International Relations, International Institutions, and the European State

Andrew Hurrell and Anand Menon

in Governing Europe

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199250158
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599439 | DOI:
 International Relations, International Institutions, and the European State

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This chapter takes a broad look at the impact exerted by international economic and political pressures on patterns of government and governance in Europe. It assesses the degree to which, as a consequence of the end of the Cold War and of the forces of globalization, these pressures are changing, and considers the implications of such change. It is argued in the first section of the chapter that the profound impact of the external environment on the character of the European state has been all too evident, despite the internalist tendencies of so much comparativist scholarship; moreover, West European states continue to confront several external challenges to the stability that has, since the Second World War, characterized their half of the Old Continent. The first challenge comes from the continued development of the very forces of liberalization that have played such an important role in Europe's recent past, changes that, for the sake of convenience, can be categorized under the heading of ‘globalization’; the second section examines some of the major aspects of the globalization debate as it relates to the European state, but takes a sceptical viewpoint. The second challenge comes from the changes in the international political system (the emergence of the United States as the single superpower; the collapse of the Soviet Union; the changing character of the security problems facing Europe); an emphasis on these changes can be found most prominently in the writings of US neo–realists who asserted that the end of the Cold War would inevitably result in Europe returning to its geopolitical and conflictual ‘historic norm’. In the third section it is shown why such extreme predictions have been proved wrong but nevertheless argues that the neo–realist emphasis on the international political system is, in a fundamental sense, correct.

Keywords: economic pressures; Europe; European states; globalization; governance; government; history; international institutions; international political system; international relations; liberalization; neo—realism; political pressures; security; Soviet Union; stability; United States; Western Europe

Chapter.  9923 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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