De-configuring the European Union: A comparative approach

This article examines the question of the EU's uniqueness, with explicit reference to the EU as a case of transformation of or departure from the nation-state. To this end it applies a comparative framework with four strategies, the application of which to the EU yields a comprehensive test of the EU's uniqueness.

ARENA Working Paper 14/2004 (pdf)

John Erik Fossum

This article discusses the question of the EU's uniqueness. This issue is of particular importance when considered in relation to the nation-state. Uniqueness can then be considered as a case of departure from or transformation of the nation-state. The EU has emerged with a complex mixture of supranational, transnational and intergovernmental traits. The emerging system at the EU level combines with the closely linked process of Europeanisation of the member states to transform the nation state. To study the uniqueness of the EU in relation to nation state transformation, a comparative approach is necessary. This article discusses the question of the EU's uniqueness by means of a more extensive and systematic approach to comparison than has hitherto been undertaken. It argues that the application of four strategies of comparison to the EU, applied at different stages in the EU's development, offers the best way of clarifying uniqueness.

Tags: legitimacy, integration theory, Treaty on European Union, polity building
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM