative visions of Europe and undermining the idea that such projects are contested.

    Nor does it create adequate space for the role of governance, which, if anything, may well be a more valuable way to understand neoliberalism. If neoliberalism is viewed less as a homogeneous economic doctrine and more as a particular form of governance that rules through an appeal to the discipline of the market, then it is open to challenge from alternative approaches to economic governance in the EU, particularly the French tradition of dirigisme and, more importantly, the German ordoliberal approach, which has been influential in the search for solutions to the Eurozone crisis Bulmer, ; Ryner, Political contestation has been in progress since the French Schuman Plan proposed joint supranational control over coal and steel as a way to assure Franco-German peace.

    The supranational prerequisite excluded the participation of Britain, whose faith in the nation state had been maintained during the Second World War. The long-standing debate as to whether the EU should be supranational or intergovernmental in character continues.

    Each round of constitutional reform or institutional settlement has been of great importance because it has represented an embedded compromise arising from this struggle. However, it has also provided an arena of ongoing contestation until the next settlement. Advocates of supranationalism welcomed the enhancement of decision-making powers for the EP in the Lisbon Treaty. There have been smaller-scale areas of contestation as well, for example, on whether policies should be interventionist, like the original Common Agricultural Policy, or more market-oriented.

    Subplots exist, for instance, in relation to the balance within the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice AFSJ policy between ensuring internal security and protecting liberties, or on the spread of powers across levels of government in debates on subsidiarity. These forms of political contestation have been well captured by Jachtenfuchs et al. Similarly, Marcussen et al. Their explanations are grounded in, respectively, normative-discursive and identity-based interpretations.

    Like constructivist accounts, they discuss contesting views among actors, but struggle to account for the reasons behind such contestation and change. It is telling that Waever : 39 is forced to move beyond a discursive approach in suggesting that change and re-articulations are produced through adjusting to changing internal positions, like the growth in power of certain groups, or in response to external conditions, like the momentum of the EU in the s.

    Having looked at the multiplicity of interests and the usefulness of an approach that recognizes separate political and economic dynamics in complex interaction, we now put this into the context of MLG. Taking a multilayered approach to hegemony means recognizing the specificity of different projects operating at national and subnational levels and examining how these engage with the supranational level and respond to it in positive and negative ways. The fluidity of contestation was demonstrated during the Scottish independence referendum, with the different values and, indeed, attitudes to the EU on display compared to England.

    While hegemonic projects at the national and subnational levels are stronger and easier to develop, the result may be contradictory and conflicting projects across the EU. Thus, integration is best seen in terms of hegemonic contestation rather than as the result of coherent and unified strategies. This position is consistent with a view of the EU as both a site of governance and a terrain for the unfolding of various projects. This argument will be illustrated in the final section.

    For now, two significant points can be identified in relation to the drivers of integration. We wish to emphasize:. The significance of the domestic as reflected in different political strategies, settlements and calculations. Interests are more strongly grounded at the domestic level, as are mechanisms of articulation and legitimation. Integration is driven by elites, but these ought not be reduced to different class or capital fractions.

    To do so ignores the specific political and institutional interests of such groups.

    European Economic Community

    Corresponding to specific political and economic changes, we make the general claim that the complex processes of rescaling in European integration can be linked to two intersecting dynamics, namely:. Despite the significant political and economic divisions already mentioned, these trends have a general resonance across the member states. However, the multilayered character of EU governance means that even though the economic project has a strongly supranational centripetal character, its dependence on implementation by member states introduces centrifugal tendencies.

    The need to nationally embed a supranational project raises two significant challenges that the notion of hegemony is particularly good at highlighting: coordinating hegemony across scales; and reconciling the different political forms that national hegemony takes. It would be normal, therefore, to expect somewhat different projects to exist across the different levels, each with their own political and economic priorities. While this does not make a supranational project impossible, it makes it more difficult to achieve through reconciling different national interests and to maintain across the different levels.

    The existence of different projects at different levels means that supranational projects are emergent insofar as they are dependent on but not reducible to certain fundamental social relations and interests see Ferrera, : — European integration has less embeddedness in domestic social relations than national projects, thus making it much more fragile when fair-weather conditions end, such as has been the case following the financial crisis and, more specifically, for the debtor states in the Eurozone crisis.

    In this section, we seek to offer illustration of how our critical integration theory can shed new light on the current crisis in the EU. We follow our conception of integration as a three-way relationship between underlying macro-structural conditions, agency and EU institutions.


    Agency is most strongly rooted in the member states, reinforcing the important role of domestic politics in integration. By understanding the state of integration as the outcome of trying to balance contested hegemonic projects, we seek to go beyond the rival elitist interpretations of integration offered by neofunctionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism.

    European integration in the post-Maastricht period has been characterized by a number of key features:. It derived from a crisis in public finances in some states, notably, Greece and by contagion Portugal, and from a banking crisis in others, for example, Ireland and Spain.

    When the crisis broke, it led to recognition that the design of EMU was unbalanced because of the lack of fiscal powers to match those for monetary policy. While the acute phase may have passed — although Greece remains on the critical list — a chronic problem of weak economic growth persists. The crisis is also political in character. A deep-seated, slow-moving political crisis of integration has arisen from the decline in public support for integration. Reflected in several rejections by referendum of EU treaties, it found particular expression in the May EP elections, when the advance of Euro-scepticism was especially noticeable even if in several variants of populism.

    The right-wing Front National topped the polls in France.

    Die Europäische Union (EU) erklärt - wissen2go

    We explain post-Maastricht politics, and the continued manifestation of its characteristics during the Eurozone crisis, through conflicting hegemonic projects that are rooted in and legitimated through domestic politics. Arguably dominant is a neoliberal hegemonic project that has seen its advocates certain governments plus business interests pushing for an EU that can be competitive in a global trading and production setting, pushing for liberalization in the single market and EU external trade policy and seeking to limit the EU regulatory burden.

    A second project can be identified as a national-social hegemonic project. The primary motivation of its centre-left and trade union advocates has been the preservation of strong social systems at member-state level, assured through maintaining a more interventionist nation-state role to facilitate domestic redistributive outcomes. Third, a national-conservative hegemonic project brings together political forces resisting further integration, supported by members of society who have lost out from globalization and resist cosmopolitanism and typically also immigration.

    This is especially the case when exploring the Eurozone crisis see later since the discrete thinking of ordoliberalism offers valuable insights into the policy solutions that were advocated. The Maastricht Treaty secured a historic compromise between these projects, as manifested in the context of the special circumstances of the end of the Cold War and German reunification.