Chapter

Introduction: Amsterdam and Beyond

Antje Wiener and Karlheinz Neunreither

in European Integration After Amsterdam

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296409
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599989 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198296401.003.0001
 Introduction: Amsterdam and Beyond

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European integration is at a turning point. While, in the past, students of the process focused on the development and institutional accommodation of major projects, the new challenge lies in grappling with the implications of an ongoing, step‐by‐step process of constitution‐making. The major (economic) projects, such as the common market and Economic and Monetary Union, having been launched in previous decades and now underway, other often less spectacular, albeit far‐reaching (political) promises, such as the constitutionally entrenched offer of membership to other democratic European states, or the creation of closer links with the citizens, remain to be fully addressed. The book demonstrates that the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) sustains the notion of a turning point that is supported by the research agenda evolving from Amsterdam. That notion stems from the paradox of a high degree of continuity of step‐by‐step constitutional politics despite a new pluralism and a return of intergovernmental politics. While the importance of major economic projects cannot be overestimated, rather than launching a new project, Amsterdam raises questions about the problems posed by the continuity stressed by the transferral of these economic projects into day‐to‐day politics and policy‐making in a non‐state. In sum, with no major new economic projects launched, Amsterdam casts light on day‐to‐day politics that pose a new challenge for the project of governance in a non‐state. Amsterdam hence emphasizes the constitutional turn of the 1990s, raising the question of which principles govern this polity with a new urgency. The book's chapters address the problem in their turn, and from different theoretical positions.

Keywords: citizens; constitution; European integration; governance; intergovernmental politics; membership; pluralism; policy‐making; polity; Treaty of Amsterdam

Chapter.  5255 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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