Germany and Europe: a New Tone or Politics as Usual?’ – a Projection of the German EU Presidency
The German EU Presidency, from January to June 2007, will face numerous challenges among which the most important consists in helping Europe emerge from the deep Constitutional crisis in which it is embedded and of reenergising the enlargement project. Furthermore, it will be necessary to tackle several dossiers linked to the Lisbon Agenda, energy policy and re-launching the Constitutional project, as well as issues relating to Justice and Home Affairs, immigration policy, the struggle against terror and a wide array of topics including the European Neighbourhood Policy. The agenda is, therefore, both heavy and complex.
Unfortunately, the threat of an international crisis and the French elections will significantly reduce the policy options for Germany, because Germany’s European policy can only be discussed within the framework of its relationship with France. To reenergise the European project, the traditional “Franco-German engine” will have to act in close cooperation with other large and small EU states. Europe’s strength resides in its ability to change and adapt to new challenges and opportunities. The fundamental issues of Europe’s future, defence and energy, require an open frame of mind and forward thinking. Simultaneously, they necessitate a clear definition of all of Europe’s interests, not solely those of France and Germany. It is up to a new and modern thinking Franco-German duo to devise clear strategies in order to respond to these new challenges.
Keywords: European future, Franco-German duo, German presidency
A Strained European Model. Is Eastern Enlargement to Blame?
As anticipated, the recent enlargement has put considerable pressure on the European construction, as most of the EU15 member countries are economically and socially strained and policy-makers have a very hard time in devising proper answers to society’s ills. The paper examines various factors which have strained the European Social Model and which, arguably, make this period of Euro-pessimism quite peculiar. It looks at the race for competitiveness in today’s world and the economic rise of Asia; it looks at some inner dynamics in the European societies (demographics, the crisis of the welfare state, a sort of decadence) and it tries to explore what lies ahead, including policy options. An underlying thesis herein is that eastern enlargement is not the culprit for the current pains of the EU member countries, though it may have accentuated some.
Keywords: competitiveness, European Social Model, globalization
Legal Autonomy vs. Political Power: What is the Role of the European Court of Justice in the European Integration?
Rufat R. Babayev
The European Court of Justice, founded as one of the main institutions of the European Union, has greatly contributed to further deepen the integration process. At the same time, the ECJ is one of the most controversial institutions. The article strives to present the role of the Court of Justice within the European architecture, analysing the debate between the two most important theoretical frameworks in the field: the legal autonomy approach and the political power approach.
Keywords: European Court of Justice, integration, legal authonomy, polical power approach
The European Union and Partnerships with Developing Countries – the Case of ACP Region
The EU has developed a wide cooperation network with developing countries based on trade, cooperation, aid and other aspects. These bilateral and regional agreements serve various and specific interests of the EU and the concerned countries and cover not only trade, but also other broad issues. However, above those remain the main goals of the EU in the area of the common commercial policy, development policy and external relations policy. The trend of regional integration and regional trade agreements proliferation has influenced these relations as well. The article will examine this trend in the network of EU trade agreements with developing countries, specifically with the African, Caribbean and Pacific region. Some critical issues of the EU – ACP cooperation will be identified.
Keywords: challenges of Economic Partnership agreements, European Union and Developing Countries, Regional Trade Agreements
Romania in the Context of Globalization, Regionalization and Convergence
The economic convergence is an instrument of harmonization in areas with high degree of economic integration. For Romania, it is important to know the degree of fulfillment of the convergence criteria and the impact of the policies which sustain their achievement, because few studies had as object the analysis of the degree of fulfillment in countries like Romania and Bulgaria, which were included in the latest EU extension wave. We use different methods in order to show the cointegration process and the results. The techniques applied to the statistical data regarding the nominal convergence (the consolidated budget deficit as a share of GDP, the share of public debt in GDP, the rate of inflation, the interest rate and the exchange rate) have revealed some results which appear in others studies too, namely that Romania integrates in the fixed target Maastricht criteria (the budget deficit as a share of GDP, the share of public debt in GDP) and follows a pattern of convergence for the other criteria.
Keywords: convergence, integration, regionalization, Romania
Book Review: Jan Zielonka, ‘Europe as Empire: The Nature of the Enlarged European Union’
Jan Zielonka, the author of the book, advances a metaphor and a line of reasoning in favour of enlargement. As metaphor, Zielonka’s book proposes a new angle to understand what at first sight seems difficult to comprehend, namely the complexity and diversity of the European Union project. As an argument for enlargement, the book is an attempt to contrast the positive and negative aspects of this process and using the imperial metaphor to normatively justify it as beneficial for both old and new member states. As structure, the book is balanced, neatly separating the discussion about the impact of enlargement on the nature of the EU from the functioning of an enlarged EU in the fields of economy, democracy and external policy.
Keywords: enlargement, European Integration, institutional reform