Re-thinking European Integration in the Shadow of Crisis: Politics, institutions and Governance
This workshop was designed to prepare a Special Issue of West European Politics which has been published in 2016. Europe’s Union faces a set of inter-related crises that it struggles to contain and address. The Great Recession had a severe impact on the Eurozone when the global financial crisis morphed into a deep crisis of the single currency in autumn 2009. The Eurozone crisis was perceived and experienced as an existential one for Europe’s single currency by leading politicians, journalists and academics. The EU faced not a single Eurozone crisis but instead a confluence of overlapping and interrelated political, institutional, governance crises for the Eurozone as a whole and its member states. The second exogenous shock came from Europe’s neighbourhood. Having essentially been created to pacify inter-state relations in Europe and negate geopolitics, the Union was confronted with the re-emergence of an assertive Russia when Putin annexed Crimea and began a proxy war in Eastern Ukraine. This shattered the Union’s neighbourhood policy, a policy that was built on market access, a diffusion of governance norms and soft conditionality. Europe’s normative power came face to face with Russian hard power. Instability to the East and South has triggered a large movement of people seeking protection in Europe. Crises are ‘open moments’ that impact on rulers and ruled, testing existing paradigms, policies, institutional roles and rules. At this time of change and transition in the EU, it was important to take stock of the impact of these multifaceted crises on the Union and to ask if scholars needed to re-think integration and the study of integration in light of the crisis.