Political Europe in the Making

Funding: OTKA 
Duration: September 1, 2014 - March 31, 2018 (42 months)

The European Union was born to promote regional integration. With unique polities, none could have predicted its evolution from former political experiences—the bloc’s configuration had no precedent. Many theoretical views seeking to explain the EU’s political dynamics seemed to fit, which resulted only in competing answers. The project “Political Europe in the Making” started with the goal of reviewing these perspectives and planning a solid political theoretical framework: one through which we can map out the EU’s policy dynamics.

As the EU grew larger, politicization in the bloc increased, which led to opportunities and conflicts. Many conflicts were visible when the EU faced the unfolding economic crisis of 2009: ad hoc policy solutions and ideas to reform the bloc put at stake the idea that the consensus of the European elite could guarantee the success of the European project. In fact, they helped many politicians to urge that regional integration was a fallacy. 

Built upon conflict and politicization in the EU, the project maps out the issue by comparing literature and advancing the current theoretical framework. To do that, it adopts constructivist, actor-centered, rationalist, and conflictualist perspectives in a unique research design. This way, the researcher will gauge the impact of conflicts, political spaces, and democracy in the EU. It will also offer a glimpse of the bloc’s integration perspectives for the future.

Planned to come out in a printed book, the project may inform how policymakers can take advantage of the very conflictual nature of EU’s polities. That’s precisely why the research is timely; by casting light on these issues, it also points out pathways that lead to what the EU first sought to achieve: regional opportunities. 

Principal investigator (PI):

Zoltán Gábor Szűcs

Research Fellow 
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