Disintegration via monetary union
Author: Tom Gallagher

Cooperation and trust were increasingly scarce commodities in the inner councils of the EU. This book explores why the boldest initiative in the sixty-year quest to achieve a borderless Europe has exploded in the face of the EU. A close examination of each stage of the EU financial emergency that offers evidence that the European values that are supposed to provide solidarity within the twenty eight-member EU in good times and bad are flimsy and thinly distributed. The book aims to show that it is possible to view the difficulties of the EU as rooted in much longer-term decision-making. It begins with an exploration of the long-term preparations that were made to create a single currency encompassing a large part of the European Union. The book then examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. It focuses on the role of France and Germany in the EU. Difficulties that have arisen for the EU as it has tried to foster a new European consciousness are discussed next. The increasingly strained relationship between the EU and the democratic process is also examined. The book discusses the evolution of the crisis in the eurozone and the shortcomings which have impeded the EU from bringing it under control. It ends with a portrait of a European Union in 2013 wracked by mutual suspicions.

How the weak vanquished the strong
Author: Tom Gallagher

According to this book, Romania's predatory rulers, the heirs of the sinister communist dictator Ceauşescu, have inflicted a humiliating defeat on the European Union. The book argues that Brussels was tricked into offering full membership to this Balkan country in return for substantial reforms which its rulers now refuse to carry out. It unmasks the failure of the EU to match its visionary promises of transforming Romania with the shabby reality. Benefiting from access to internal reports and leading figures involved in a decade of negotiations, the book shows how Eurocrats were outwitted by unscrupulous local politicians who turned the EU's multi-level decision-making processes into a laughing-stock. The EU's famous ‘soft power’ turned out to be a mirage, as it was unable to summon up the willpower to insist that this key Balkan state embraced its standards of behaviour in the political and economic realms. The book unravels policy failures in the areas of justice, administrative and agricultural reform, showing how Romania moved backwards politically during the years of negotiations.

Tom Gallagher

This chapter examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, unveiled a plan to modernise coal and steel production and form an economic 'community' to that effect, one which embraced Germany. The key departure was that, under Maastricht, every member state, except Britain and Denmark, in principle relinquished its long-term right to make its own monetary policy. It was agreed to create a European Central Bank to take the lead in managing a new single currency that would replace national currencies. The European Parliament was unable to call it to account after 2009 when it flouted the Maastricht Treaty by organising successive bail-outs of insolvent bank.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Tom Gallagher

A primary goal of the EU has been to promote a popular sense of European consciousness so as to enable allegiances to shift from individual nation-states to a European centre. This chapter examines the difficulties that have arisen for the EU as it has tried to foster a new European consciousness. The political system of the EU will be truly fortunate if it is able to devise institutions which possess a fraction of the legitimacy enjoyed by the various pillars of Swiss group identity. The EU's role as a collective sustainer of constructive nationalism appeared very threadbare as the post-2009 financial crisis gathered pace. The European cause found it hard to draw on the resources of allegiance and identity commonly available to many nations during periods of difficulty.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Tom Gallagher

One of the chief casualties of the extended economic crisis in the EU has been democratic politics. The EU's own mechanisms for decision-making have been set aside at particular moments; a core group of countries has assumed responsibility for crisis management. This chapter examines the increasingly strained relationship between the EU and the democratic process. It argues that ethical standards and competent decision-making are becoming casualties of the democratic deficit. The crisis which rocked the EU at the end of the 1990s briefly brought to the surface the view that the then thirteen-member EU was divided on a North-South basis in its attitude to public morality. The European Parliament, briefly emboldened by having taken resolute action against abuses inside the Commission, slumped back into torpor despite acquiring some increased powers as a result of the Maastricht Treaty.

in Europe’s path to crisis
The triumph of ideology over good sense
Tom Gallagher

Among some of its most fervent advocates, European Monetary Union was meant to bring about the final merging of European destinies into a common political entity. This chapter explores the long term preparations that were made to create a single currency encompassing a large part of the European Union. It shows how the impetus was essentially political, to erode the power of the nation-state and speed up the installation of a supra-national alternative through hurtling towards monetary union. For most of the existence of the European Union, the push towards integration has involved political leaders trying to achieve common ground around a uniform monetary policy for Europe. The euro was exposed as top-down political project in the hands of politicians, functionaries and lobbyists who had lost touch with some essential aspects of political reality. From 2009 onwards, the limitations of the euro were exposed by a deepening financial crisis.

in Europe’s path to crisis
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The EU’s odd couple
Tom Gallagher

This chapter focuses on the role of France and Germany in the EU. Both states have often exercised dominance at key moments and have collaborated to drive the integration project forward. Converging Europe has been a story about how these two national giants determined the extent to which their core interests could be reconciled with advancing the European project. Konrad Adenauer had never been an enthusiastic German in the political sense even before the disastrous advent of Hitler. From Charles de Gaulle to Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, French strategy towards the European Union was too often based exclusively on ways of extracting national advantage from Europe or else promoting the personal agenda of a head of state enjoying semi-regal powers. The blows directed against the cause of building an EU with strong economic and political authority by France were harder ones than those mounted by any Eurosceptics.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Tom Gallagher

This chapter explores the first major steps in the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Romania, culminating in the start of entry negotiations in 2000 and the return to power in 2001 of the Social Democratic Party, which would be the chief Romanian interlocutor with the EU over the next four years. Ion Iliescu's strategy of cautious democratisation without meaningful de-communisation remained largely intact. Progress with the EU application appeared to be the most realistic option for strengthening ties with the West. The EU's institutions of multilevel governance proved remarkably prone to lobbying from the Romanian state and the allies it had meanwhile cultivated in Western Europe in order to advance its cause. The 1999–2000 medium-term economic strategy proved to be an ephemeral document and the EU failed to prioritise vital areas such as administrative reform. The EU's multi-layered decision-making system failed to produce a hard-headed cost-benefit analysis.

in Romania and the European Union
Tom Gallagher

This chapter describes how the government of Adrian Năstase succeeded in convincing the European Union (EU) that it was committed to fulfilling many of the economic criteria for entry, and explores the strategy which the Party of Romanian Social Democracy (PDSR) employed in order to boost its credibility in Brussels. The EU was a hugely important external power with temporary sovereignty over the development of Romanian policy in major respects, but the PDSR hoped that adept footwork in the bullring of EU negotiations would similarly disorientate a potentially disruptive opponent. The EU itself impeded the chances of Romanian politics growing more representative by some of the decisions that it took. The Partidul Social Democrat (PSD) (Social Democratic Party) hoped that the EU and leading Council members would accept economic reform in the context of a state still subject to strong one-party influence.

in Romania and the European Union
Tom Gallagher

This chapter investigates the European Union (EU) aid assistance programmes which meant to drive forward the modernisation of the country so that it could compete effectively with existing members upon joining the Union. The Commission and the Delegation both found it difficult to keep track of Phare projects. The largest Phare project was the Enterprise Restructuring and Professional Conversion Programme (RICOP) scheme. The RICOP project appeared not to be part of a wider development strategy and seemed concerned with overcoming specific short-term problems that threatened to delay progress with meeting the accession terms. The EU often struggled to obtain reliable information on the implementation and impact of its programmes. Romania had a limited capacity to manage EU funds, which would not increase significantly as the years rolled on, and risked losing much of the pre-accession funding allocated to it due to its inability to devise feasible projects.

in Romania and the European Union