Neofunctionalism is one of the best-known and ‘basic’ theories of European integration. Closely associated with Ernst B. Haas, who developed the notion at the end of the 1950s as part of his Ph.D. research on the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), neofunctionalism is today one of the most commonly referred to theories of European integration, either through counter-arguments attempting to refute it as convincing theory (more often than not) or recognition of its contribution and attempts to broaden its scope (more rarely). Like the conceptual frameworks analysed in Chapter 1, neofunctionalism seeks to establish why states accept the idea of being part of an international or supranational organization. However, it also attempts to go beyond this question by analysing the process leading to regional integration. While functionalism was profoundly anchored in normative thought, espousing conditions designed to bring about a more peaceful and fairer world, neofunctionalist approaches to integration are analytical, seeking to understand the reasons for, processes leading to, and consequences of, regional integration.
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