European Integration - Essay Example

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Vanderbilt University
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There have been different theories that have been used to try and provide an approach to the understanding of European Integration. Among the many theories, both neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism have dominated. European integration has been defined differently, but for our case, the political integration has been the main focus. Political integration in Europe can be explain as the situation whereby political actors from different nations of political leaders from different countries with a distinct governance system are involved in agreements on the need to merge their interests or simply shift their loyalty from their government to a new government which is comprised of the different nations the political actors represent (Bickerton et al., 2014). The results of this chain of actions is a new political community which is superimposed of the previous separate governance systems. This brings in the integration theory which involves the analysis of the current situation and combining the features present in the situation so as to bring out a different but single better object from the situation (Cini, 2016). In this case the different government in Europe had there different approached on matters especially political and this had led to outbreak of wars and in the process of trying to avoid these different actors started coming up with different theories on how the wars would be avoided and this involved the bringing together the different parties that would have been involved in the wars so as to unit them to a common goal.

Integration theory is made up of two stages, and each stage is crucial for every situation that needs the application of this theory (Anderson, 2014). The two stages include the Preattentive Stage and the focused stage. The first stage which is the Preattentive stage, the stage involves the analysis of the object. In relation to the European integration, its involved the analysis of the different countries involved in the integration and the analysis of the countrys political systems. The state provides more information that is used in the following stage of the integration theory. The second stage is the focused attention stage, and in it, the individual feature of an object that have been analyzed are combined in order to perceive the whole object. I this case the stage involves the focus of the individual political policies with the different states and combining them to come up with a new political community.

Different theories have been addressed by different bodies and individual in European Integration. These involve theories such as Mitrany and functionality. In this theory, Mitrany opposed the federation approach and the single world government since he believed this would pose a threat to individual freedom hence result with uprisings among the individuals. As per the integration theory the first stage which is the Preattentive stage where analysis of the current features of an object is seen in the theory (Shore, 2013). And as per the analysis of this theory Mitrany assessment of the other theories he came up with his functionalism theory which involved the creation of separate international functional agencies which was to have control over different areas of the human life.

The other theory in the European integration was the Spinelli and Federalism. The sole purpose of European integration was to guarantee peace as seen in the introduction; the theory analyzed the war and its causes and the political authority in general. An analysis was conducted, and in the process, federalism found functionalism not capable of solving the problem the world was facing (KreuderSonnen, 2016). The second stage of integration theory is so important that it provides a chance to even analyze other possible solutions and see their level of success if applied.

Neofunctionalism was another theory which was drawn from the work of Mitrany and Monnet and did not assume that the state was a single unified actor. In the theories analysis which falls under stage one of the integration theory, neofunctionalism made analysis of the following key parts within the theory and included; the concept of the state was a complex subject as compare to how realist viewed it (Schneider, 2014). From the analysis the theory identified that non-state actors are important in international politics which was the theory's main goal. All these aids in the implementation of the theory which happens in stage two if integration theory. From this, we find the value attached to the stage.

Intergovernmentalism was the other popular theory which was in response to the neofunctionalism theory, and it drew a lot from realism as opposed to. For the stage one analysis, the theory deemed it right that European integration be viewed in a global context. Where regional integration would play a role in the global integration system (Hanf & Soetendorp, 2014). Also in the analysis, the powers that national government of individual countries posed was great and was to be considered during the European integration. This would end up controlling the pace at which integration within the countries would take. Different analysis were made prior the integration.

Integration theory plays a huge role in the European integration as seen the different steps within the theory and the application of the main step of the theory as well. The nature of actions taken during the European integration relied on the first step which entailed that analysis of the current situation within the actors involved in the European integration.


Anderson, N. H. (2014). Contributions To Information Integration Theory: Volume 1: Cognition. Psychology Press.

Bickerton, C. J., Hodson, D., & Puetter, U. (2015). The new intergovernmentalism: European integration in the postMaastricht era. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 53(4), 703-722.

Cini, M. (2016). European union politics. Oxford University Press.

Hanf, K., & Soetendorp, B. (Eds.). (2014). Adapting to European integration: small states and the European Union. Routledge.

KreuderSonnen, C. (2016). Beyond Integration Theory: The (Anti) Constitutional Dimension of European Crisis Governance. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 54(6), 1350-1366.

Richardson, J., & Mazey, S. (Eds.). (2015). European Union: power and policy-making. Routledge.

Schneider, J. (2014). New Insights into Assimilation and Integration Theory. J. Schneider, M. Crul (eds.) Theorising Integration and Assimilation.

Shore, C. (2013). Building Europe: The cultural politics of European integration. Routledge.

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