2003 Annus Horribilis
2003 was a difficult year which started off with divisions on Iraq and concluded with the flop of the intergovernmental Conference in Brussels. But the annus horribilis was perhaps less horrible than at first thought. Important steps to clarify the problem of political identity and internal leadership of the EU have been accomplished. Progress has been made on security and defence but also on foreign policy. The lines of the debate on the enlarged Europe appear to be clearer today and it is not ruled out that such an agreement may be gradually pieced together in 2004 even if it is evident that Europe will not have the same characteristics as a real political Union. Future developments will see an increase in the internal flexibility of the Union through reinforced cooperation and «structured» co-operation on Defence if the Constitutional Treaty is approved or through informal co-operation tools if it isn’t. Differentiated integration will be the key to the future. However to prevent «disintegration», it is essential for reinforced co-operation to remain open and be managed according to an inclusive perspective.
Eu Enlargement and Ambiguities of the New Eastern Frontier
In 2004 the European Union makes a decisive step towards the new Eastern frontier which opens up a new phase destined to radically change the political and economic geography of the European Union. However, great difficulties and risks lie in wake. The failure of the intergovernmental conference leaving problems of institutional reorganisation unsolved has been an alarming signal. Furthermore, 2003 brought to the fore political divisions which spit the old and new Union making the enlargement scenario highly volatile. With the aperture of the new Eastern frontier the scenario becomes more complex not helped by the failure to give Europe a more effective and credible institutional setting. But, without a constitution adopted by those who want to participate in the construction of a Europe which merits this name, the new Eastern frontier risks opening up the way to a bigger but more unruly area in which more or less provisional and contrasting alliances will be permitted.
Diversity as a Resource in the Enlarged Eu
This paper examines what differences will emerge in the European asset from the entry of 8 new member states from Eastern Europe. It also attempts to identify and assess the implications of the growing differentiation between states on the European integration process. The map of unity and diversity in the enlarged EU is extremely complex which doesn’t correspond simply to the old East-West divide. Furthermore, it is easy to find flaws in the various theories on the significance of diversity in the process of European integration. Not all types of inequality are necessarily damaging on the way (strife?) towards complete harmonisation, given that various types of multiplicity already exists in the 15-member union. Diversity can have positive or negative connotations according to context and objectives: a more diversified union can resemble a neo-medieval empire rather than a neo-Westphalian state but this doesn't necessarily mean the demise of European integration.
Facing Up to the Eu Enlargement
The countries that are about to come into the EU have adopted a transition model that gives much importance to measures for the reduction of social costs of transition, attributing a central role to redistribution policies. These States have transformed their economies, creating considerable unemployment but at the same time limiting inequalities. Income gaps have thus increased following the transition to a market economy but there have not been explosive repercussions as was the case in the ex-Soviet Republics. These redistribution policies have undoubtedly encouraged structural reforms allowing the entry of these countries into the EU but at the same time, they have caused fiscal imbalances. The correction of such imbalances is one of the more the most complex problems that the new member countries will have to face in a context of EU fiscal regulations which have been conceived for countries at much higher levels of development.
Social Europe from a Us Perspective
Spurred by the ongoing discussion on the principles of a EU Constitutional Treaty, the two US authors explore the development processes of norms currently in force in the Union, highlighting the elements of democracy. Defined as «concerted polyarchy», they interpret European decision-making procedures as a process in which the solution to problems is founded on the permanent imbalance between motivations and interests and on the organised and collective exploration of the resulting differences. The decision taken is «polyarchic» as the analysis and approval depend on mutual control by the decentralised operators, facilitated by the existence of a central structure. In this sense, although an intrinsically democratic concerted polyarchy doesn’t exist, it stimulates the exploration of diversity to expose the decision-makers to full appraisal, transforming the obstacle of diversity into an instrument to accelerate and broaden the search for solutions.