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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Is the increase in countries into the EU a more media-friendly alternative to increasing measures to further integrate the countries in the EU?

    What are the consequences of such a choice?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Collissimon,

    Your question displays rare insight. I will try to prepare a response in due course. For now, I will add only that integration of new countries is not always analogous with integration within the EU. I trust that other members of this esteemed forum will further expand upon this.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    collissimon,

    "Is the increase in countries into the EU a more media-friendly alternative to increasing measures to further integrate the countries in the EU?"

    Simple answer, No. The EU doesn't either expand or integrate further based on what the media thinks.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I agree. The original question doesn't make much sense to me. Enlargement and integration seem to be equally unpopular these days. On the other hand, if there can be no integration because of lacking political will, it does make perfect sense to opt for more enlargement as this will at least extend the benefits of the single market to more countries.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Firstly, I must apologise: the advantages of placing open-ended questions is that you can get a much more fruitful debate than if you railroaded people into a specific sub-topic... the disadvantages is that your intention/question can be misunderstood, so will try and explain my question fuller below, and hope this overcomes any misunderstandings.

    As I think has been discussed in other parts of this forum, the path of the EU is far from clear. The options that I see:
    I) The EU disbands/reduces itself to a loose economic association. I believe this is now pretty unlikely, and to pin my colours to the mast, undesirable. To do so would take something pretty drastic, which in turn is unlikely, because of the measures the EU has introduced in the same way.

    I'll discuss II and III at the same time, as I believe they are intrinsically linked. The EU is a modernist machine, one that needs to continually move forward/progress, and be seen to be doing so. For this to stop would be an acknowledgement of the failure of the European project, and lead ultimately to I). This leads leaders of the EU with two main choices: II) Expansion of members and III) Further integration of member states.

    This leaves the drivers behind the EU with a choice, and I believe that they have chosen to expand membership (which, to be clear is not to say that new entrants shouldn't be a part of the EU, or that they're not ready etc.: I'm not going to fit into any dratted Old/New Europe binary!), because it is less politically problematic than choosing a course of integration. I disagree with comments that say the media has no influence on what the EU decides. It is ridiculous, when comparing the de-problematised maps shown in newspapers with expansion (esp. the Independent: they love their maps!), to the furore surrounding the Constitution. Choosing expansion justifies the existence of the EU, abling it to move forward as an institution, yet remaining (relatively) unproblematic.

    We are now dealing with the consequences of this political choice. It has been a success insofar as the EU cannot now blink into extinction without affecting nearly half a billion people. However, as an institutional structure, the EU is built on sand. It is based on a democratic structure that is meant for only six countries. However, the policy of expansion has failed in that integration is still as politically unpopular as it was before, yet there are more interest parties to ossify the process.

    Where do we go from here? Do we continue with an increasingly problematised expansion (which necessitates further integration; and the encountering of the Other of Turkey, and to an extent the Balkans) or a politically unpopular, but necessary integration?

    (Hope this clarifies a little!)

    cs
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    collissimon: Doesn't I. go hand in hand with II.?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    They are all inter-linked, but I'm not quite sure I follow what you mean
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I believe you are right but i do not believe that the expansion stems from a political will to hinder integration. I believe, however, that it is the other way around. Through expansion we added new members that are not used being "European" unlike their Western (continental) neighbours. Euroscepticism is therefore a not the cause but the result of expansion.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    It's not so much to hinder integration, but that expansion is less problematic (to begin with) than integration.

    I suppose the question is, how do you combat Euroscepticism?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    collissimon - what I mean by "II. goes hand in hand with I." is that [temporarily] giving up on the [according to some views] illusory goal of political integration will make it possible to enlarge the single market and thus to maximize the benefits of the EU in a situation when further integration among existing members has mostly stalled anyway.