This first lecture deals with the different approaches that can be followed in order to study the European integration. We focus our attention on three different way of studying: 'disciplinary' approach, 'theoretical' approach and finally 'political' approach. The disciplinary approach only sheds light on the various disciplines that can be useful to study the European integration: like political science, international relations, economics, law and so on. As to the theoretical approach, we review the various theories that have been developed by the scholars, going from the classic realist theory to the more social-orientated constructivist theory. The content of this part highlights a number of theories, like, for instance, the liberal inter-governmentalist theory. It makes it possible for us to know the neo-functionalism and the neo-liberal institutionalism. Finally, we can have a look at the 'political' approache, which is different from the theoretical one, and which recovers federalism, inter-governmentalism, the "fusion hypothesis" and the multi-level governance. The particularly interesting parts are the different theoretical approaches that can be used in order to have a better comprehension of the European process of integration. Indeed, I find that some theories, like the constructivist theory or the liberal inter-governmentalist theory or even the federalist theory are really well designed and can be useful. However, I still think that the use of only one theory might be too simplistic and could effect the process of integration. The only way of truly understanding the integration is by mixing different theories in order to be sure that the whole aspect is taken into account. For instance, reading Wendt can really be helpful to understand the constructivist theory but you will have to mix it with the other theories to grasp its complexity.
[...] For instance, the European Parliament has sought, for a long time, to improve its power and independence even if it is not done yet. Besides, the division of the subjects in three pillars do not make it easier for the legislator. Enlarging the area of integration In this lecture we dealt with the enlargement topic in a whole. As a consequence, we talked briefly of the previous enlargements: 1973 with United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark with Greece with Spain and Portugal and the last one in 1995 with Austria, Finland and Sweden. [...]
[...] The interesting point of this session was that we had an overview on the creation of the CFSP: we saw the history of its creation, we had the review of the different organs involved in the CFSP process and so on. However, I would say that a point has been underestimated here. I want to mention of the problem of the sovereignty of, rather, the loss of sovereignty that occurred in the CFSP process. Indeed. I keep thinking that the ability to conduct its own foreign policy is the main attribute of the sovereignty of a State so we can wonder how the States will handle the loss of this decisive attribute. [...]
[...] If they see this common policy as a possible threat to their military hegemony and if they think that the aim of EU is to becoming a major power in order to create a multi-polar world, they will do all that is possible to brake its creation. That is the reason why the opinion of the US on this policy is important. Besides, the other major problem is the decision-making process concerning this policy. How will decisions be taken? We saw with the crisis on Iraq that it is rather difficult for all the member States to agree on an important topic. [...]
[...] In my point of view, every security provider (NATO, EU ) should provide hard security as well as soft security to be totally efficient. For what NATO is concerned it provides hard security to the Baltic region. Indeed, it provides article 5 guarantee and US troops are parked in the region. But it has also some limitations due to its northern member. Thus, Norway and Denmark refuse to accommodate NATO bases on their territory while Sweden and Finland are unaligned States. [...]
[...] It just stated that there should be greater co-operation between states judicial authorities on different subjects. One remarkable outcome of this Summit was the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In conclusion, after all the different Treaties we can say that we can see in EU a new network of co-operation concerning JHA but the basic issues are still in the hand of the national governments (at the noticeable exception of Schengen). The system is as a result very patchy and complicated. [...]
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