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What do theories of integration teach us about the relative success of the European Union compared with other regional organizations?

 

Established in the year 1993 in Maastricht, Netherlands stands one of the most successful regional organizations of the world. The motto of the European union reads ‘united in diversity’. It is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are primarily located in Europe. EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. It is more legal than executive or legislative in its working. There also exists a mutual respect for national identities.  

There have been criticisms of the EU like its lack of boldness in its constitutions while others claim it is watershed but will blur the precious differences between the states. Compared to other institution like SAARC, G10 or even the UN though it has still been relatively more successful. There is however a problem when looking at the fact that the EU in its foundation was not voted in by the people, unlike the other organizations. But it was impossible that a Europe torn apart by war could have voted unanimously, and furthermore the EU does show more cooperation and less abuse of power compared to these other organizations. In 2002 with regards to its changing size the EU decided to re analyze its policies, and it decided not only to call its members but global representatives to debate its policies. It lasted for a year but the end of the discussion and passing of the new constitution showed the level of cooperation that the system holds. Organizations like SAARC that were founded on the basis of a common historical background seemed like the ideal foundations but the EU has shown that shared projects can be more important than shared identity.

It is also more accommodative than some other organizations as it gave room to both social democratic and conservative post war ideologies in its inception. The EU though still remains not the most democratic organization as the representatives elected by the people hardly have any say it’s in policy formulation and it is still a group of selected rather than elected representatives. Though since we assume history is the best judge of choices it has shown that there have been no conflicts or disputes in the union unlike the other regional organizations.

There is however an ongoing debate in the EU that sways its policies between the intergovernmentalists and supranationalists. The bigger states like Britain and France form the intergovernmentalists who vouch for there to be a stronger council of representatives and that the representatives of the member state be responsible to them instead of the people. The supranationalists that are the smaller members of the union want majority voting and the general expansion of the union’s powers. All this said they are still fighting for a common cause that is to create a national mystique on the European level. However it is not just a halfway house between the two, it is more of a confederation of sovereign states. The EU is neither a union of democracies nor a union as democracies; it is a union of state and of people- a demoicracy in the making.

The next debate, which in terms of other organizations is unique, is of a federation. This brings us back to the question that the precious differences between the states would blur and looks at the sovereignty of states being threatened at least theoretically if the constituent members are called a federation. Hence it was excluded from the constitution to avoid a super state drift unlike the American pattern.

In the process of integration the victories of the EU would be the single market, the euro and the expansion and the ambitious to do list in its constitution. A truly welfare organization is what its image emerges as. It shows hope above all else, maybe the greatest difference between itself and other regional organizations.  

  • Constant
  • Withdrawal
  • Law back
  • Horizontal cooperation
  • Welfare social
  • People vote
  • Fundamental rights
  • Proportional
  • Rotating chair
  • Open to change

Mair ruling the void

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Written By Ameya Singh

Founder Young Bhartiya

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