ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay, Masahiro Kawai and Rajat M. Nag
Chapter 9: Managing regional infrastructure: European Union institutional structures and best practices
The European Union (EU) has accumulated much of its power in an ad hoc and pragmatic way. This pragmatism was found in the earliest statements by one of its founders, Jean Monnet, who famously argued that the ‘union between individuals or communities is not natural; it can only be the result of an intellectual process . . . having as a starting point . . . the need for change. Its driving force must be the common interests between individuals or communities’. This ‘neo-functionalist’ thinking prompted the well-known Schuman declaration that ‘Europe . . . will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity’. In the words of Moussis, a long-term observer of European integration, the neo-functionalist assumptions have ‘proved correct by European experience’ (Moussis 2007). This pragmatic way of proceeding has also characterized the distribution of functions in economic integration between different types of actors with different levels of competence and authority. As Molle has argued, ‘neither the optimum mix of union and national measures nor the areas where further integration will be most beneficial can be determined a priori on theoretical grounds’ (Molle 1994: 23).
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