Chapters 1 and 2 explored the main concepts and theoretical debates concerning European integration. We argued that traditional integration theories contain important blind spots that account for their inability to explain key developments in the history of the EU and that critical political economy provides a more satisfactory framework for understanding these developments. The chapters that follow analyse in more detail the key institutional developments and initiatives of the last 30 years, beginning in this chapter with the Single European Market (SEM). The creation of the SEM spearheaded a period of major neoliberal transformation in Europe and established the preconditions for the development of the monetary union, which will be explored in the next chapter. Indeed, the period of the 1980s that gave rise to the SEM and then the EMU is often referred to as the ‘extended relaunch’, because it gave new impetus to European integration after the empty chair crisis and the ensuing period of ‘eurosclerosis’ and institutional paralysis that accompanied the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971. This chapter starts out with a descriptive overview of the key diplomatic and institutional events surrounding the relaunch. We then take note of the neo–institutional turn in political science that coincided with the relaunch. Traditional approaches were informed by the neo-institutionalist turn to produce a new generation of theoretical perspectives on the EU: regime-theory – intergovernmentalism, multilevel governance, and constructivism – which promised a way out of the supranationalist–realist impasse.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The Single Market: Consolidating Neoliberalism
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number