This substantially updated and revised edition offers a comprehensive overview of the challenges confronting the political system as well as the international politics of the European Union. It draws from a spectrum of regional integration theories to determine what the Union actually is and how it is developing, examining the constitutional politics of the European Union, from the Single European Act to the Treaty of Nice and beyond. The ongoing debate on the future of Europe links together the questions of democracy and legitimacy, competences and rights, and the prospects for European polity-building. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the emerging European polity and the questions that further treaty reform generates for the future of the regional system. The authors also assess the evolving European security architecture; the limits and possibilities of a genuine European foreign, security and defence policy; and the role of the EU in the post-Cold War international system. Common themes involve debates about stability and instability, continuity and change, multipolarity and leadership, co-operation and discord, power capabilities and patterns of behaviour. The book traces the defining features of the ‘new order’ in Europe and incorporates an analysis of the post-September 11th context.

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This chapter takes a look at EU theorising and some methodological issues surrounding the study of the regional process. It studies various theoretical approaches to European integration that were developed during the formative years of the process and up to the late 1970s, and also addresses the difficulty surrounding the issue of defining the regional system and the origins of political unions.

in Theory and reform in the European Union

This chapter examines the latest theoretical trends and the two treaty revisions that occurred during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, introducing the Single European Act and the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which resulted from the treaty revisions, and neofunctionalism, which re-emerged as the leading theory of European integration. The next part studies the state of theorising European integration in the 1990s in relation to the constitutional and political physiognomy of the Maastricht Treaty. The final part of the chapter focuses on the new theoretical approaches, which include the fusion thesis and new institutionalism.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
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Partial offsets and unfinished business

This chapter discusses the revision process of the Maastricht Treaty. It assesses the politics of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 1996/97 and looks at the extent to which the outcome of the revision process – namely the Treaty of Amsterdam – represents a development of the integration process, or if it is merely a combination of state competences. The chapter studies the Final Report of the Reflection Group, which was structured around three dimensions (efficiency, democracy and flexibility). It also discusses the issues of subsidiarity and transparency, the changes made to simplify European Union decisionmaking, the revisions made to the voting mechanisms in the Council and the expansion of Qualified Majority Voting. The chapter furthermore studies the classification of Community Acts, which came from the European Parliament's Institutional Affairs Committee and the Italian government during the IGCs.

in Theory and reform in the European Union

This chapter focuses on the politics of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2000, which led to the signing of the highly debated and controversial Treaty of Nice (NIT), and shows the way the final agreement was reached and the increasing dissonance between larger and smaller EU states during the final steps of the negotiations. It recalls other important issues that were addressed in the IGC, such as the simplification of the Treaties and the hierarchy of Community Acts. The chapter also discusses the views of the Commission and other institutions on the Nice Process, takes note of the changes that were made to the weighting system and the NIT, and studies the concept of enhanced cooperation.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
Order and security in post-Cold War Europe

This chapter discusses the extent to which the change in the international system has created political outcomes that are related to post-Cold War European defence and security, and outlines the definitional features of the ‘new order’ in Europe, including the analysis of the post-11 September 2001 context. It also describes and evaluates the way the security arena of Europe has changed.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
The evolving European security architecture

This chapter discusses the institutions that are considered central in the debate on European security, namely the Union, the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Western European Union. It examines the interrelationship between these institutions, and deals with European integration using the perspective of security and foreign policy. The chapter then addresses the issue of the Union's role in a post-Cold War world, as well as the institutional responses to the geostrategic and geopolitical challenges of system change in the fields of European defence, foreign policy and security. Finally, it studies European ‘security architecture’ and identifies what the Union is in terms of its international behaviour.

in Theory and reform in the European Union
New polity dynamics

This chapter provides a critical summary of the Amsterdam and Nice reforms, reflecting on the Union's post-Nice agenda and the current debate on the future of Europe. It notes that the intense debate that occurred during the period leading up to the Treaty of Amsterdam continued with a publication of the Commission under ‘Agenda 2000’. The chapter also provides the possible prospects for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2004, which are the allocation of competences, simplification of the treaties and the remodelling of the legislature.

in Theory and reform in the European Union