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.

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