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About this book

This best-selling textbook provides a broad-ranging but concise introduction to the EU, covering all major aspects of European integration. The revised and updated new edition takes full account of the political and economic impact of the Eurozone crisis.

Table of Contents

Chapter 3. The Evolution of the EU

Abstract
While the idea of ‘Europe’ has been evolving for centuries, serious efforts to encourage regional integration date back only to the end of the Second World War, when three critical needs came to the fore: economic reconstruction, security in the face of cold war tensions, and efforts to prevent European nationalism spilling over once again into conflict. At the core of political calculations was concern about the traditional hostility between France and Germany, and the belief that if these two states could cooperate it might provide the foundations for broader European integration.
John McCormick

Chapter 5. The EU and its Citizens

Abstract
The Maastricht treaty famously claimed that the goal of European integration was to create ‘an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen’. But critics charge the EU with being an elitist construct, offering ordinary Europeans too few opportunities directly to influence its work, and creating a problem that has been serious enough to earn its own label: the democratic deficit. It sometimes seems as though the work of the EU goes on despite public opinion, which is often confused, increasingly doubtful, and in some cases actively hostile towards integration. But how we rate the EU in terms of its democratic qualities depends on how we define it as a political entity: if it was a federal union, its democratic credentials would be weak, but if we see it as a confederal system, then its procedures are almost everything we would or could expect.
John McCormick

Chapter 7. Economic Policy

Abstract
Economic matters have long dominated the life and work of the EU, at few times more intensely than since the breaking in 2009 of the crisis in the eurozone. The causes and effects of that crisis are deep and complex, involving a mix of design problems inherent in the euro, fallout from the global financial crisis of 2007–10, poor policy decisions by several eurozone states, and a failure by leaders of key EU member states to take decisive action. But so wrenching have been its effects — leading to speculation that the euro might be at risk, and indeed that the entire exercise of European integration might collapse — that economic matters have recently crowded out most others on the EU agenda.
John McCormick

Conclusions

Abstract
Two contradictory forces have been at work in Europe since 1945. On the one hand, there has been a remarkable effort to put the continent’s troubled history behind it, and to create the conditions under which internal conflict and competition might be replaced by perpetual peace and cooperation. Europe has, in that time, enjoyed the longest spell of generalized peace in its recorded history, and has witnessed dramatic overall growth in economic prosperity (short-term downturns notwithstanding), along with active cooperation in almost every significant field of public policy. There are multiple explanations for these changes, including the cold-war role of the United States in providing security guarantees and investment opportunities, a new climate of international cooperation, and the twin effects of globalization and the rise of new technologies. But at the core of the changes has been the impact of European integration; without the opportunities for political, economic and social change offered by the EEC/EU, the history of postwar Europe would have been quite different.
John McCormick
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