Theories of European Integration and the Premise of Policy Preference Convergence


Essay, 2015
7 Pages, Grade: 1.7

Excerpt

Structure:

1. Introduction

2. Assessment of theories of integration whether policy preference-convergence is a necessary condition for the process
2.1 Policy-preference-convergence theories
2.2 Non-Policy-preference-convergence theories

3. Conclusion

4. References

1. Introduction

The Treaty of Rome of 1957 “[laid] the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” (Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, 1957: Perambulatory Clauses). This statement hints at the ongoing process of integration, which can be experienced in today’s European Union, where the central institutions have more competences than before the agreement on the Lisbon Treaty. Academic scholarship tried to conceptualize regional and international integration, which is defined as “the voluntary creation of larger political units […]” (Haas, 1971: p.4) with the help of theories. This essay will outline the most important five of them. While some of these theories describe the initial process as a convergence of policy preferences, which culminates in an agreement of centralization, a parity of the theories in this area of social science doesn’t see a convergence as a necessary, nor as a satisfactory condition, inter alia the predominant neofunctionalism. However, all theories agree upon the fact that an interest complementarity is conducive towards integration.

2. Assessment of theories of integration whether policy preference-convergence is a necessary condition for the process

2.1 Policy-preference-convergence theories

Intergovernmentalists are a strong proponent of the claim that integration will only proceed if policy preferences converge among the participating actors. This is manifested in the Lisbon Treaty, where “[…] the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION, hereinafter called "the Union", on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common.” (Consolidated versions of the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, 2012: Art.1)

Milward (2000) asserts that the EU is merely a political and economic base for nation-state’s survival via enabling national governments to satisfy citizens’ demands for security and prosperity and hence ensure their own legitimacy. Under this assumption a further integration only takes place in the case of identical domestic policies and a political consensus. This happened from 1945 to 1968 where national economic development enjoyed priority, as well as in the 1990s where Germany traded their monetary sovereignty for national unification and the rest of Europe achieved a better control over a more powerful Germany. Accordingly, to Wallace (2007) supranational entities are merely intergovernmental ones in disguise.

Functionalism assumes that governments act accordingly to Benthamite utilitarianism, where public welfare maximization is prioritized over the sanctity of nation-states. If certain tasks are accomplished more efficiently on a supranational level, integration is likely (Rosamond, 2000). Balassa (1961) describes five stages of economic integration, which possess forward linkages and constitute a sequence, where the full potential of each particular stage can be only fulfilled by moving to the next stage (see Illustration 1). Cascading policy convergences are assumed, as states are defined as rational actors.

Illustration 1:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In Crowley (2001: p.5)

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Excerpt out of 7 pages

Details

Title
Theories of European Integration and the Premise of Policy Preference Convergence
College
London School of Economics  (European Institute)
Grade
1.7
Author
Year
2015
Pages
7
Catalog Number
V309187
ISBN (eBook)
9783668077164
File size
584 KB
Language
English
Series
Aus der Reihe: e-fellows.net stipendiaten-wissen
Tags
European Studies, Political Economy, Integration Theories, Theories of Integration, LSE, Europe, EU, European affairs
Quote paper
Dominik Hueller (Author), 2015, Theories of European Integration and the Premise of Policy Preference Convergence, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/309187

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