Friday, May 31, 2013

Continuing the Discussion

I've enjoyed the first set of posts that you've put up as part of our virtual "workshop" on Policy Analysis and the European Union.  I've placed some comments/questions on each of your posts, so be sure to check back to respond to those.  In addition, you should make sure to post some comments and questions of your own on the posts of others as you read through the posts and consider the material that we have covered.

A couple of overarching themes came out of the first set of posts.  As many of you pointed out, the European Union was born out of the combination of a set of ideas concerning European unity and identity on the one hand, and the concrete material realities resulting from WWII on the other.  The European Coal and Steel Community was, quite literally, a step to bind Germany and France together by sharing resources and territory that were/are essential to the state's war-making capacity.  That is a tremendous step in surrendering national sovereignty!  That being said, though, the evolution of the EU suggests that sovereignty might not be a "finite" thing or a 0-sum calculation.  Is it possible that a state's decision to bind itself to the rules and institutions of the EU might enhance or expand its sovereignty?  Can anybody think of any examples?

Another overarching theme had to do with the fact that the EU has, in fact, experienced crises and periods of uncertainty in the past.  Let's think for a moment what the process of crisis and crisis resolution in the past has meant for the EU and the integration project.  What do we think this complex history suggests for the EU as it negotiates the current economic crisis?  Where, specifically, do we see areas of authority and legitimacy shifting in the current crisis?

Feel free to post comments/responses of your own to this post if you'd like.  I look forward to reading all of your comments/questions and to your upcoming posts on discussion topic #2 as we delve into the theories of European integration in more detail.

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