New Varieties of Capitalism
- New Horizons in European Politics series
Chapter 3: Europe 2020 and the eurozone crisis: a new functionalist era?
For a considerable amount of time the European integration has been determined by processes of interstate bargaining, which made it important to concentrate on the preferences of domestic elites and the underlying differences in the cultures of national political systems, economies and welfare state models. The state-centric paradigm in European integration theory consequently seemed to have won the long-standing debate with the neofunctionalists over defining the drivers of the integration process. Approaches such as Moravcsik's liberal intergovernmentalism in the 1990s, and also more recently social constructivist explanations of the micro-level of interest formation and decision-making processes in the European Union (EU), seemed to reflect the reality of what was actually happening in the EU. The neofunctionalist notion of an increasing spillover of political integration in response to the deepening of economic integration, which would eventually result in a fundamental shift of the loyalties of nation actors towards the supranational institutional level (Haas 1968: 16) seemed to have been overtaken by real events. The first setback for neofunctionalists presented itself in the 1960s and 1970s, when the Treaty of Rome's vision of an ever closer union between the member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) was shattered by the re-emergence of national interests. It culminated in the empty chair crisis of 1965-1966, where France under President Charles de Gaulle essentially withdrew from intergovernmental negotiations in the Council due to disagreements with the other five EEC members on the future path for the Community.
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