Politics Of The European Union Essay, Research Paper
Discuss the respective contribution of neo-functionalism and intergovernmentalism to an understanding of the dynamic forces of European integration.
Throughout History, several ideas have been presented with regards to creating European political and economic integration – From Sully, in the late 17th Century, proposing a 66 member senate inclusive of and representing 15 States to Count Coudenhove-Kalergi s recent idea of a pan-Europa in the 1930 s. The two recent notions of neo-functionalism and intergovernmentalism have been influential factors throughout the development of the modern day European community. Many theorists such as Ernst Haas (neo-functionalism) and Andrew Moravcsik (intergovernmentalism) have argued their cases for both these forces, and the benefits Europe would receive with them, but how have they affected European relations during the past century?
In the past attempts to theorize the development of the European Union have been grounded in the work of political scientists. In particular, international relations theory has produced the most enduring methodological and theoretical tools in the form of the concepts of neo-functionalism (Haas, 1958), and intergovernmentalism (Koravcsik, 1991, 1993). A central controversy for each of these approaches concerns the role of political institutions in shaping the development of the European Union.
The decline of the European Political Community during the 1950 s sparked off a search for a less ambitious European system. The federalist system applied during the early 1950 s was eventually replaced by a functionalist, and later, a neo-functionalist system in Europe. This meant that a more gradual sector-by-sector approach to European integration had been adopted. Treaties such as the Coal & Steel Treaty (which set up the European Coal & Steel community including France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg in April 1951) was replaced by the Atomic Energy Treaty (March 1957). Wincott (More & Shaw, 1995) described this system of neo-functionalism and the effect it had
…Neo-functionalism predicted a more or less automatic transfer of sovereignty from the states to the [European] Community. For neo-functionalists, the integration of functions and the creation of a technocratic elite in Europe would unleash a dynamic, self-sustaining process of integration, which would eventually create a new European polity…
In consistency with the strategy of the neo-functionalist system, a limited spillover effect resulted so that some expansion of the powers and capability of the community spilled over into other aspects of the community.
Burley and Mattli (1993) apply theories of neo-functionalism to explain part of the influential role of the European Court of Justice. It is also interesting to note that much of the new political science work on the European Court shows a marked preference for returning to some of the grand theories of integration, in particular neo-functionalism and, to a lesser extent, intergovernmentalism, at a time when the trend for most political scientists is towards looking at specific policy sectors, eschewing grand, macro-level studies of integration processes.
The theorist Ernst Haas (1958) claimed that neo-functionalism, in relation to the process of integration, produced an expectation that this process was spontaneous, gradual, expansional and automatic. In fact, Haas had focused upon elite and institutional integration a process he named Engrenage . When neo-functionalism was introduced, it boasted the idea of a common market, promoting a common external tariff (CEF) and a common commercial policy (CCP) which would affect relationships throughout Europe. Haas claimed that neo-functionalism is a dynamic force in Europe and will lead to a spillover effect. There was a tolerant political and economical merger formed between the member states which was able to remove economic barriers and make economic polices. A Commission was set up representing community interests; a supranational entrepreneur with the right of initiative. To push any agenda forward in the commission takes 62 out of 87 votes.
One example of institutional integration in Europe is apparent in the establishment of the OEEC (organisation for European Economic Co-operation and development) in April 1948. One of the OEEC s first projects was to set up the European Payments Union (EPU), which boosted recovery of pre-war levels of prosperity in Western European countries.
By the end of it s implementation, Haas had begun to notice the looming pressure of the end of ideology theory that opposing theorists had forged. According to Tranholm-Mikkelsen (1991),
By the mid-1970 s, Ernst Haas had effectively abandoned the neo-functionalist theory by assimilating it within general interdependence theories of international relations
The policy of the empty chair , adopted by Charles de Gaulle in the mid-1960 s, signalled a decline for neo-functionalism. The Luxembourg Compromise was established to accommodate de Gaulle and the French after they had boycotted the European council for over six months. The boycott was organized because the Council had plans to move to Quality Majority Voting (QMV) in January 1966 from when the transitional period was due to end. What the Luxembourg Compromise offered was to allow any state to veto on any policy where very important interests were at stake. De Gaulle used this veto to maximum effect.
What this veto achieved for de Gaulle was a steady reproduction of alternative mechanisations of integration (and disintegration) which eroded the fundamental theory of neo-functionalism. Neo-functionalism eventually diminished in the early 1970 s, but after the introduction of the Single European Act (SEA) of 1987, there were signs that neo-functionalism would re-emerge As before, the spillover effect produced political integration in the European community, achieved from low-politics.
The most renowned commentator on intergovernmentalism is Andrew Moravcsik (1993). As intergovernmentalism was on the ascent and neo-functionalism on the decline, the responsibility of political institutions in shaping patterns of integration had become marginalized. In liberal intergovernmentalism by Moravcsik (1991), political institutions were viewed as arenas in which domestic social and economical interests are cumulated. Moravcsik suggested that individuals and interest groups have a kind of superiority which generates a demand for supply made available by the state, and policy action in the shape of intergovernmental action.
Intergovernmentalism has been used to describe the development of the internal market programme and 1992 . But it is not evident that the system can deal adequately with the Gaullist trend, except by radically downgrading it s theoretical aim. As Tranholm-Mikkelsen (1991) stated,
Neo-functionalism remains a partial theory in the current dynamic phase of European integration
The automaticity of the process and it s predictive power has been abandoned. Instead, a dialectic is suggested between logics of integration and of disintegration. Sandholtz and Zysman (1989) claimed that,
There remains little to distinguish this sort of analysis from the theoretically less ambitious attempt to provide an account which situates European integration within a general interpretation of international and domestic politics, while recognizing that supranational institutions might play important parts
As a consequence of intergovernmental theories of integration, theorists have tended to understand the history of European integration as divided by conflict and unlikely to produce considerable supranational institutions or policies.
In the 1960 s and 1970 s, the emergence of summitry , particularly it s institutionalisation in the form of the European Council, was seen as crucial verification of the international and intergovernmental character of the community after 1965.
The Single European Act (SEA) of 1987 was a topic for discussion by European representatives in two intergovernmental conferences. The constitutional and institutional changes effected by the SEA were propelled by the momentum created by the project to complete the internal market by the end of 1992. The Maastricht Treaty was underpinned by the design of the system of economic and monetary union; The Amsterdam Treaty (1997) possesses no such hallmark. The treaty of Amsterdam amended the treaty on European Union, the treaties establishing the three European Communities and certain related acts. It did not eliminate the three-pillar structure of the European Union, although it modified the content of each pillar, and, in addition, redistributed some content between the pillars.
Many political theorists were astonished at the renewal of European integration based on the programme for the conclusion of the Internal Market and 1992. One theorist of European integration (George, 1985) published a book while the internal market programme was already fairly well developed. In His book, George claimed:
The community is most likely to face a future of constant compromise, papering over successively more frequent crises the prospects for the creation of more common policies are not good
George s error was the consequence of the theoretical expectations of political theorists about European integration. The events indicated by 1992 shocked political theorists, especially those theorists from an intergovernmentalist background. But some political scientists analysed the SEA as an authentication of the traditional intergovernmentalist theory, portraying the SEA as a product of negotiation between the member states of the European Union, giving no major role to the commission or to the Court of Justice (Moravcsik, 1991). Nevertheless, one of the main consequences of the 1992 process has been the renewal of other theoretical approaches to integration, including neo-functionalism, although with a downgrading of it s theoretical ambitions.
Both neo-functionalism and intergovernmentalism have shaped the course of European integration throughout the last century. Several institutions have been set up that have been critical in the process of integration such institutions as OEEC set up in 1948, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1949, and the ECSC in 1951. Important plans have also been proposed while neo-functionalism and intergovernmental systems have been in place. The Pleven Plan was proposed in 1950 to create a European Defence Community and a European Political Community. Britain also proposed a plan for a European Free Trade Area within the OEEC which included the EEC, but this was rejected. By 1960, Britain had played an essential part in establishing the intergovernmental European Free Trade Assoiation (EFTA). A year later, the OEEC became the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). In 1968, the Common Agricultural Policy was established, headed by the Agricultural Council. Neo-Functionalism was vital in setting up such institutions and policies, and it was the intergovernmentalist system that developed them through a much different method.
1. Cini, M, 1996, The European Commission: Leadership, Organisation and Culture in the EU Administration , Manchester, Manchester University Press
2. Montagnon, P, 1990, European Competition Policy , London, Pinter Publishers.
3. Weatherill, S & Beaumont, P, 1999, EU Law , New York, USA, Penguin group.
4 Wallace, W, 1990, The Dynamics of European Integration , London, Pinter Publishers.