A final chapter sets out an argument about the role of labour in the process
of European integration. Rather than facilitating Europeanization, as
certain theories predict, relations between separate labour movements tend
to be based on national interests and, within EMU, exploitative relations
form between strong and weak. It is argued that such developments validate
intergovernmentalist theories of European integration and, consistent with
an emerging agenda which underlines the capacity of the EU to disintegrate,
point to the ability of labour sectionalism to undermine the European
project. An agenda for future research is also outlined, which encourages
investigation into asymmetric relations between labour movements, the
capacity of actors to prioritize competing goals and the manner in which
non-state actors drive the (dis)integration process. Finally, it is stressed
that the endurance of the EU is unequivocally in the interests of labour;
the book ends with evaluation of ways in which the EU might be reformed so
as to strengthen institutional grounds for labour cooperation.
This chapter explores the reasons for the state of surprise, sketching them out from the starting point of the significant impact of the collapse of the USSR on Western understandings of Russia. It also explores the practical ramifications for the decline of Russia as a political priority on the wider political stage. The chapter outlines some of the problems of the current mainstream discussion of Russia, which is drowning in a discourse of speculation and rumour, 'Putinology' and historical analogies. Despite the dominance of transitological/regime question approach and the perceived eccentricity of Kremlinology, for many it has remained a truism of Russian political life that the final decisions are made behind the closed doors of the Kremlin. In fact, the collapse of the USSR has had serious ramifications for the study of Russia in the West, resulting in a major reassessment of Soviet studies, often bitter and acrimonious.