Book review: Bart Gaens, Juha Jokela, Eija Limnell (Eds), The Role of the European Union in Asia, Farnham, Ashgate, 2009. Reviewed by Basil Germond
Author: Basil Germond
Considering the ―re-discovery‖ of Asia in the late 1980‘s and its economic and strategic implications
for Europe, this edited volume looks into ―the interaction between Europe and Asia, focusing on the European Union‘s (EU) strategic partnerships with China and India‖ (p.1). The volume consists of the editors‘ introduction (highlighting the special features of EU‘s international actorness, the specificities of China and India, as well as the relevance of the regional contexts), followed by 10 chapters (dealing with different aspects of the strategies developed by the EU towards Asia), and a conclusion (summarizing the key determinants of the partnerships with China and India, and offering policy-oriented recommendations). Various topics are considered, viz. the weight of regional realities, the feasibility of a single voice approach, the prevalence of the Member States in formulating common strategies towards Asia, the potential evolution of the current equilibrium between the ―first‖ and the ―third‖ worlds, the balance between economic interests and right-based goals, China‘s and India‘s own views and policies regarding their partnerships with the EU, and China-India relationships. While tackling different issues, the various chapters offer a comprehensive discussion about EU-China-India relationships and allow pinpointing some very interesting and recurrent elements of the current EU‘s strategies towards Asia.
Book review: David Gowland, Arthur Turner and Alex Wright, Britain and European Integration since 1945: On the Sidelines. (London and New York: Routledge), 2010. Reviewed by: Laurie Buonanno
Author: Laurie Buonnano
The subtitle of this informative and well-written book captures a consistent theme in an historical approach to Britain and European integration—that the UK has not been simply a querulous cousin (the awkward partner) but has bungled a series of unprecedented opportunities to lead on the major questions facing postwar Europe. The first seven chapters are divided into periods reflecting the distinct challenges with the eighth chapter serving as a basis for summing up and drawing conclusions. Chapter 1 covers the
period between 1945-1955.
Author: Thierry Brugvin
There is an influence, a dialectic relation between the strength of ideas, public powers and economic forces (institutions, economic elites, financial capital and production forces). In this context, we are analyzing the mechanisms of uneven, illegal and non-democratic governance. The state often serves the interests of the ETN, mainly for reasons of national energy independence. The elites accumulating economic and political power – in particular the banking elites and institutions – endanger democracy. Moreover, professional associations (lobbies) sometimes have a stronger influence on the elected officials than the electors themselves. Finally, the behavior of the elites is due on the one hand to the psychosociological dimension relating to the need for power (more or less repressed). On the other hand, relating to the social pressure exercised by their pairs and to imitation, it is due to isomorphism as a way of remaining faithful to the practices of one’s own environment, culture and codes.
Keywords: non-democracy, elites, governance, illegality, psycho-sociology
Author: Luigi Moccia
The evolutionary dynamics set in motion since the beginnings of the integration process for an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, although still far from reaching the goal of the federation of Europe, moves along the direction of empowering the Union’s political and institutional structure and character as an autonomous community of both states and citizens, “founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity”, so defined in the preamble of the Charter of fundamental rights of the Union. From this perspective, the central tenet of the paper is that a major and most fruitful integrative factor, of both theoretical value and practical effect, which sets the link between constitutionalisation and democratic legitimation of European Union is (should be) represented by the citizenship of the Union or, in a more emphatic and symbolic way, the European citizenship: being a new kind of citizenship, not referring any longer to a state (territorial) legal order but to an area (including member states territories) without internal frontiers (the so-called area of freedom, security and justice), where European fellow citizens could (as a rule of principle tolerating but a few and limited exceptions) freely move, reside, work, do business and so forth, in absence of constraints and of any form of discrimination on grounds of nationality.
Keywords: Charter of fundamental rights, citizens, European citizenship, EU, Lisabon Treaty
Author: Alina Bârgăoanu,Roxana Maria Dascălu
The article starts from the idea that the absorption of the Structural Instruments and of the rural development
related funds available for Romania in the 2007-2013 has become nearly an “obsession”. This – among other things–is a source of blindness to other European funds, the so-called Community Programmes. The rate of participation of Romanian institutions to such programmes is rather low, which has some far-reaching effects. The case is analyzed against the theoretical framework provided by theories, mechanisms and effects of Europeanization.
Keywords: Community Programmes, Regional and Cohesion Policy Europeanization, Romania, Structural Instruments, thematic policies