Business Briefs

Political and Institutional Factors: Europe as a Political Entity

The European Union is a remarkable result of a process of voluntary economic and political integration between nation states in Europe. In the last half-century, Europe has liberalized trade, coordinated macroeconomic policies, and created a centralized set of governing institutions with significant authority in most areas of public policy. In the process, it has increased its size from 6 to 25 member states. Scholars and politicians have struggled to define this political entity, consisting of member states that pool their sovereignty at the European level, yet retain distinct identities as independent states. The EU cannot be described simply as cooperation between independent national governments, like the United Nations. Nor can it be depicted as a federal state, like the United States.

  • History of European Integration at a Glance
  • What Type of Political Entity?
  • Towards a More Democratic European Union?

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