Chapter 1 Suggested approaches to end-of-chapter questions

The establishment and development of the European Union

1. What were the main concerns of the planners of the European Communities after the Second World War? Are the issues relevant to Europe today?

To remove harmful competition between European states and stop the bloodshed of many centuries' wars, to assist post-war recovery, to counter the threat of Soviet domination of Europe, to cooperate so as to compete economically with the US and the then strong emerging economy of Japan were the main concerns.

2. What is meant by the following terms of integration: intergovernmental, supranational, functional integration and federalist?

Intergovernmental pertains to more than one Government. This is the traditional form of international organisations which include the membership of many national states but involving no loss of sovereignty. e.g. the Council of Europe, United nations, EFTA. A veto always remains in the hands of a member state even when a course of action has been decided on.

Supranational involves the transcending of national limits and necessarily involving a loss of sovereignty. There is a handover of power in one or more areas to the supranational controlling institution which exercises power over the areas of national state concern.

Functionalism is a switch of loyalties from state to multi state organisation in particular areas. e.g. agriculture. The political will and power remains essentially in the hands of national governments except in the areas where power has already been handed over. There is no ultimate plan.

Functionalism is also described as neo-functionalism. Neo-functionalism equals functional federalism or creeping federalism. Federalist goals or aims remain but methods hope for spill over of areas. i.e. success breeds success. There is a gradual erosion of areas of sovereignty. This is how the EEC was conceived to give shape over activities. No instant federalism; try to achieve it by functional methods.

Federalism involves the construction of political institutions overseeing integration on many fronts, usually by democratic means, and is otherwise known as con-federalism. e.g. USA, Nigeria, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Canada. They include federal and state governments with appropriate spheres of power.

3. What is the meaning of, and the distinction between, the EU and TFEU?

EU is now the term, following the Lisbon Treaty, the continuing umbrella term to apply to whole EU and its membership of 28 member states. TFEU is basically the new name for the amended EC Treaty but note that the previous pillar structure has been dismantled and shared between the EU and FEU Treaties. See the Introduction to Chapter 1.

4. Why do you think the UK wished to exit the EU in 2016?

This is a vexed question which has multiple possible answers. Most commonly  it was put forwards as motivated by the desire to take back control of the UK’s own borders and to save sending money to Brussels. However the discussion about the desire to exit was heavily fuelled by concerns over immigration. Of course the UK’s trading relation with both the EU and the rest of the world was also a factor. As was the feeling that membership of the EU was no longer working in the best overall interests of the UK. The result was the collective registering of a vote to leave by millions of voters but whether their wishes will be fulfilled remains to be seen.

5. How far can the EU keep expanding and integrating or disintegrating?

This is currently a vexed question as with presently 27 member states the EU is getting close to both its geographic and political potential. Geographically, there are still a few potential states within the more accepted geographic limits of Europe. These include, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, the Balkan states, the Ukraine, Iceland and Turkey because of its foothold in Europe. However, perhaps the public appetite for more expansion is close to exhausted. Presently the countries of Turkey, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are candidate countries, although no dates have been set for membership entry, which could be many years distant. There are two potential candidate countries: Bosnia and Herzogovina, and Kosovo.

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