Chapter

Beyond Amsterdam: Regional Integration as Social Process

Beate Kohler‐Koch

in European Integration After Amsterdam

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296409
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599989 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198296401.003.0005
 Beyond Amsterdam: Regional Integration as Social Process

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The future of European integration will not be decided by Intergovernmental Conferences. Political integration is a social process that can best be analysed by taking a bottom‐up approach. We have to explore the societal forces that shape the living constitution of the EU and contribute to the emergence of a European political space. The chapter presents the theoretical argument and empirical findings on the basis of own research. Investigation of the involvement of regions and interest groups in EU affairs provides strong evidence that the EU is a political region in the strict sense. For a multitude of actors, it is a privileged arena for pursuing their interests. By their acceptance and support, transnational problem‐solving strategies become a shared concept of governance. Nevertheless, the Europeanization of belief systems and of political organization still has a strong national bias. The EU will not become a substitute for the nation‐state but will remain a ‘Europe with states’.

Keywords: constitution; European integration; European Union; governance; interest groups; intergovernmental conferences; nation‐state; political integration; regions; social process; nation‐state

Chapter.  10192 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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