Centralization or Fragmentation?

Europe Facing the Challenges of Deepening, Diversity, and Democracy

July 01, 1998

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Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

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Europe and Eurasia

Europe

The European Union has shown remarkable resiliency and dynamism over the past decade. Despite the end of the Cold War and the struggle to ratify the Maastricht Treaty, the EU continues its quest to deepen and widen the process of integration and gets ready to clear the next major hurdle, the introduction of a single European currency. At the same time, Europe faces looming challenges. Deepening and widening will require elite leadership and popular will, both of which are being drained by unemployment and austerity. Painful structural adjustments lie ahead, especially if Europe is to compete in a globalized economy. And the institutional and economic reforms that must precede the accession of the new democracies of central Europe will cause further political strains.

This book focuses on the major challenges facing the EU and addresses several crucial questions: Will the EU succeed in fostering greater cooperation among members and achieving "ever closer union"? How will the less-developed applicants for EU membership from the east and south affect cohesion and institutional design? Will the Union succeed in becoming more democratic and less bureaucratic?

The authors examine the nuts and bolts of EU machinery and present a compelling argument that "ever closer union" will only be possible with greater balance and flexibility among supranational, national, and subnational actors.

A Council on Foreign Relations Book

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