Theories Of European Integration Essay

1683 words - 7 pages

The European Union (EU) has ever expanded since its initial origin phases/stages of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951 and the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958 by the Inner Six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands). Since its origins, the EU has integrated a substantial number of member-states to twenty-eight and are currently under the accession process some other countries eagerly waiting to join the European Union’s already large family. Through the years of the EU’s origins until its current state, many theories were developed regarding the European Integration, with the notion and objective to explicate and realize the direction of EU’s “character”, through the European Integration process while also theorizing the estimation of state-relationships of future candidate member-states and the impact on governments under a unilateral joint government –the EU. Theories regarding the European/Regional Integration have often been criticized and/or dismissed due to the EU’s former origin characteristic of Neofunctionalism (Haas 1958; Lindberg 1963) which befitted it at the time, but was later dismissed to the Intergovernmentalist theory (Hoffmann 1964; 1966) as various events unfolded. Time unfolds and many events ensue, which demand change or dismissiveness of theories which were previously considered valid and then outdated; this is why theories about the “character” of the European Integration are still a subject under scrutiny by scholars, as there is no one finite theory to explicate the precise character of EU.
The European Integration process was realized after the signing of the Paris Treaty by the Inner Six countries in 1951, which predicated that their economies and the economies of (potential) subsequent member states would be commonly controlled/managed by all participant states and/or special European Institutions. In order to comprehend the notion behind theorizing the European Integration we must bear in mind how it came in existence. One of the most influential theories, the “functionalist theory”, was devised after the WWII with the notion “how to achieve world peace” at its core which also motivated the creation of the United Nations (UN). The European Federalists on the other hand conceived the aforementioned theory in an entirely different way –the subordination of national governments and the realization of a “head” federal authority over them. Both approaches were thus merged into one theory conceived by Jean Monnet; the “functional-federalism” which in its turn proved to be a well of inspiration for other subsequent theories (Neofunctionalist theory) on European Integration.
Furthermore, the first theoretical attempt with the objective of comprehending the European Integration was labeled “Neofunctionalism”. It is worth mentioning that the aforementioned theory with its implicit criticism on the realist notion of that period, led to the creation of a renowned...

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