The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe
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The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe

Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald

The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe gives insights into past, present and future issues related to the ongoing EU enlargement process. Providing a unique forum for debate and a multiplicity of views and experiences from both high-profile academics and those who engage with enlargement on an implementation level, this book covers a wide range of topics that are key to a successful transition and integration process and thus to the provision of a prosperous growth environment within a larger Europe. Special attention is paid to monetary integration, notably entry into ERM II, on which representatives of the national central banks involved present their views.
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Chapter 23: European integration and finalité politique

Johan Verhaeven


23. European integration and finalité politique Johan Verhaeven1 The concept of political union is hard to pin down: does it mean a traditional state-based model of governance, with strong central institutions and a single external identity, or does it refer to a looser form of common policies and institutions, without necessarily conforming to the characteristics of a nation state? Do we define political union through institutions, policies, the political system? Through the ability to raise taxes and make budgetary transfers? The EU remains, in the words of Jacques Delors, ‘an unidentified political object’. If we define political union in terms of supranational or federal level institutions and integrated policies, the EU has evolved to show several of these features: ● ● ● a federal, directly-elected parliament – the European Parliament (although it shares legislative power with the Council); a federal executive – the European Commission (although the Commission is still far from being a ‘government’, and has to share executive power with member states); a legal order which gives European instruments primacy over national legislation, and a judicial authority resembling a constitutional court to enforce this – the European Court of Justice. In terms of policies, the EU is a hybrid system: the Community (federal) method is applied in some cases, while other issues are dealt with intergovernmentally, although the historical trend has been towards communitarization (Commission initiative; increased use of co-decision; Qualified Majority Voting in Council) of policy areas (Single Act, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, Justice and Home Affairs in the...

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