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Politics of European Integration: Political Union or a House Divided? by Andrew Glencross

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Introduction

The Purpose of This Book

The European Union (EU) is often said to be in crisis. It is criticized by journalists, politicians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), citizens, and scholars for not doing enough or for doing the wrong things. Yet European integration – the process whereby Europe's countries formally coordinate their laws, economies, and policies – is now over 60 years old. Despite the crises and the criticism, the EU now undertakes many of the same tasks as a national government. Politics – meaning contestation over how resources are allocated (the economy), who can make binding decisions (institutional design), how authority can be held to account (democracy), how society should be organized (social policy and justice), and how to conduct relations with other countries (foreign policy) – is thus at the heart of the EU.

Twenty-eight different countries make up the member states of the EU, as depicted in Figure 0.1; all have agreed to be bound by a common system of law and to formulate together a variety of policies. Specially created political institutions are used for cooperation on matters such as the economy, the environment, foreign policy, agriculture, and justice. Many of the countries involved also share the same currency, the euro, which is administered cooperatively and is the second most important global currency behind the US dollar. The EU represents nearly 20 percent of global wealth and is the largest exporter and importer of goods and services ...

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