The Limits of European Integration
This article summarizes the special issue’s main findings and analytical contributions, challenges some of the arguments, and suggests ways of pushing the research agenda forward. The contributions to this special issue emphasize the penetration of European institutions by actors set on slowing down or reversing the process of European integration and the growing weight of Eurosceptic views in the public sphere. In general, however, they express optimism as to the European Union institutions’ ability to contain this dissent. At the same time, two of the articles examine the role of contrasting visions of European integration in the explanation of the European Union’s current financial and economic crisis. They emphasize Germany’s change of heart with respect to the meaning and goals of European integration. This conclusion claims that diversity of visions on European integration matters because most states and their citizens are reluctant to further transfers of competences and sovereignty. Agreement has thus become more difficult. Furthermore, it argues that while Germany’s discourse on European integration has become more assertive, it is difficult to ascertain whether this change reveals an overall change of heart or simply results from the specific nature of the problems that are the subject of political debate.
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