Saturday, March 21, 2009
What I'm Reading
McCormick, J. (2008). Understanding the European Union. United
Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.
I really enjoyed the book by McCormick, which was a very thorough and
up to date explanation of the origins and history of the European
Union. The book starts with a general description of international
organizations of various kinds, and defines the terms used in the
discussion: states, nations, confederations, et cetera.
The subject of integration is raised and functionalism discussed.
Cooperation leads to becoming so integrated that small changes will
begin to occur on larger issues.
Regional integration is a fact around the world. Some regions are
better integrated, and some regions have institutional problems that
prevent better integration.
The author gives an historical analysis of the evolution of the
European Union and steps toward integration. The problems encountered
and the solutions proposed were over come through continued
negotiations, trying different solutions until policy consensus is
reached. There is still work to be done on a constitution, and a
common foreign policy.
McCormick filled a large gap in my knowledge of European Union
internal politics and decision making. The European Commission, the
Council of Ministers, and the Parliament all have a part in the
decision making process. The roles of the Court of Justice, and the
European Council are described.
The European role in the global economy is examined, along with
development aid for former colonies.
The book is up dated to 2008, with most recent accessions to the EU
included. The book?s argument that the rise of the European Union is
one of the most important developments in global politics is valid,
and I agree with it. I think the peaceful growth of the EU is why the
subject has been devalued in United States media and culture. Violent
change always attracts attention. The EU, by virtue of its quiet
change, does not attract the short attention span of United States media.