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Theories of European Integration
The dominant approaches to understanding the early phase of European integration came from international relations (IR). In particular, the study of integration was dominated by the competing approaches of neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism. Although neofunctionalist theory neatly fitted events in the 1950s and early 1960s, subsequent events led to its demise and the rise of intergovernmentalist explanations. While theorizing European integration has moved on significantly from these early approaches, much of what followed was either framed by this debate or developed as a rejection of it. The debate about whether the EU is characterized by intergovernmentalism or supranationalism still informs much of the academic work on the subject.
‘International theory’ has been too readily written off by contemporary writers seeking to offer theoretical treatments of the EU . . . (Rosamond 1999: 19)
The signing of the Treaty of Paris in April 1951 by the governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (Chapter 6, p. 92) began the process commonly referred to as European integration (see Insight 1.1). This process has meant that the economies of participating states, and subsequently other areas, have been increasingly managed in common. Decisions previously taken by national governments alone are now taken together with other governments, and specially created European institutions. Governments have relinquished the sole right to make legislation (national sovereignty) over a range of matters, in favour of joint decision making with other governments (pooled sovereignty). Other tasks have been delegated to European institutions. It was something of a surprise to academic theorists of IR when governments in western Europe began to surrender their national sovereignty in some policy areas. For the ﬁrst half of the twentieth century, the nation state seemed assured of its place as the most important unit of political life in the western world, especially in Europe. As such, the process of European integration constituted a major challenge to existing theories and generated an academic debate about the role of the state in the process. The two competing theories that emerged from IR to dominate the debate over early
1966). superimposed over the pre-existing ones. Lindberg (1963: 149) provided a definition of political integration as a process.1 European Integration European integration has a number of aspects. and (2) the process whereby political actors in several distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their expectations and political activities to a new center. The second part of the definition refers to ‘the patterns of behaviour shown by high policy makers. then at the ideas of the European federalists. Below we look ﬁrst at the functionalist ideas of David Mitrany on how to avoid war between nations. seeking instead to make joint decisions or to delegate the decision-making process to new central organs. developments in European integration were neofunctionalism (Haas 1958. and ﬁnally at the ‘federalfunctionalism’ of Jean Monnet. More cautiously. Implicit in Haas’s definition was the development of a European federal state. The Intellectual Background To understand the ideas that fed into the ﬁrst attempts to theorize European integration. but the main focus of Chapter 1 is on political integration. whereby: political actors in several distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties. it is necessary to consider the intellectual context from which the idea of European integration emerged. The first part of this definition refers to two ‘intimately related’ modes of decision making: sharing and delegating. it is useful to start with one of the approaches that was inﬂuential after the Second World War about how to avoid another war. but without reference to an end point: political integration is (1) the process whereby nations forego the desire and ability to conduct foreign and key domestic policies independently of each other.THEORY Insight 1. Before discussing these two main positions in the debate. which 4 . parliamentarians. whose institutions possess or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states. expectations and political activities toward a new center. interest group leaders and other elites’ (Lindberg 1963: 149). Lindberg 1963) and intergovernmentalism (Hoffmann 1964. who respond to the new reality of a shift in political authority to the centre by reorientating their political activities to the European level. We then turn to look ﬁrst at neofunctionalism and then at intergovernmentalism. civil servants. Ernst Haas (1968: 16) provided a definition of European political integration as a process. This ‘functionalist’ idea. before looking at two later contributions to this debate: liberal intergovernmentalism and supranational governance. The end result of a process of political integration is a new political community.
but the experience 5 . and they would be able to appreciate the advantages of such tasks being performed at the regional or world level. rather than a theory of regional integration. the League had not gone far enough and the same mistake should not be repeated: henceforth. Not only would the dependence of states on these agencies for their day-to-day functioning make it difficult for governments to break with them. believing that this would simply reproduce national rivalries on a larger scale. which in turn provided one important source of intellectual inspiration for the neofunctionalist theory of European integration. Railways would be organized on a continental basis. but spent most of his adult life in Britain and the United States. For those who blamed the failure of the League on its limited powers. say. the national governments would discover that they were enmeshed in a ‘spreading web of international activities and agencies’ (Mitrany 1966: 35). Mitrany gave the example of systems of communication. Mitrany and Functionalism David Mitrany (1888–1974) was born in Romania. the response was the development of an international federation. As more and more areas of control were surrendered. Any political reorganization into separate units must sooner or later produce the same effects. One day. the root cause of war was nationalism. the title of his Fabian pamphlet (Mitrany 1966. and it took a very different approach to the question from the European federalists. each having authority over one speciﬁc area of human life. His concern was with building a Working Peace System. He believed that governments would be prepared to surrender control because they would not feel threatened by the loss of sovereignty over. In other words. He also opposed the creation of regional federations. who wanted to subordinate national governments to an overarching federal authority.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION was particularly associated with the writings of David Mitrany. states would become less capable of independent action. He was not a theorist of European integration. For Mitrany. Instead of either of these possibilities—a world federation or regional federations— Mitrany proposed the creation of a whole series of separate international functional agencies. It was a theory of how to achieve world peace. Mitrany did not agree with the idea of federation as the means of tying states together. health care or the co-ordination of railway timetables. any international system that is to usher in a new world must produce the opposite effect of subduing political division. These international agencies would operate at different levels depending on the function that they were performing. informed the United Nations movement. ﬁrst published 1943). aviation would be organized on a universal basis. His scheme was to take individual technical tasks out of the control of governments and to hand them over to these functional agencies. shipping would be organized on an intercontinental basis. He opposed the idea of a single world government because he believed that it would pose a threat to individual freedom. The ideas of both the functionalists and the federalists were brought together in the ‘functional-federalism’ of Jean Monnet. The failure of the League of Nations to prevent aggression prompted debate about a new type of international system even before the outbreak of the Second World War. nations should be tied more closely together.
and to create a federal constitution for Europe. This ambitious proposal was designed to build on what Milward called ‘the wave of hope for a better world and a changed future for the human race which had swept across Europe’ and which included an ‘extraordinary wave of enthusiasm for European federation’ (Milward 1984: 55). The EUF adopted the Ventotene Manifesto. the national political systems had been re-established. and whereas Mitrany aimed explicitly to depoliticize the process of the transfer of power away from national governments. It was particularly strong in Italy. By that time. socialist. Federalism appealed to the Resistance groups because it proposed superseding nationalism. Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi (1897–1967) produced the Ventotene Manifesto (1941). 6 . 83). Many federalists then turned to the gradualist approach that was successfully embodied in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This would prompt the return of national jealousies and ultimately. p. the classes ‘most privileged under old national systems’ would seek to reconstruct the order of nation states at the end of the war. and what emerged from the Congress was an intergovernmental organization. to renewed war between states. Resistance ﬁghters drawn from communist. It was a speciﬁcally European movement. in countries such as France and Italy it was an ideological war. It urged propaganda and action to bring together the separate national Resistance movements across Europe to push for the creation of a federal European state. It eventually took place in The Hague in May 1948 (see Chapter 5. the Council of Europe. Italian Fascists in Italy. left alone. Spinelli and Federalism A completely different approach to guaranteeing peace was devised during the war in the ranks of the various Resistance movements. While being held as political prisoners of the Fascists on the island of Ventotene.THEORY of the operation of the agencies would also socialize politicians. and began agitating for an international conference to be called that would draw up a federal constitution for Europe. it would only be a matter of time before power returned to the hands of the privileged classes. and the general public into adopting less nationalistic attitudes and outlook. The strategy of the EUF was to exploit the disruption caused by the war to existing political structures in order to make a new start on a radically different basis from the Europe of national states. They aimed to achieve a complete break from the old order of nation states. sovereign states. where the leading ﬁgure was Altiero Spinelli. calling for a ‘European Federation’. it was ‘the great patriotic war’). While these states might appear democratic. The European Union of Federalists (EUF) was formed in December 1946 from the war-time Resistance movements. It is important to bear in mind that whereas in Britain (and Russia) the Second World War was a nationalist war (in the former Soviet Union. not the new federal constitutional order for which the federalists had hoped. the Manifesto called for the abolition of the division of Europe into national. To prevent this development. It argued that. though. federalists sought a clear transfer of political authority. Their Congress took time to organize. and Christian democratic groups were in many cases ﬁghting their own countrymen—Vichy supporters in France. civil servants.
The ﬁrst problem was how to organize Franco–German relations in such a way that another war between the two states would become impossible. Mitrany (1966) described Monnet’s strategy as ‘federal-functionalism’. He aimed. and it was through his experiences in this task that Monnet came to appreciate the economic inadequacy of the European nation state in the modern world. the Netherlands. though. though. To a French mind. He might be seen as a supreme pragmatist who proposed the ECSC as a solution to the very practical problems described above. The second problem facing Monnet was the very practical one of how to ensure adequate supplies of coking coal from the Ruhr for the French steel industry. in addition to taking out of the immediate control of the national governments the most basic raw materials for waging another war. The aim was to extend integration to all aspects of the western European economy—but such a scheme would have been too ambitious to gain acceptance all at once. the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany posed two problems in addition to that of how to create an integrated western European economy. The High Authority was the prototype for the later Commission of the European Economic Community (EEC). This was the High Authority of the ECSC. Monnet was a planner: he showed no great conﬁdence in the free-market system. For Monnet. It was the task of the Planning Commission to guide the post-war reconstruction and modernization of the French economy. to create more than just a common market. which was headed by the technocrat Jean Monnet. which had served France rather badly in the past. There had been a clear indication of this in the failure of previous efforts to integrate the economies of France. but it is generally accepted that it was drawn up within the French Economic Planning Commission (Commissariat du Plan). Coal and steel were only intended as starting points. and in Monnet’s original plan it was the only institution proposed. The idea of pooling Franco-German supplies of coal and steel would tie the two states into a mutual economic dependency. and Luxembourg. He saw the need to create a ‘large and dynamic common market’. The development of other supranational institutions came from other pressures (see Chapter 7). ‘a huge continental market on the European scale’ (Monnet 1962: 205). 7 . which became central to the neofunctionalist theory of European integration. To solve these problems. It is not clear. The pooling of coal and steel production would provide the basis for economic development as a ﬁrst step towards a ‘federation of Europe’. Belgium. There was also a new factor in the equation. Monnet adopted a solution similar to that of Mitrany: remove control of the strategically crucial industries—coal and steel—from the governments and put it in the hands of a free-standing agency.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION Monnet and Functional-Federalism The plan for the ECSC was known as the Schuman Plan because it was made public by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. Stimulating the expansion of those industries for peaceful purposes would provide an economic alternative to producing war materials for those regions of Europe that had been largely dependent on providing military material. this meant how to control Germany. He placed his faith in the development of supranational institutions as the basis for building a genuine economic community that would adopt common economic policies and rational planning procedures. how far Monnet was a federalist at all. Italy. the key factor prompting Monnet’s plan: the emergence in 1949 of a West German state.
it anticipated later writings on global interdependence (Keohane and Nye 1977). and Philippe Schmitter (1970). (3) Non-state actors are important in international politics. it would be possible to make predictions about government behaviour in IR. p. In the concepts that it used. merge and mix with their neighbours so as to lose the factual attributes of sovereignty while acquiring new techniques for resolving conﬂict between themselves’ (Haas 1970: 610). neofunctionalism appeared to be winning the theoretical debate. There were four key parts to the neofunctionalist argument. 1966). (2) The activities of interest groups and bureaucratic actors are not conﬁned to the domestic political arena. it was often assumed that these pressures constituted the complete explanation for government decisions. In contrast to realists. Neofunctionalism was the name given to the ﬁrst theoretical attempt to understand European integration. In addition to Haas. the main ﬁgures in this school of analysis were Leon Lindberg (1963. if the analyst could identify the strength and direction of the various pressures accurately. In the ﬁrst period of European integration. Neofunctionalism was a pluralist theory of international politics. (1) The concept of the ‘state’ is more complex than realists suggested. The appearance of the European Community (EC) therefore provided fertile ground for those who wished to develop a critique of this dominant approach.1. neofunctionalists argued that the international activities of states were the outcome of a pluralistic political process in which government decisions were inﬂuenced by pressures from various interest groups and bureaucratic actors. which became known as intergovernmentalism. but the central issues of dispute remain much the same today as they were in the 1950s. a body of theorizing about European integration known as neofunctionalism was built up in the writings of a group of US academics (see Insight 1. Its implied critique of realism led to a counter-theory from within a broadly state-centred perspective.THEORY International Relations Theories of European Integration Realism was the dominant approach in IR in the 1950s. So. as follows. It assumed that sovereign states formed the fundamental units of analysis for understanding IR. 8 . These theorists drew on the work of Mitrany and Monnet in particular. Neofunctionalism sought to explain ‘how and why they (states) voluntarily mingle. In contrast to the more traditional realist theories. nor did it assume that states were the only actors on the international stage. The debate between these two broad positions has evolved over time. In common with the general tenor of US political science at the time. Neofunctionalism Starting with the analysis of the ECSC by Ernst Haas (1958). it did not assume that a state was a single uniﬁed actor. (4) European integration is advanced through ‘spillover’ pressures. 4).
Technical pressures would prompt integration in those related sectors. and departments of state to forge links with their counterparts in other states. Otherwise. neofunctionalists expected nationally based interest groups to make contact with similar groups in other countries (transnationalism). the European Commission was the most important non-state international actor. the neofunctionalists added the idea of political spillover. which focused exclusively on the international role of states. even where governments might be reluctant. if a joint attempt were made to increase coal production across member states. once national governments took the initial steps towards integration. Neofunctionalists used the concept of spillover to explain how. implying the development of overall plans for industrial output across member states. Two types of spillover were important to early neofunctionalist writers: functional and political. and the integration of one sector would only work if other functionally related sectors were also integrated. To this technical logic of functional spillover. the process took on a life of its own and swept governments along further than they anticipated going. The notion of ‘cultivated spillover’ was added by later theorists to explain the part played by the Commission in fostering integration (Tranholm-Mikkelsen 1991) and the concept of ‘exogenous spillover’ added to explain enlargement (Niemann 2006). the interest groups operating in that sector would have to exert pressure at the supranational level. and set perhaps more store by this than by functional spillover in explaining the process of integration. it would prove necessary to bring other forms of energy into the scheme. As Lindberg (1963: 10) put it: In its most general formulation. it was not possible to isolate one sector from others. and so forth. creates a situation in which the original goal can be assured only by taking further actions. on the organization charged 9 . Neofunctionalists pointed to the activities of multinational corporations to illustrate their argument that non-state actors are important in international politics. For example. ‘spillover’ refers to a situation in which a given action. unregulated by their respective foreign offices (transgovernmentalism). a switch by one member state away from coal towards a reliance on oil or nuclear fuels would throw out all of the calculations for coal production.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION Using the concepts that were later called ‘transnationalism’ and ‘transgovernmentalism’ (Keohane and Nye 1977: 129–30). for neofunctionalists. However. related to a speciﬁc goal. Political spillover involved the build-up of political pressures in favour of further integration within the states involved. This contrasted with realist explanations of IR. neofunctionalists argued that if member states integrated one functional sector of their economies. The Commission was believed to be in a unique position to manipulate both domestic and international pressures on national governments to advance the process of European integration. Following this understanding. In addition. Functional spillover argued that modern industrial economies were made up of interconnected parts. As such. the interconnectedness between this sector and others would lead to a ‘spillover’ into other sectors. which in turn create a further condition and a need for more action. any effective planning of the total energy supply would involve gathering data about future total demand. Once one sector of the economy was integrated.
which was known as cultivated spillover because it involved the Commission cultivating the contacts and the pressure on governments. these interest groups would become advocates of further integration and would lobby their governments to this end. Relevant trade unions and consumer groups would follow suit. In addition. This was the third type of spillover. they would form a barrier themselves against governments retreating from the level of integration that had already been achieved. but instead requires territorial expansion (see also Niemann and Schmitter 2009: 62). More recently. given that these were produced before the ﬁrst enlargement in 1973 (see Chapter 10). (Haas 1966: xxxiv) 10 Neofunctionalists looked for spillover pressures to be encouraged and manipulated by the Commission. they would also come to understand the barriers that prevented these beneﬁts from being fully realized. the main contributions to neofunctionalism paid little attention to enlargement—understandably. Events in the 1960s were less supportive. As the main barrier would be that integration in one sector could not be effective without the integration of other sectors. This was important because such a retreat would be the one alternative way in which pressures caused by functional spillover could be resolved. the High Authority. in particular to draw attention to the external effects of integration on Britain. Further. willing and able to adjust their aspirations by turning to supranational means when this course appears proﬁtable. particularly in explaining the transition from the ECSC to the European Community (EC). For Haas. At the same time. It was argued that once these interest groups had switched the focus of their activity to the European level. governments would come under pressure from other interest groups who would see the advantages accruing to their counterparts in the integrated sector and realize that they could proﬁt similarly if their sectors of the economy were also integrated. While Haas (1958) mentioned the concept of ‘geographical spillover’. who were another group of potential allies against national governments (Tranholm-Mikkelsen 1991). they would rapidly come to appreciate the beneﬁts available to them as a result of the integration of their sector. In the 1950s.THEORY with running their sector. the process of community formation is dominated by nationally constituted groups with speciﬁc interests and aims. the driving force of political integration was the calculated self-interest of political elites: The ‘good Europeans’ are not the main creators of the regional community that is growing up. It was expected both to foster the emergence of EC-wide pressure groups and to cultivate contacts behind the scenes with national interest groups and with bureaucrats in the civil services of the member states. The beginning of the end for neofunctionalist theory in its original manifestation came in the early 1960s and in particular the use of the veto by . So the creation of the ECSC would lead to the representatives of the coal and steel industries in all of the member states switching at least a part of their political lobbying from national governments to the new supranational agency. neofunctionalist theory neatly ﬁtted events. Niemann (2006) has argued that neofunctionalism does provide tools for understanding this process: integration leads to some contradictions and demands that cannot be satisfactorily resolved by increasing the intensity or policy scope of integration.
and implicitly assumed that the international background conditions would remain ﬁxed. 1966). Hoffmann claimed the neofunctionalist argument was based on ‘false arithmetic’ that assumed that the power of each elite group (including national governments) was approximately equal. he argued that government decisions could not be understood simply as a response to pressure from organized interests.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION de Gaulle. In addition. there were three parts to Hoffmann’s criticism of neofunctionalism. National governments had power and were clearly prepared to use it to determine the nature and pace of integration: By 1967 Haas was already attempting to cope with the possibility that De Gaulle had ‘killed the Common Market’ by revising his theory to account for the prospect of ‘disintegration’. or more accurately. Hoffmann’s intergovernmentalist position was more sophisticated than that of realists in this respect. Regional integration was only one aspect of the development of the global international system. This argument drew heavily on realist assumptions about the role of states. (Caporaso and Keeler 1995: 36–7) Intergovernmentalism In response to the neofunctionalist analysis of European integration. (3) Although. so that if the governments were outnumbered they would lose. the governments of states in IR. pp. However. (1) European integration had to be viewed in a global context. the integration process would not spread to areas of ‘high politics’ such as national security and defence. where ‘national interests’ coincided. This criticism became particularly relevant in the light of changes in the global economic situation in the early 1970s. leading to the ‘empty chair’ crisis of 1965–66 (see Chapter 9. These political calculations were driven by domestic concerns. 11 . political calculations led governments to take positions to which powerful groups were hostile (Hoffmann 1964: 93). but that. Essentially. Hoffmann rejected the neofunctionalist view that governments would ultimately be overwhelmed by pressures from elite interest groups to integrate. and his political awareness was also greater than that of the neofunctionalist writers. particularly in relation to the impact of integrative decisions on the national economy and on the electoral implications for the governing party. his argument departed from classical realism. The neofunctionalists predicted an inexorable progress to further integration— but this was all predicated on an internal dynamic. in which states were treated as uniﬁed rational actors. who tended to adopt a rather simpliﬁed pluralist view of political processes. with little importance attached to domestic politics. often. and by 1975 he was announcing the ‘obsolescence of regional integration theory’. governments might accept closer integration in the technical functional sectors. a counter-argument was put forward by Stanley Hoffmann (1964. 128–9). (2) National governments were uniquely powerful actors in the process of European integration: they controlled the nature and pace of integration guided by their concern to protect and promote the ‘national interest’.
He recognized that in the ‘low-politics’ sectors (for example. Instead of reviving neofunctionalism. where the power of supranational institutions increased. In particular. Liberal Intergovernmentalism Building on Hoffmann’s work. In Hoffmann’s picture of the process of European integration. as follows. Like Hoffmann. He identiﬁed three such self-criticisms (Moravcsik 1993: 478–80). but their governments were constrained by the position of the state in the world system. (1) Theories of European integration had to be supplemented (or even supplanted) by more general theories of national responses to international interdependence. Moravcsik started from a critique of neofunctionalism. He believed that all of the points could be accounted for if the analysis of the EC was rolled into what he called ‘current theories of international political economy’ (Moravcsik 1993: 480). governments had much more autonomy than in the neofunctionalist view. they were not the only inﬂuence. stressed the external limitations on autonomy: states were seen as independent actors. However. because they had political legitimacy as the only democratically elected actors in the integration process. 12 . Hoffmann also pointed to the fact that European integration was only one aspect of the development of international politics. but he put more weight on a theoretical critique. Moravcsik argued that these criticisms should be taken seriously. (2) The development of common policy responses needed to be looked at as much as did institutional transfers of competence. and a theory constructed that took account of them. The governments of states were said to be uniquely powerful for two reasons: ﬁrst. as he pointed out. like the realists. The integration process therefore remained essentially intergovernmental: it would go only as far as the governments were prepared to allow it to go. social and regional policy) interest groups did inﬂuence the actions of governments—but. Hoffmann. In this respect. it did so because governments believed it to be in their national interest. (3) Unicausal theories were inadequate to deal with the phenomenon under consideration. In this view. more than one theory was needed to grasp the complexity of EC policy making. and second. the emphasis on formal transfers of authority to the EC often concealed a failure to effect a real surrender of sovereignty. he considered national governments to be the ultimate arbiters of key decisions.THEORY Hoffmann acknowledged that actors other than national governments played a role in the process of integration. However. he argued that the self-criticisms of the neofunctionalists themselves had to be taken seriously. That insight led to a more restrictive view of government autonomy. Other inﬂuences included government officials (particularly on economic matters) and also the electoral considerations of the party or parties in office (Hoffmann 1964: 89). Andrew Moravcsik (1993) developed a subsequent version of the intergovernmental explanation of the integration process. because they possessed legal sovereignty. He restated the argument that neofunctionalism failed to explain developments in the EC itself.
(3) The outcomes of negotiations reﬂected the relative bargaining power of the states. the delegation of decision-making authority to supranational institutions reﬂected the wish of governments to ensure that the commitments of all parties to the agreement would be carried through rather than federalist ideology or a belief in the inherent efficiency of international organizations. 13 . like that of Hoffmann. assumed that states were rational actors. Instead it was assumed that the governments of states were playing what Putnam (1988) called ‘two-level games’. The ﬁrst stage was to reach agreement on the common policy response to the problem that governments were trying to solve. The analytical framework of liberal intergovernmentalism was applied by Moravcsik (1998) to ﬁve key episodes in the construction of the EU: • the negotiation of the Treaties of Rome (1955–58). Caporaso 1999: 162. A domestic political process determined their deﬁnition of the national interest. The second stage was to reach agreement on the appropriate institutional arrangements. Moravcsik came to the following conclusions. On the basis of these case studies. Forster 1998: 357–9. but departed from traditional realism in not treating the state as a black box. • the setting up of the ﬁrst experiment in monetary co-operation and of the European Monetary System (EMS) (1969–83). This approach built on the undeveloped argument of Hoffmann about the role of domestic politics. (1) The major choices in favour of Europe were a reﬂection of the preferences of national governments. Wallace 1999: 156–7). • the negotiation of the Single European Act (SEA) (1984–88). • the negotiation of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) (1988–91). rather than the political biases of politicians or national strategic security concerns. • the consolidation of the common market and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (1958–83). (2) These national preferences reﬂected the balance of economic interests. The second part of the analysis was to see how conﬂicting national interests were reconciled in the negotiating forum of the Council of Ministers. Moravcsik’s ‘liberal’ view of domestic politics was that the primary determinant of the preferences of a government was the balance between economic interests within the domestic arena—a narrow conception of domestic political process that has been frequently criticized (for example.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION Moravcsik’s approach. not of the preferences of supranational organizations. Moravcsik (1998: 21–2) gave the example of monetary union: it would be impractical to try to understand the negotiations over the constitution of a European Central Bank without ﬁrst understanding the objectives that the bank was being set up to achieve. This constituted the ﬁrst part of the analysis and determined the position that governments took with them into the international negotiation. This process was divided into two logically sequential stages. see Wincott 1995: 601. but in some ways it was less sophisticated in its account of domestic politics than Hoffmann’s.
why shouldn’t economic concerns have shaped the negotiating positions of governments? And since only decisions requiring unanimous agreement are being analysed. 22–7). the picture might be very different. the authors meant the unintended effects on one country of policies being followed in another country. Sandholtz and Stone Sweet 1998. it was also suggested that ‘the theory applies far more broadly than is commonly supposed. Fundamental to the approach was the argument that if the EU was to be analysed as an international regime. Supranational governance was an approach that drew on the transactionalism of Karl Deutsch (1953. which were said to have ‘small kernels’ of theoretical truth. and Fligstein 2001). and a focus on European rule making to resolve what they called ‘international policy externalities’. then it had to be seen not as a single regime but as a series of regimes for different policy sectors. pp. why shouldn’t the outcomes be affected by the relative bargaining powers of the governments involved? The alternative would have been to look at the smaller-scale day-to-day decisions that constitute the bulk of the decisions made within the EU. 14 . he was criticized for his choice of case studies.THEORY However. why shouldn’t the preferences of national governments have shaped the outcomes? Since all case studies have issues of economic integration as their focus. including much everyday EU decision-making’ (Moravcsik and Schimmelfennig 2009: 74). The three key elements in their approach were the development of transnational society. such as the pollution of the air in one country by smoke from factories in a neighbouring country. as Moravcsik insisted it could be. Stone Sweet. Supranational Governance Starting from the intergovernmentalism versus supranationalism debate. A more recent contribution on liberal intergovernmentalism (LI) (Moravcsik and Schimmelfennig 2009) provided a response to criticisms. The authors therefore sought to explain the different levels of supranationalism that existed in different policy sectors. We look at some of these arguments later in the book (Chapters 20–22). Thus. By this last phrase. while it was accepted that LI ‘works best when decision-making is taking place in decentralized settings under a unanimity requirement rather than in settings of delegated or pooled sovereignty under more complex and nuanced decision rules’. and national preferences might be less clearly deﬁned and less vigorously defended. although the authors themselves located the origins of their approach in neofunctionalism. but be generally ‘overstated’. the role of supranational organizations with meaningful autonomous capacity to pursue integrative agendas. As Scharpf (1999a: 165) put it: Since only intergovernmental negotiations are being considered. Further. a team of scholars claimed to offer an alternative that cut through the dichotomy (Sweet Stone and Sandholtz 1997. Supranational actors might have more inﬂuence. Sandholtz. Here. 1957) and on new institutionalism as applied to the EU (Chapter 2. while Moravcsik and Schimmelfennig (2009) acknowledged that economic issues are not always predominant. they suggested that to read Moravcsik’s earlier work as arguing this was to misunderstand it.
who were also nationally based and who had a guaranteed market from the PTTs. this would impose additional costs on their activity. To avoid this situation of ‘multiple jeopardy’. Gradually. As they increased. so a supranational society of relevant actors would emerge. telegraph. 15 . and the suppliers of switching equipment.3). the nationalized post. Stone Sweet and Sandholtz argued that the consolidation of the supranational regime would Insight 1. which had liberalized its own telecommunications market and wished to extend liberalization to the other national EC markets. we would expect to see considerable support from large companies for the transfer of merger approval to the supranational level. A good example here is merger control (Insight 1. Sandholtz (1998) showed how the domination of the sector by these national policy communities came to be challenged by a coalition of users of telecommunications who demanded cheaper and more technically advanced services than were provided by the PTTs. and telephone companies (PTTs). Stone Sweet and Sandholtz (1997) argued that transactions across national boundaries were increasing. allying with the Commission and with the British government. To do so. they might have to get the approval not only of national monopoly and merger authorities in their two states of origin. Once the initial step is taken in the Europeanization of a policy sector. the pressure from this coalition eroded the hold of the PTTs on the policy preferences of national governments and opened a window of opportunity for the Commission to get proposals through the Council of Ministers for opening up national markets to competition. These users formed a supranational coalition for change. If companies that operated across national boundaries were to have to comply with different rules in every member state. Another example of what the authors call the emergence of supranational society is provided by the case of the emergence of a supranational telecommunications regime (Insight 1. Insight 1. and this is what has actually happened (Cini and McGowan 1998). but also in all of those states where either company or both combined had a significant proportion of the relevant market. The construction of rules at the supranational level would result in the ‘Europeanization’ of a sector: that is. giving them a one-stop approval procedure to negotiate. the sector was dominated by national monopoly suppliers.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION Following Deutsch. the officials in the relevant national ministries. These actors would favour the construction of rules to govern their interactions at the supranational level because nationally based rules would be a hindrance to them. These national suppliers formed parts of policy communities consisting of the PTTs. the regulation of the sector would be at the EU level.3 Supranational Governance 2: The Emergence of Supranational Society—Telecommunications In the 1980s.2).2 Supranational Governance 1: The Emergence of Supranational Society—Merger Control Two companies in the same sector operating across national borders might decide to merge so as to rationalize their operations and reduce their costs.
CFSP was a form of European integration that did not involve supranational governance. Branch and Øhrgaard also argued that both Moravcsik and Stone Sweet and Sandholtz equally made the mistake of treating evidence of inﬂuence on policy decisions by supranational actors as necessary and sufficient evidence of supranational integration. In ﬁelds such as social policy. A further criticism of Stone Sweet and Sandholtz’s approach is that the framework of analysis ignored the wider context within which the process of ‘Europeanization’ takes place. They further argued that European integration could not simply be equated with the inﬂuence of supranational actors. He therefore concentrated on episodes. which were highly likely to demonstrate the value of these concepts. but had instead offered a mirror image of Moravcsik’s liberal intergovernmentalism. and at the same time. and to the operation of supranational rules of governance. They therefore concentrated on routine decision making in policy sectors that were concerned with economics and trade. Sandholtz. This pointed to the same process as in the historical institutionalist concept of path dependence (see Chapter 2). modify them. which would be tighter (and more precise) than the previous constraints. with a seminal analysis of the emergence of the single market (Sandholtz and Zysman 1989) that put particular stress on the wider context of global capitalism in explaining the emergence of the policy. and would simultaneously become more difficult to modify in any different direction. In particular. The actors would then face a different set of constraints. This criticism points to an omission that is curious given the association of one of the authors. which were highly likely to demonstrate the value of these concepts. 396–7). so they would tend to develop away from the original intentions of the member states. academic experts agreed that the process involved much more than just diplomatic consultation. In the ﬁeld of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) (see Chapter 33). These clariﬁcations would not only establish the precise meaning of rules. In the empirical studies contained in the book that they . They would seek clariﬁcation from the adjudicators—administrators and courts. the grand bargains. In contrast. As rules became more precise. and evidence of decisions remaining in the hands of national governments as necessary and sufficient evidence of intergovernmentalism. they argued that both theories privileged certain types of actor. Branch and Øhrgaard argued that not all European integration was driven forward by transnational and supranational actors. the process had been driven by national governments anxious to correct for the effects of the economic integration that had been driven by transnational and supranational actors. Actors working within the new framework of European rules would start to test the limits of those rules. although the mechanisms remained intergovernmental and the formal power of the supranational institutions remained limited. Branch and Øhrgaard (1999) argued that Stone Sweet and Sandholtz had not succeeded in escaping the intergovernmental–supranational dichotomy. Moravcsik gave a privileged role in his theoretical framework to national actors and intergovernmental bargains. and the actors would adjust their behaviour accordingly. but would also.THEORY 16 proceed through the emergence of European rules. and therefore certain types of decision. On the other side of the mirror. Stone Sweet and Sandholtz gave a privileged role to transnational business actors and supranational actors. This study is examined in Chapter 27 (see pp. and that both theories classiﬁed actors as either intergovernmental or supranational in a way that ensured that they would oversimplify the complexity of the nature of the EU. According to Branch and Øhrgaard.
expressed in public opinion and mobilized by political parties. but they remain in control of the process. However. and led to intense pressure from the US government for the European market to be opened to entry by US telecommunication providers (Dang-Nguyen et al. Fuchs 1994). In intergovernmental perspectives. which both put European-based companies who were consumers of telecommunications at a disadvantage in comparison with their US competitors. A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration The most recent signiﬁcant contribution to this debate comes from authors closely associated with the concept of multi-level governance. Related concepts such as federalism linked to this debate have been present throughout and emerged again prominently in debates on the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty that replaced it (Chapters 17 and 18). Understanding the nature of the EU. This intergovernmental–supranational debate forms the first of the themes that recur throughout this book. Community and self governance. Instead. Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks (2008) emphasized the importance of identity in the process of European integration. which has strong antecedents in neofunctionalism (see Chapter 2). They shared with intergovernmentalists and neofunctionalists the view that European integration is triggered by a mismatch between efficiency and existing structures of authority. they suggested that political conﬂict is a crucial part of the explanation and that communal identities are central to this conﬂict. are important topics of political debate in the member states and beyond. These questions are of more than just academic interest. The alternative perspective suggests that although governments started the process. and the direction in which the process of integration is heading. For example. Central to this continuing debate is the nature and role of the state executives in the development of the EU. Some constraints operate on the autonomy of national governments. This inadequacy in the analysis reﬂected the inadequacy in the theory. regime outcomes are another. 1993. there is some irony in how explanations of 17 .THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION edited (Sandholtz and Stone Sweet 1998). the inﬂuence of the wider capitalist system did not emerge very clearly. integration soon took on a life of its own that went beyond the control of the governments. lie at the heart of jurisdictional design (Hooghe and Marks 2008: 23) CONCLUSION Essentially the same ‘intergovernmental–supranational debate’ about the process of European integration has been going on since the very early stages of the process. They argued that: Functional pressures are one thing. Sandholtz (1998) explained the emergence of the supranational European society in the telecommunications sector without referring to the deregulation of US telecommunications. European integration is a process whereby the governments of states voluntarily enter into agreements to work together to solve common problems. theorizing needs to move beyond the intergovernmentalist–neofunctionalist preoccupation with economic interests. Thus. but differed from them in believing that the outcome of this process will reﬂect functional pressures.
• Mitrany argued that world government would limit freedom. It also removed strategic industries from German control and ensured adequate supplies of coal for the French steel industry: both were concerns for Monnet. theorizing about the EU has in many ways moved beyond the intergovernmental–supranational dichotomy. the first European integration theorists posed a direct challenge to realist assumptions. the influence of supranational institutions—remain prominent in other approaches to the EU. who believed the European nation state was inadequate as an economic unit in the modern world and argued for a Europe-wide economy. International Relations Theories of European Integration • IR theory in the 1950s was dominated by realism. but that national interests are determined through a pluralistic process in which governments interact with organized interests.THEORY the process of integration have been used. • Neofunctionalism suggested that European integration was a process that. but influenced later integration theorists. Organized interests were also seen to be important transnational actors. this was an intergovernmental body that fell far short of federalist aspirations. While. • The pooling of coal and steel resources was the first step towards a Europe-wide economic zone. the head of the French Economic Planning Commission. national political elites were re-established in European states. this debate continues to inform research. who echo Hoffmann and Moravcsik in reassuring hesitant European public opinion that the governments of states remain in charge: that sovereignty is only ‘pooled’. This theory treated nation states as the fundamental units of IR. would undermine the sovereignty of states beyond the expectations of governments. as will be discussed in subsequent chapters. neofunctionalist ideas were eagerly embraced by members of the Commission as a blueprint for constructing a united Europe. who advocated a ‘constitutional break’ at the end of the war to supersede the system of sovereign states with a federal constitution for Europe. 18 . Today. not lost. • By the time the Congress aimed at adopting this new constitution had been arranged. once started. • The Schuman Plan for the ECSC was devised by Jean Monnet. KEY POINTS The Intellectual Background • David Mitrany was not a theorist of European integration. opponents of further integration implicitly invoke the neofunctionalist idea that the process is no longer under control and threatens national identity. the role of organized interests. As such. a number of the debate’s key themes—state power. In the 1950s and 1960s. Conversely. and that regional federations would reproduce on a larger scale the conditions that produced wars between states. The leading intellectual figure was Altiero Spinelli. intergovernmentalist arguments are more likely to be voiced by the advocates of further steps. While the (Hague) Congress did produce the Council of Europe. • Neofunctionalism argued that states are not unified actors. • European federalism attracted strong support among Resistance groups in war-time Europe. It did not lead to any expectation that governments would voluntarily surrender their sovereign control over policy. Moreover. He sought to prevent war between states by taking routine functional tasks out of the hands of national governments and giving them over to international agencies.
• Hoffmann’s intergovernmentalism argued that neofunctionalists had made three mistakes: regional integration was not a self-contained process. The Political Dynamics of European Economic Integration (Stanford. • Moravcsik proposed a two-level analysis of EU bargaining. Lindberg. • Moravcsik’s liberal intergovernmentalism incorporated the neofunctionalist insight that national interests are defined as part of a domestic pluralist political process. Stone Sweet and Sandholtz argued that the EU should be studied not as one international regime. governments were uniquely powerful actors because they possessed formal sovereignty and democratic legitimacy. FURTHER READING The key texts on the early development of neofunctionalist theory are: E. Millennium. 20 (1991): 1–22. a further development of neofunctionalism 19 . 2nd edn (Stanford. 1963). Daedalus. the main early contributions are: S. political spillover. ‘Obstinate or Obsolete? The Fate of the Nation State and the Case of Western Europe’. Tranholm-Mikkelsen. but as a series of regimes for different policy sectors. and L. expanded. Hoffmann. • Branch and Øhrgaard argued that this approach did not escape the intergovernmental– supranational dichotomy. ‘The European Process at Atlantic Crosspurposes’. B. • The approach of supranational governance was located in neofunctionalism. • Moravcsik denied the importance of supranational actors as independent actors in EU decision making and insisted that governments remained in control of the process of European integration. and S. economic interests were seen to be dominant. Haas. Neofunctionalism is elaborated. ‘Neofunctionalism: Obstinate or Obsolete? A Reappraisal in the Light of the New Dynamism of the European Community’. 95 (1966): 862–915. and that increased transactions across national boundaries would create a supranational society that favoured the creation of supranational rules to govern its behaviour. The approach was further criticized for not placing the analysis in a global context. it privileged certain types of actor and also classified actors as either intergovernmental or supranational in a way that oversimplified the complexity of the EU. CA: Stanford University Press. The Uniting of Europe: Political. but also drew on transactionalism and new institutionalism. Journal of Common Market Studies. Functional spillover. On intergovernmentalism. The concept of ‘exogenous spillover’ was added later to theorize enlargement. CA: Stanford University Press. The Uniting of Europe: Political. Hoffmann. Haas. B. Rather. but was influenced by a wider international context.THEORIES OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION • The concept of spillover was central to the neofunctionalist theory. 3 (1964): 85–101. • Hooghe and Marks emphasized the importance of identity in the process of European integration and the need to go beyond the preoccupation with economic interests and functional pressures that has characterized much of the intergovernmental–supranational debate. and defended in J. and integration in low-politics sectors would not necessarily spill over into high-politics sectors. 1958). E. London: Oxford University Press. Social and Economic Forces 1950–57 (London: Library of World Affairs. within this domestic process. Social and Economic Forces. 1950–1957. 1968). in which governments’ preferences were determined at the domestic level and were then used as the basis for intergovernmental negotiations at the European level. and cultivated spillover would lead the process of European integration to run out of the control of national governments.
which differs subtly. European Integration and Supranational Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009). is given in A. Explaining Decisions in the European Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. P. Journal of European Public Policy. Niemann and P. Stone Sweet (eds).uk/orc/bache3e/ 20 . Moravcsik. Marks. 67–87. Moravcsik. Schmitter. 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press. ‘European Integration and Supranational Governance’. in A. ‘A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permissive Consensus to Constraining Dissensus’. 4 (1997): 297–317. Journal of European Public Policy. Øhrgaard. Branch and J. 45–66. A later statement of the theory. which includes a response to criticisms of Moravcsik’s earlier work. 39 (2008): 1–23.THEORY can be found in A. Wiener and T. 31 (1993): 473–524. 1998).oxfordtextbooks. ‘Liberal Intergovernmentalism’. European Integration Theory. Of interest most recently is A. ‘Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach’. The earliest statement of liberal intergovernmentalism is in A. Niemann. A review of the criticisms applied to neofunctionalism and subsequent revisions can be found in A. 2006). Schimmelfennig. Hooghe and G. It is developed in W. 1998). Journal of Common Market Studies. Sandholtz. 2009). 6 (1999): 123–43. ‘Neofunctionalism’. European Integration Theory. ‘Trapped in the Supranational–Intergovernmental Dichotomy: A Response to Stone Sweet and Sandholtz’. Wiener and T. C. Supranational governance is outlined in Stone Sweet and W. and contested in A. Diez (eds). in A. Moravcsik and F. Sandholtz and A. Visit the Online Resource Centre that accompanies this book for links to more information on theories of European integration: www. Diez (eds). The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (London: UCL Press. The postfunctionalist theory of integration is set out in L.co. 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press. British Journal of Political Science.
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