Discussion paper

How likely is it that the European Union will disintegrate?

30 Oct 2011

This article turns existing theories of European integration on their head, exploring the conditions under which they would predict the European Union to disintegrate and assessing to what extent these conditions currently exist.

It then provides a critique of these theories, of which the most optimistic, it argues, have an insufficiently comparative interspatial as well as intertemporal focus. It argues in particular, in modified hegemonic-stability-theoretical vein, that what distinguishes Europe from other much less politically integrated regions primarily is the strong commitment to political integration of the region’s economically most powerful, ‘semihegemonic’ state, Germany. As this commitment could wane, European integration is rather more contingent than optimistic theories of European integration suggest – even though a fundamental re-orientation of German European policy at the present time seems unlikely.

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