The New Europe/ The European Union : © R. James Ferguson 2003

INTR12-204 & INTR71/72-204, The Department of International Relations, SHSS, Bond University, Queensland, Australia

12: Conclusions-Not-Yet-Reached:

Europe and the European Process in the Global System

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Topics: -

1. Europe As An Adaptive Process

2. The Problems of Inclusion: The Big and The Small

3. The End of Great Powers?

4. Institution Building as the Key to the Future

5. The European 'Project'

6. Bibliography and Further Reading

 

1. Europe as an Adaptive Process

One of the key points that has emerged in the subject is that Europe and European nations are not static entities. Since World War II, they have adapted rapidly to changing conditions in the regional and world scene. The centre of great nation conflicts down to 1945, Europe rapidly moved into the tense Cold War confrontation between the Russian Bloc and the Western Bloc. Yet at the same time, European nations quickly realised that the old ways of doing economics and politics could not be sustained. As West Europe relied on its special security relationship with the U.S. (via NATO), it also came to develop economic and then political cooperation within Europe. This process has given Europe a rebirth economically, and given European nations a renewed place in the world stage. Although nations such as Germany, France and Great Britain are still quite powerful, they can now face the great economic potentials of nations such as the U.S. and Japan, or possibly in the next two decades with a dynamic China if it succeeds in continued reform and growth. Yet collectively, the EU is one of the world largest markets, and represents a genuine, though not trouble-free, economic superpower. The question remains, however, whether this relative power of the EU will continue to be extended in the political, diplomatic and military areas, e.g. the 'superpower but not superstate' approach favoured by the Blair government. As we have seen, through 1998-2003 there has been some strengthening of convergence in the common foreign policy of the EU, and greater commitment to an independent European military capability. Whether this will be sustained through the enlargement process of the EU remains to be seen. This trend was partly galvanised by a second round of hot conflict in the Balkans through 1998-2001, with the EU playing a very strong role on the stabilisation of Kosovo and Macedonia (Power 2002).

Further, although the major European nations play an important role on the World stage (as members of the G-8, the UN Security Council, the OECD, and the OSCE), it is really as a collective grouping that they have very strong influence. Thus the 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM meetings) were an opportunity for Asian nations (ASEAN states plus other east Asian nations), along with separate ASEAN-EU dialogues, to engage with the EU collectively. It was the collective power of the EU, and not just the past technological edge of nations such as Germany, which made this a very important encounter for Southeast Asian nations and China. Likewise, it the EU as an economic and military complex as a whole which gives it so much importance to the U.S. and Russia, with which the EU has special dialogues (see lectures 3 & 11). From 1995-2002, the U.S. has been willing to engage Europe more closely, once again through burden sharing in military field (in Bosnia and Kosovo), and through intensified dialogue over the future of a wider Europe and relations with Russia and other Eurasian states, though this began to falter in 2003 with division over managing Iraq. Likewise, debate over the role of an EU-lead military force (the European Defence Initiative), and what role Europe might play in relation to any missile defence system as proposed by the U.S., remains to be worked out, probably over the next 2-4 years. Although areas of strong tension exist (e.g. over the U.S. refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol over greenhouse gas emissions), the idea of US-EU engagement remains one of the key areas of real but changing power relations. This remains true even if we are in a period of post-Atlanticism based on elective agreements by the US and EU on many but not all issues (Vaisse 2003; Steinberg 2003; Daalder 2003).

This does not mean the end of European national identities, or of their state structures. Germans, French, British and others remained attached to their sometimes problematic, and regionally coloured, identities (see further Lawday 1999). This is also the case in central and Eastern Europe. For example, the result of a 1992 survey in which people in Europeans were asked: 'Do you ever think of yourself as not only (nationality) but also a European?'. The results were highest for Macedonians, of whom 36% said that they often thought this way, while most responses were between 5 and 15% (Miall 1993, p69). Indeed, through 2001 Macedonians remained strongly interested in association with the EU and 'being a part of Europe', in large measure because this reduced its sense of vulnerability in relation to the troubled Balkans (MacGregor 2001). In other words, European identities can be used for particular purposes, it is constructed by a range of historical, political and contextual factors. This and a range of other issues make it very difficult for a genuine European citizenship to emerge (as distinct from shared rights and administration within the EU, see Field 1996a). Likewise, sub-national groups, such as the Scottish, the Welsh, the Basques in Spain, Corsicans in relations to France, show that local regional feelings are also strong and certainly not yet melted down in some shared European identity. Heather Field has accurately noted that 'National attachments remain stronger than those to the EU, though regional attachments are sometimes stronger than national ones' (Field 1996b, p10).

However, at the international level, the European Union is now firmly entrenched as an important and in many ways an effective organisation. The benefits of this system, in generating a large internal market, in increasing internal trade and trans-European operations, in reducing costs and generating more productive competition in external markets, in shared fiscal and technological arrangements, and reducing the likelihood of excessive internal conflict (either through wars or trade competition) means that this economic structure is likely to be retained. Many of these trends seem effectively irreversible.

Yet the EMU and the creation of a shared currency (the euro), which involved the loss of some symbols of national independence, reduction of unilateral national powers in financial decision-making and areas such as levels of government spending, was a long and difficult process. Problems include British reluctance to loose the pound, fears of smaller economies of being swallowed up by the European currency dominated by de facto German financial strength, in an inability to meet spending, debt and inflation deadlines without alienating national electorates, and even reluctance by some ordinary Germans to give up a known and strong currency. Yet in the long run, to be a part of Europe, nations like France and Germany have to agree to the financial restraints which are part of the restrictions of EU membership (including limits on budget deficits and inflationary trends). If France or Germany had seriously delayed going into the EMU, this in fact would have signalled a broader resistance to the deepening of the European process, perhaps influenced by Eurosceptics who would prefer a Europe of nations rather than a united Europe. It is no coincidence that Eurosceptics in Britain have managed to maintain a strong debate aimed at reducing the likelihood of their integration by the UK within Europe (see Anderson 1999). Here elections in France and Germany through the late 1990s indicated that these nations wished to continue the deepening of European integration, but not at excessive cost to the employment and welfare levels of their own population. As we have seen, there are also different visions of European integration being conceptualised in the UK and Germany, with Germany moving rapidly towards a view of deeper integration via the construction of a European constitution that will be further debated through 2003-2005.

Likewise, recent planning documents from the European Commission show a keen awareness that much remains to be done. Europe continues to lag behind the U.S. in terms of economic growth and employment, and several key 'deficits' in employment in Europe remain to be addressed. Issues such as the gender gap, lags in services employment, regional imbalances, long-term structural unemployment, lags in Information Technology training, and an age gap with the 55-65 year-old group being too vulnerable, have been noted as sustained challenges for Europe in the near future (see Prodi 2000, pp4-5). Likewise, slow growth in a country such as Germany through 2002-2003 (estimated at around 0.3% real GDP growth) has challenged their ability to maintain government spending, tax cuts, and avoiding government debt over the 2003-2004 period. Thus, budget deficit was around '3.7 per cent of GDP in 2002, and 3.3 per cent in 2003. The Government plans to have a balanced budget by 2006.' (DFAT 2003).

Deeper problems emerge, however, when we consider the prospects for an alignment of Foreign Affairs and Defence policies, key indicators for independent states. To date, the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has made limited progress. Beyond provisions for mutual consultation between countries, for attitudes to nearby regional development, some shared positions, there has only been a limited correlation of foreign policy (see lecture 11). Some convergence has occured in several areas: criticism of the way Russia waged war in Chechnya; appointing officials to represent collective foreign policy, e.g. Javier Solana (former NATO secretary-general) as first High Representative for the common foreign and security policy (Economist 2000); coordination of policy in relation to meeting the emergencies in Kosovo and Macedonia (1999-2003). However, the CFSP remains a largely intergovernmental compromise, with a limited degree of integration (Gordon 1997), though this may change if the provisions of the 2003 convention on the future of Europe take up the idea of the creation of a stronger post of Foreign Minister for the EU.

In such a setting, it is very easy for the strong foreign policies of countries such as France and Britain to emerge before a unified European response has been generated. Europe has created, or helped create several institutions which mask these problems of coordination, and make cooperation for shared goals much easier to achieve - these include a strong NATO and moves towards a shared European defence capability (the European Defence Initiative EDI, for limited convergence among major European defence structures, see Unterseher 1999), the use of diplomatic pressure through the Council of Europe, and the wider diplomatic and confidence building roles of the OSCE. One other issue needs careful management in the context of an enlarging EU. This is the problem of how big and small states can work together in the one European system.

2. The Problems of Inclusion: The Big and The Small

The European Union in theory is a cooperative venture between sovereign and equal states working with consensus and without compulsion. Yet in reality we can ask how a small state such as Belgium or Ireland can have anything like the influence of Germany or France. Likewise, other states which have moved more recently into the EU, such as Austria and Sweden, are relatively small states that have had different views on Europe - in these cases, these were neutral states near the borders of the Soviet Bloc states. To take another example, the economy of Spain is much weaker than the economy of Germany, while Italy, now a stronger economy, feels that it should now be counted as a major European power alongside France and Germany. In reverse, once very affluent nations like Germany have worried about the relative fiscal stability of states like Spain, Greece, and Portugal, traditionally labelled the poor four of the EU (Barber & Wagstyl 1996), and the impact poorer new economies in Eastern Europe will have on the future of the euro. Likewise, states formally outside the EU but deeply engaged in European affairs and trade, such as Switzerland and Norway, wonder how much their independence may be constrained within the emerging European system, with whom they are major training partners, as well as being 'diplomatically engaged' to a large degree.

As we have seen, Germany has moderated some of these tensions through the use of two key approaches. Germany, in particular, has reduced some of these threat perceptions through the use of two key processes. First, by the process of 'semi-sovereignty' Germany has reduced the centralisation of its state structure, opting for a federal structure with a strong central court and division powers within its political system (Katzenstein 1997; Sverdrup 1998; Bulmer 1997). Secondly, this has been combined internationally with the strategy whereby Germany has developed its national policies alongside an integrating European Union, with a strong emphasis on running foreign policy approaches through multilateral organisations (Katzenstein 1997; Sverdrup 1998). On this basis, until the late 1990s Germany has opted for the use of 'soft power' and 'civil power', using a series of overlapping competencies rather than using the dominant power of a great state (Sverdrup 1998; Anderson 1997). At the same time, this has not fully solved the problem of balancing German influence. As we have already seen, Germany is sometimes viewed as having too much influence, for example, on the European Central Bank (see Zwick 2001), and Britain are very cautious about the German proposal for a more integrated and 'federal' European Union.

Likewise, German political policy and investment has had a major role in the transition of Eastern Europe, and in particular Poland, suggesting to a some a sphere of 'economic influence' that may have political implications in the enlarged EU of post-2004. Based on a systematic policy of reconciliation, aid, and investment, (Thompson 2001), Germany has become a major player in Eastern Europe, in part for reasons of self-interest: -

Germany provided far more aid that any other country, including the United States, mostly in the form of tied loans, granted at favourable interest rates. Alone among Western nations, Germany demonstrated a real commitment to strengthen political stability in the region through economic assistance. Its motives are a mixture of guilt over past mistreatment of some nations in the region, the desire to strengthen the foundations of peace, and economic and social self-interest. As a large, open, wealthy and tolerant magnet in the middle of Europe, Germany is the desired destination for the 'huddled masses' of the East. Germans fear that instability there could prompt a massive influx of immigrants and refugees. A former adviser to Helmut Kohl put it this way: 'German foreign policy these days is driven by a simple priority: to prevent poor foreigners from swamping our prosperous country. Given the dangers of right-wing extremism, the idea is to do whatever is necessary to keep would-be immigrants from leaving their homes and heading for Germany'. (Thompson 2001)

All these factors mean that negotiation on European cooperation are complex, and can involve intense internal disputes. The most extreme 1996 case was over mainland Europe's unwillingness to lift bans on the import of British beef due to scares over infected meat. For some months this resulted in serious chills in relations between Britain and France and Germany, with Britain refusing to support any EU initiatives. Likewise, European sanctions over the Freedom Party's role in government in Austria in 2000 also indicated how readily political pressures can operate within the EU itself. Likewise concerns over restructured qualified majority voting, which might leave small states with even less influence on an enlarged EU, could become a serious impediment to integration and enlargement procedures through 2002-2004. Balancing population and sovereignty, major changes in EU process would not require unanimity, but votes representing 71-74% of the weighted votes for the 15 members, depending on the particular pattern of voting, and on future agreements in the expanded EU (Commission of the European Communities 2001). At present 62 out of 87 votes are need to pass for those areas where qualified majority is applied (European Policy Centre 2001). Through 2002, Ireland had been very reluctant to accept the new levels of voting proposed at Nice (2000) which would give it less relative power in an enlarged Europe, an issue that needs to be resolved before enlargement can proceed.

Britain too, has been concerned enough to suggest some formal recognition of the role of the great powers, i.e. the UK, Germany and France, via some kind of general secretary to chair meetings of the European Council. This suggestion, made in early 2002, was a reaction to the working of the Laeken summit, which put on the table for the EU a number of issues including the possibility of a European constitution, direct elections for the president of the European Commission, and further extension of qualified majority voting(Groom & Parker 2002), a process which has gained momentum through early 2003. The UK and Germany are willing to use qualified majority voting where treaty agreements specify this, and in order to break deadlocks, a view criticised by conservatives and Eurosceptics (Parker 2002).

Such behaviour indicates a certain fragility in the European process. There has always the possibility that states not happy with the direction Europe is taking can use either the veto or 'empty chair' approach to derail European agendas. This 'veto' culture has been used in the past in Europe (e.g. by France in 1966 which wanted to retain a more intergovernmental Europe-of-the-nations), and remains an option where the central interests of great powers are infringed. Even if the partial solution of qualified majority voting on more issues is adopted in more areas (which the European Commission supports), this will not solve these different factional interests coming to the forefront, especially within a Europe which will expand to include Eastern European states through 2004. At present: -

A qualified majority is the number of votes required in the Council for a decision to be adopted when issues are being debated on the basis of Article 205(2) of the EC Treaty (former Article 148(2)). Until 1 November 2004, the date of the entry into force of the provisions in the Nice Treaty on Council decision-making, the threshold for the qualified majority is set at 62 votes out of 87 (71%), and Member States' votes are weighted on the basis of their population and corrected in favour of less-populated countries as follows: France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom 10 votes each; Spain 8 votes; Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal 5 votes each; Austria and Sweden 4 votes each; Denmark, Ireland and Finland 3 votes each; Luxembourg 2 votes. (European Commission 2003)

Through late 2001, proposed weightings for an enlarged EU included a new formula with the large four states having 29 votes; Spain and Poland 27; Netherlands 13; Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Hungary 12; Sweden, Bulgaria and Austria 10 votes; Slovakia, Denmark and Ireland 7 votes' Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxemborg and Cyprus 4; and Malta 3 votes. Proposed provisions under the current Convention would somewhat alter this factors: 'qualified majority' in the Council of Ministers would in effect require the vote of states representing at least 60 per cent of the population of the Union, but 'the other leg of the qualified majority voting (QMV) test is that there must be also a majority of states for the proposal', and in 'almost every case where legislation can be approved . . . in council, it must also be approved by a majority vote in the European Parliament.' (MacCormick 2003) This provides strong sovereign and national checks on voting outcomes in sensitive areas. Britain, in particular, moved through early 2003 to recognise the importance of qualified majority voting, but remains sensitive over any loss of control in foreign policy (Daily Mail 2003).

Furthermore, the actions of big states, even when acting in their own interest, can have serious impacts on smaller European neighbours. For example, the state of Ireland has benefited greatly from economic integration into the EU, with recent high rates of economic growth. In the early 1995, Ireland was able to achieve 76% of the average per capita income of the EU, up from 66% in 1983 (Barber & Wagstyl 1996). Yet, Ireland desperately needs Britain to remain highly cooperative with the EU to avoid a possible loss of competitiveness in exports to Britain, which still a strong importer of Irish goods. Likewise, British cooperative in the peace agenda for Northern Ireland remains important for the future welfare of the island. Hidden linkages between policies can make European negotiations extremely complex.

Numerous examples of rational policies for a nation departing from, slowing down, the European process can be cited. For example, due to the cost of absorbing Eastern Germany, and to some poor economic performance in some areas, even Germany had some difficulty in keeping on track economically. However, Germany was committed to budget restraint, and had to face the embarrassing situation of meeting the European Union finance ministers in June 1996 with an excessive deficit of 3.5% of GDP for 1995 (Tett 1996), a problem it is facing again in 2002-2003 due to slow growth, i.e. of not meeting its own recommendations concerning future economic and monetary union. The future possibility of England joining the euro will likewise impact on the viability and confidence felt in the European Union and its institutions, but will be a major test of confidence for the EU through 2004-2005. If the UK opts out of the euro on a permanent basis, especially if done on the basis of a referendum, this would set in place a permanent two-tier Europe. We can see then, that the EU is a process which is not at a steady-state at present. It needs to go forward, or collapse back into a more standard regional association based on inter-governmental dialogue. Monetary Union is at the heart of longer term moves to a genuine across-Europe labour market, and have long term impacts on European identity as well. In other words, the EMU is a political as well as a fiscal process. It drives a shared European system forward. However, we can question whether these political and economic gains will be enough to hold European nations together in a constructive way.

3. The End of Great Powers?

Part of the reason why many European nations are keen on deepening (and widening) the EU is that much more than economics is involved. Through the 1990s the EU has emerged as a political, regional and economic agenda. The EU is a much more comprehensive political program that that being developed by APEC (Asia pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Indeed, the EU may be a unique case of supranational, deep integration. The cooperation of EU members was necessary in the light of four key trends: -

1) The disastrous outcomes and experience of World War II. This war led most states in Europe to realise that their very survival as peoples and nations was at stake. In the technological age of total war, states and nations could be wiped out, completely. The fact that a civilised Europe could lapse into such wars for a second time in the 20th century also shook confidence in the European state system based on notions of balance of power or at weaker cooperative efforts such as the League of Nations. Much of Europe was smashed and impoverished by the experience of World War II as well. These factors led to the realisation that new approaches had to be developed. Ongoing tensions in the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia have reminded European nations of the disasters of conventional warfare, some of which could be experienced on the doorstep of Europe. Careful management of Southeast Europe has emerged as a major component of EU foreign and security policy through 1998-2003 (see lecture 10). New transnational threats (terrorism, organised crime, refugees, environmental damage) have modified but not changed this reality.

2) At the end of WWII, certainly by 1946-1948, the Cold War began with Europe one of it main 'theatres'. This had the disadvantage of dividing Europe along an artificial line between east and west, and exposed the area to the threat of large-scale conventional war or even nuclear war. European states quickly realised that compared to the U.S. and the USSR, they were second rank military powers. They were dependant and unable to continue the pretence of being self-contained Great Powers on the world stage. But this experience also had some good points. It allowed Western European nations to work alongside each other in a common defence against a shared enemy. In the end, this was the main reason why West Germany could be revived as a legitimate state actor on the international stage, and was one of the main reasons why France and Germany found good reasons to cooperate. France, in the long term, has had to keep European integration as a central policy to avoid losing control of German agendas.

3) In spite of the attempts of the Dutch, the French and to some extent the British to retain their world empires after World War II, these states soon realised that this was not a successful way to ensure great power status militarily, economically or politically. The Dutch soon found themselves excluded from Indonesia (by 1949), the French from Vietnam (circa 1954) and then Algeria (1982). Britain was more ready to grant independence to her colonies, such as India and former Malayan colonies, but for a time hoped to rely on her empire and dominions, as well as her influence in the Middle East, to retain her position as a world power. However, U.S. economic and military dominance, as well as changing events in the Middle East, soon made this role unsustainable. In the end, she too joined the EC due to real economic necessity. The age of European national empires was over (as distinct from the neo-colonial empires of multinational corporations).

4) With the advent of the global capitalist market, the opening of economies under GATT agreements and WTO rules, and with the creation of global flows of investment and capital, the EU itself became subject to the forces of globalisation and international competitive. Although advanced nations such as Britain, Germany, Italy and France are among the leading nations in this globalisation process (globalisation-from-above), they now have to remain competitive in relations to the technology of countries such as the U.S. and Japan, as well as with skilled labour forces in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. On this basis, the EU is a much stronger player than any individual nation, and needs to adapt its policies towards the creation of a dynamic, knowledge-based economy (see Prodi 2000). Second, as the forces of globalisation operate, they also challenge national cultures and national privilege within Europe as well, demanding access in sensitive areas such as film, education, and health care. As we have seen, France in particular, has not accepted the U.S. formulation of these rules of the international game (see Petras & Morley 2001), and tensions remain between socialist and free-market policies within Europe as a whole.

5) The fifth major trend has been the need to stabilise regions adjacent to an expanding European Union, based on a wide range of issues ranging from threats of civil war, refugees, transnational criminal networks, environmental trans-boundary threats, drugs and weapons smuggling, possible spread of weapons-of-mass destruction, and international terrorism. On this basis, the EU has had to engage proactively in helping stabilise Eastern Europe (via progress to EU membership), the Balkans, Russia, and the Mediterranean region.

In this context most European nations had two choices. Develop a more powerful, integrated, and effective Europe with strong social capital and a new phase of research investment, or fail to adapt to the current international environment and become (in relative terms in the global system) weaker, poor states. In order to avoid this, Europe needs to continue in its successful program of institution building and adaptation. However, a strongly integrated federal structure might be too claustrophobic for some countries (England, Denmark, Sweden), might not accommodate the ongoing needs for the expression of nationalism in parts of Eastern Europe, and might concern neighbours such as Norway and Switzerland. To date, the curious mix of inter-governmental, neo-functional integration and shared sovereignty called supranationalism has served the EU quite well, though requiring careful management (for one view, see Sweet 1998). It remains to be seen, however, whether the EU will switch to a somewhat more quasi-federal structure, as implied in the constitutional proposals put forward by the Convention on the future of the Europe through July 2003 (see D'Estaing 2003).

4. Institution Building as the Key to the Future

One of the great strengths of the adaptiveness of Europe has been its ability to create and sustain dynamic institutions which structure social and political life. Although the Middle East and East Asia created great 'hydraulic' societies (based on irrigation in rivers like the Nile) and large kingdoms and empires (as in China), Europe created a number of distinct political systems. This included the city-state in Greece (birth of democracy), the Roman Imperial system, Christendom (held together by religious theology), the modern nation-state, and modern liberal democracies after the age of revolutions (from the 18th century onwards). This dynamic change and adaptation to circumstance was in large measure due to the break down of great unifying systems - once Rome and then Christendom based on a unified Catholic Church collapsed, Europe was divided into competing nations, classes and ethnic groups. This led to a turbulent but inventive modern period. Over the last fifty years, Europe has created a special form of regional integration, supranationalism, by which elements of cooperation are passed up from the state to shared decision-making institutions (see lecture 2).

Europe was the birth-place of the modern nation-state and liberal democracies (ideologies most strongly developed in France, then in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and throughout the world). But Europe was also the creator of less pleasant political tools: total war, world wars, the impulse towards the building of the nuclear weapons (probably first in Germany), the first modern systematic forms of genocide (applied by the Nazis and in Stalin's Russia, though Armenians would argue that the Turks used such methods against the Armenians earlier in the century).

It was against the legacy of these pressing problems that Europe also engaged in the first regional supranational grouping, to a small degree in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and then European Economic Community (EEC), then in a more integrated way in the European Union (see lectures 1-2). This emerged, of course, alongside the post-WWII United Nations, but it must be remembered that the United Nations is essentially an inter-national organisation - it main groupings are nation-states and most of its concepts are based on the recognition of the sovereignty of nations. Most accords and charters are signed by nations, which are the key legitimation elements for the UN. The European Union, however, is somewhat different, in that for the first time it begins to develop a true supranational nature, i.e. some sovereignty is passed up to the EU level from the states. This can be most clearly seen in economic policies, e.g. the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), where strong restraints on placed on the levels, standards and types of agricultural production. Through 2000- 2003, efforts are under way to reform the CAP, partly in preparation for the realities of an expanding Europe, as well as maintaining an environmentally sound agricultural production system that is also competitive on world markets (Thalheim 2001). Likewise, there have been serious difficulties in developing a Common Foreign and Defence Policy, even though this is one of the agreements cautiously embedded in the Maastricht Treaty. Likewise, there have been efforts to enhance the power and effectiveness of the European Parliament. Since 1957, the European Parliament has moved to become directly elected, has extended its powers of co-decision and veto, has an impact on European legislation and budgets, and has become a forum for 'popular communication, complaints, and even protests' (Wolf 1998). At the same time, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers have strong powers (Wolf 1998), suggesting to some that a 'democratic deficit' still exists in the EU, given the fragmented structure of party politics and relatively low voter interest over the last decade. On this basis, the European Parliament is an important test of transnational democracy, and whether the EU rests on more than elite consensus and technocratic management 'from above' (Wolf 1998).

Yet these problems have not been approached in a monolithic way, i.e. just using one organisation and forcing progress, no matter how hard, through that one channel. One area where Europe has been highly effective is in developing formal systems of negotiation, diplomacy, confidence building, and institution building. Other institutions (the OSCE, NATO, the Council of Europe etc.) are playing complex roles in Europe, and often have shifted their goals and missions, redefining their role to meet new situations. The needs of Europe are not just carried by the EU alone, but by a number of overlapping organisations.

The classic example of this, of course, is NATO. We have seen how after 1990, when NATO lost its formal enemy in the Warsaw Pact, NATO began to redefine its role. It moved from being a collective defence organisation (defending Western Europe against Soviet Bloc aggression), to a collective security organisation now hoping to aid regional security in Europe in a much more general sense. This redefinition of role was completed by 1991, and from that time NATO proved it was highly adaptable in several ways. From 1994, serious discussion began about expanding NATO eastwards, with formal announcement in 1996 indicating that this would definitely take place. NATO has announced a second round of expansion, now accepted by Russia. Through April 2003, the signing of the Accession Treaty cleared the path for full membership of new states in May 2004, including: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, while Bulgaria and Romania might join through 2007. However, this have masked other needs for wider security horizon of Europe: -

NATO leaders could instead centre discussion of non-Balkan topics on how they will cooperate to prevent the leakage of vital nuclear material out of Russia; how the US and Europe can deploy common policies that respond to specific and worrisome events in Russia and on its borders; how to respond to the defence policy recommendations of NATO's Senior Defence Group on Proliferation; how the US and Europe can develop shared policies towards the Persian Gulf region; how Europe and America can find common policies towards China and other problems in East Asia; and how they will relate their experiences with Bosnia to future Euro-Atlantic military structures and planning. (Zelikow 1996, p8).

In the long run, it was only be possible to stabilise the threat to Russia of an expanding NATO by eventually including Russia within much deeper dialogue with the organisation, a process which began in 2002 that formal procedures that go beyond the earlier Founding Act, leading to the NATO-Russia Council (see lectures 3 & 9). This is necessary because expanding alliance structures can sometimes provoke conflict by causing fears in those they exclude, especially if the excluded country is a great power which has become dissatisfied (see Gibler 1999). Including Russia within a deeper 'cooperative security' arrangement would also have the advantage of giving a more unified leverage on the Balkan problem, ease 'fears of transition theorists who warn against a rising, revisionist China', help stabilise democratic transition within Russia, and perhaps allow the organisation to more effectively deal with territorial settlements among members (Gibler 1999, pp630-635). In the long run, any vision of Europe based on exclusive and discriminatory patterns of identity, using a 'projected enemy', for this purpose, will not foster long term integration (Wolf 1998).

NATO's direct intervention in the IFOR and SFOR placement in Bosnia and the KFOR operation in Kosovo has shown that the organisation can take a direct role in large-scale crisis management and even peace making beyond the confines of Western Europe. This power, however, needs to be carefully managed, as demonstrated in the controversies surrounding the air campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, and the need for a long term political solution (see Week 10 materials). On this basis, there is no immediate guarantee that either the EU or NATO can force a political solution on the region without strong economic support provided by the EU, which seeks to enter into stabilisation and association plans with these countries as their political situation stabilises, e.g. negotiations with Croatia and more recently with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which through 2002 reviewing its constitutional structures.

NATO's recent redefinition to allow a more European focus, to allow the European use of NATO assets in an approved conflict, has given the organisation a new lease of life. This move has done two things. Firstly, it has reassured the French that the U.S. will not dominate European security, allowing the French to move back into the NATO command structure (Grant 1996). But secondly, it has reassured the U.S. public that every time Europe has a regional or external problem, U.S. foot-soldiers will not necessarily be drawn into messy conflicts. No single European state, for example, could easily wage war against a Syria, an Iran or an Iraq. Even smaller powers, like Algeria or Libya, would be massively difficult for a single power, even France (which has retained a large conventional force structure including rapid reaction forces). We can see how difficult such operation would be when we look at the massive effort it took Great Britain to take back a few rocks in the Atlantic from Argentina (The Falkland or Malvinas Islands). This means, in fact, that some kind of joint secuity system is not an option for Europe, it is a necessity. This has also led to the momentum (1999-2003) for an all-European force based on a core of British and French cooperation, which could actually generate a real European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) in the long term (see lecture 9). As such, ESDI may also have a role in solidifying the a shared foreign policy, and sense of European political identity.

Yet other institutions have a role to play as well. The OSCE, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, for example, has some 55 members, and has engaged in successful diplomatic and humanitarian exercises. It was charged, for instance, with the running of fair elections in Bosnia 1996. Yet it was once hoped, around 1990, that this organisation could become a genuine collective security system, embracing not just Western Europe, but also all of central and eastern Europe, the Black Sea region, and Central Asia. Of course, it is not possible to run such a large organisation on the basis of consensus, and in September 1994 Russia had suggested that a OSCE Security Council of the 10 largest members (Zelikow 1996, p11) be set up to give the organisation teeth. This proposal failed, largely because of U.S. opposition. The U.S. may have felt that this new system would have given the Russians too much influence, and that it would undermine the more Western focused NATO agenda. However, it means that there still is a real danger of the Atlantic-Urals security complex still being divided between two mistrustful camps (an expanded NATO and a reinforced Russian alliance). The OSCE has been successful in a number of more modest areas, including monitoring borders, running elections, and setting up peace negotiations. It thus provides a crucial stabilisation role, but has to work in conjunction with UN, EU and NATO initiatives.

5. The European 'Project'

However, we should not limit our view of Europe to simply that of a shared market, or a system of institutions such as the EU, CFSP, EDI, OSCE and NATO. Europe is much more than this. In spite of problems with the nation-state and European political systems like democracy, Europe remains a vital source of ideas, culture, design, and technology.

In Europe and Western nations, a wide range of values on how to live life, organise societies and conduct international affairs remain very strong. A range of conceptions of how the world should develop, including issues of a market economy, modern-state organisation, penetration of new technologies into everyday life, democratisation, pluralism, the open society etc. are all linked into a 'Europa Paradigm' (see for example Vitanyi 1986, pp234-5). This shared viewpoint is partly shared by American, European and Australasian views of a preferred state-civil society relations for some time to come. Here Europe is more than a tapestry of nations, and certainly more than merely an EU bureaucracy. Like China, Europe represents a civilisation, whose deeper views will continue to impact on world affairs (see Lewis 1987; {agden 2002). Certain elements of this political are very attractive to groups around the world, e.g. in China and Indonesia elements of the young in particular are hoping for a more open and democratic society. Eastern European nations and most of their citizens are eager to engage in this type of national culture and civil society, in spite of the major constraints that the EU will indirectly impose on their sovereignty. Likewise, it is unlikely that Europe will forget its strong commitment to human rights, even in the face of strong economic priorities (European parliaments tend to more outspoken on this than European leaders). The European version of modernism tends to provide a strong place for governments as arbiters of social policy, and retain elements of the social market as distinct from a narrow neo-liberal capitalism. At the same time, the EU will also be judged on its ability to 'develop the rights of immigrants' as one key element of its 'democratic feasibility' (see Wolf 1998), as well as the ability to represent and respect the rights of Muslim minorities (see Asad 2002).

This means that the 'idea' of Europe cannot be dismissed. Ironically, the very vigour of European systems of thought, political institutions, and economy in part may be based on a history of division and internal competition. Now, however, since European nations must compete on an equal basis with nations around the world (who now have gone through their own industrial and information revolutions), it is no longer wise for excessive internal division to continue. On the other hand, expansion into East Europe will force major changes on the processes of European governance: consensus with 15 nations has been very difficult, but could prove impossible if it soon expands to the expected EU-25 or above, with very different internal conditions, come together. In the long run, this new expanded Europe will also need to come to a more serious and stable engagement with both Russia and Turkey.

Here, then, we must ask - what will Europe evolve into? What will be its relations with the rest of the world? Are the transformations we are seeing today stable and predictable, or are these changes like a Pandora's box, capable of producing sudden and negative effects? Europe, generally, can be seen as a success story. It is not certain, however, how far this supranational model can be emulated by others. At the very least, the European future will have a massive impact on global affairs in this century. At present, however, it needs to seriously address its inter-regional stability through active engagement in both the southern and eastern zones. European intervention in the Balkans has yet to fully establish stable, peaceful communities in the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, the dramatic effort to enlarge to include most of Eastern Europe will be a long process that will radically shift the way the EU works and the way power is shared among European states. The debate over some kind of integrated constitutional system with strong federal features verses an ongoing inter-government system has yet to be completed in the context of an enlarged Europe. Taken as a whole, 'wider Europe', including Eastern Europe and parts of the Mediterranean area, is not yet sufficiently stable or wealthy to ensure a complete success story for the European Union and its aspirations. The key questions here are not just the issues of deeper integration and further enlargement, but what kind of Europe do Europeans want to build for the future? (Wolf 1998).

The promise of Europe has been a sense of confidence, confidence in shared future which has now extended from western into parts of eastern Europe. This confidence was based on an implicit triple agenda: -

a) that of peace within Europe, making it capable to have peaceful relations with the rest of the world,

b) that of prosperous common economic and social development, in a shared ecological responsibility, and

c) that of opening up "cultural prisons" - for individuals, for minorities, for regions - erected by the new nation states of the 19th and 20th centuries, thereby opening the way to an even richer, and shared cultural diversity. (Wolf 1998)

Europe will also need to meet continued challenges of regional governance if it is to remain a credible global actor. Professor Paul Kennedy (Kennedy 2003) has suggested that these include: -

1) The need to increase military capability to project power, including a shift to new weapons and a professional army (in support of the EDI, or else in conjunction with NATO).

2) Reform in the UN and UN Security Council to ensure the credibility of these organisations.

3) Support a stronger and more free global trade agenda including 'a massive push against protectionism, especially in agricultural goods, and assist poorer countries in Africa and the Caribbean in the export of their produce' (Kennedy 2003, p14).

4) Continue strong foreign aid programs.

5) Target aid and support to Africa, providing governance alternatives to Washington's free trade agenda.

6) Re-vitalise growth and innovation in the EU economy. (see Kennedy 2003; Prodi 2000).

If these promises and challenges are to be sustained in an enlarged Europe, and in a Europe active in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, then much remains to be done in the early decades of the 21st century. European innovation and political reform will need to continue through 2003-2010.

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Copyright R. James Ferguson 2003
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