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E pluribus unum? Historical Perspectives on European Integration

Vol.1, No.2, December 2005
Deutsch | français

Matthias SCHULZ (Vanderbilt University/Nashville)

Since France and the Netherlands’ rejection of the European constitution, Europe is facing a double dilemma: the federalism vs. confederalism controversy has been joined by a renewed ideological struggle between socialism and market-liberalism. By looking at the historical driving forces of the European process of integration (the European idea, economic rationalism, and the quest for a global role for Europe to play), and exploring the convergence of societies and mentalities that has paralleled the integration process, this essay argues that the rationale for European integration remains as strong as ever, and will continue to be strong provided there is no return towards irrationalism in European politics. Yet the current trend to present integration and the welfare state as mutually exclusive has done much harm to the integration process. Contrary to common perceptions, integration and the welfare state are interdependent.