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The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (Cornell Studies in Political Economy) [Paperback]

Andrew Moravcsik
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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15 Oct 1998 Cornell Studies in Political Economy
The creation of the European Union arguably ranks among the most extraordinary achievements in modern world politics. Observers disagree, however, about the reasons why European governments have chosen to co- ordinate core economic policies and surrender sovereign perogatives. This text analyzes the history of the region's movement toward economic and political union. Do these unifying steps demonstrate the pre-eminence of national security concerns, the power of federalist ideals, the skill of political entrepreneurs like Jean Monnet and Jacques Delors, or the triumph of technocratic planning? Moravcsik rejects such views. Economic interdependence has been, he maintains, the primary force compelling these democracies to move in this surprising direction. Politicians rationally pursued national economic advantage through the exploitation of asymmetrical interdependence and the manipulation of institutional commitments.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (15 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801485096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801485091
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 748,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine study of capital's rationale for EU 11 Jun 2001
Format:Paperback
In this deeply researched book, Andrew Moravcsik studies five key moves toward wider and deeper European integration: the Treaties of Rome, consolidating the Common Market, monetary integration, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. He argues that the member governments chose ever closer union in order to promote their countries' economic interests. He aims to prove that economic interests, not political ideas, drive EU integration. He focuses on how the governments of Germany, France and Britain made their decisions.
Moravcsik argues that the British government's policy in the 1950s of opposition to joining the Common Market "was the rational one for a government that traded little with the Continent, had high tariffs in place, and feared competition with German producers." So there was economic logic to staying out. It is less clear that there was good reason for the subsequent reversal of policy: trading with a bloc does not oblige us to join it!
He shows that De Gaulle vetoed Britain's application not out of chauvinism, but because we opposed generous financing for French farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy. In 1969, Pompidou lifted the veto, but only in exchange for the British government's huge concession of agreeing to a permanent financing arrangement for the CAP. This made it CAP reform impossible.
Similarly, member governments have pursued integration through creating the Single Market and EMU. Moravcsik shows how Europe's multinational companies and the national employers' organisations backed integration. The European Commission admitted, "The single market programme has done more for business than it has for workers", a judgment true also of Economic and Monetary Union.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good 2 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the book is in very good condition. dispatch and delivery time was very reasonable. Great book for everyone who is interested in the roots of the EU theory.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Political science for European integration historians 1 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For once, here is a general text purporting to analyse the history of European integration that actually lives up to its billing. It is quite rightly considered a tour de force. Indeed, Andrew Moravcsik's "The choice for Europe" has already established itself as one of the most important publications to date on this subject. While it is obvious that the continued evolution of the European Union has been one of the most `extraordinary political achievements' to have taken place during the 20th century, the reasons why this community of states was created in the first place and the ways in which it has since developed have not always been so convincingly explained or succinctly outlined, that is until now. What Robert Keohane describes on the fly-cover as the `most compelling and significant analysis yet of the European Community' is just that.
Moravcsik is not a historian, but in this text he tries to integrate political science theory into a historical study of European unity; this is in order to discover why there has been such a high-level of cooperation between Western European states during the last half-century. His book fills an important gap in our knowledge by tracing the somewhat erratic developments that have led to a greater degree of economic and political union gradually being instituted throughout this region and by placing these in a theoretical perspective.
In this most accessible work, he persuasively argues that economic interdependence has been the prime motivator in successive governments making these rational choices. One of the weak (and strong) points however regarding Moravcsik's investigation is that it only focuses on the big European powers - Germany, Great Britain and France, as well as the European Commission - and does not really delve into small-power politics. Questions such as how these smaller nations tried to operate within, or negotiate entry into, the EEC as they became more aware and realistic about their world positions, how they operated in relation to the big powers, et cetera, must wait until their specific histories have been chronicled before they can be answered. At least historians now have a tool to do so.
In taking the case studies that he does, Moravcsik examines them in the context of what he sees as the five decisive agreements that have driven European integration all the way from Messina to Maastricht: via the Treaties of Rome in 1957, the EC Merger Treaty and other consolidatory and expansionary agreements enacted during the 1960s, the various examples of European monetary integration during the 1970s and early 1980s, and the Single European Act of 1986, all the way to Economic and Monetary Union in 1991. In so doing, he develops his thesis on integration history to fit the facts rather than the other way round, while providing a critique of existing theories and presenting us with one of the best existing analyses on this topic. This volume by Moravcsik is clearly a strong basis for future historiographical debate.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent revisionist overview of European integration 9 Mar 2000
By Willem Noe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I found this book one of the best I have read on European integration history. It is a good example of revisionist history at its best. Compared to other books i have studied on the same subject this one makes a number of novel points and gives a completely different emphasis on driving factors & driving actors of the process of EU integration, putting the role of the Member States at centre stage all the way, and their economic interests as primary driving elements. To me, as an economist, this sounded convincing and certainly puts a novel slant on the traditional 'high politics' integration story. At the same time, I also found it a somewhat depressing account of the ineffectiveness of the Commission at crucial times of decision making. The book certainly puts into question some cherished notions about the role and functioning of the Commission, and since I am proud to work there it was not easy to take this in.
I found the first chapter hard going and somewhat obtruse, although i can appreciate the methodological points he makes, which are all to often ingnored. Once one is through that, though, the real story begins and a fascinating account it is, especially since it certainly does not follow the analysis i have read previously on this subject.
An excellent reference work, and certain to stimulate many a (heated) debate.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Renewing the Debate about the Causes of European Integration 15 July 2000
By Dr. C. G. Mazzucelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Andrew Moravcsik boldly makes the case for the centrality of the three largest member states in the construction of Europe. In this volume, Moravcsik articulates his "liberal intergovernmentalist" (LI) framework of analysis and utilizes primary sources to strengthen his response to Paul Pierson's "historical institutionalist" (HI) account of European integration. As Moravcsik explains, in making the choice for Europe
"...it was the deliberate triumphs of European integration, not its unintended side-effects, that appear to have increased support for further integration. This is the key point of divergence between HI theory and the tri-partite "liberal intergovernmentalist" interpretation advanced here. For most governments, inducing economic modernization-even with unpleasant side-effects-was the major purpose of European integration." (p. 491)
One of the strongest contributions of Moravcsik's volume is to revisit the classic neo-functionalist-intergovernmentalist debate and to place it in a new theoretical context. To Moravcsik's credit, this tome offers a detailed, thorough and remarkably organized assessment of competing explanations in the European integration literature. Students and scholars of integration will grapple with the issues raised as a result of this work for years to come.
Moravcsik's volume challenges the "myths" of European integration and calls into question the relevance of actions taken by supranational entrepreneurs. National versus supranational debates notwithstanding, Monnet's (and later Delor's) talent was to seize a moment in history when Europe was at the brink of continuity or change. Monnet's use of crisis as opportunity sought to alter fundamentally the way in which France and Germany interacted within the European system. Is this not the essence of the Schuman Plan in 1950, namely, to use the opportunity to modernize France economically as part of an equation to make future wars with its neighbor across the Rhine impossible?
Although convergence was already apparent among European economies, did the initial political decision to pool the critical resources in the making of war, to integrate in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), require individuals like Schuman, Monnet, Adenauer and Hallstein to work against the fact that European states mistrusted each other and were therefore disinclined to integrate? It is most unfortunate that volume length does not permit Moravcsik to cover this initial case. In the light of the ECSC experience, was the agreement to create the Common Market in 1958 intrinsically about making European countries richer? The archival research of Raymond Poidevin and Andreas Wilkens sheds light on the experience of the ECSC. Their writings may help us evaluate the extent to which the initial experiments in integration, including the aborted European Political Community (EPC) and European Defense Community (EDC), influenced the interests of the Six during the Treaty of Rome negotiations. References to Poidevin's work are scarce among the 1116 footnotes in The Choice for Europe. There are some citations of Wilken's writings, but not those that critically evaluate the impact of Monnet's role during the period 1950-57.
In Moravcsik's analysis, economic interests, asymmetrical interdependence and more credible commitments, respectively, drive states to negotiate, cooperate and integrate in Europe. Moravcsik candidly (and correctly) acknowledges that his primacy of economics explanation is less helpful to our understanding of German motivations to cooperate in Europe. In the French case, does Moravcsik's revisionist account successfully convince us that de Gaulle emphasized national economic interests over geopolitical priorities or an ideology of grandeur? By asserting that ideas motivate only when no strong interest is involved, does Moravcsik's account draw an unnecessary dividing line between the General's socio-economic and geo-political goals? It may be argued that the General's priorities were inextricably intertwined as President to assure the country's place as the first among states in Europe. My own volume on the Maastricht process demonstrates the relevance of two-level analysis. Other writings about Britain's role in the Maastricht negotiations likewise stress the importance of simultaneous domestic-international interactions in intergovernmental conference diplomacy. Given that Moravcsik's own prior writings strikingly illustrate the contributions of Putnam's model, it is puzzling why he does not emphasize two-level games in The Choice for Europe. Moreover, the potential for interactions among the three analytical stages Moravcsik defines in his book, namely, preference formation, interstate bargaining and implementation, also warrants more attention in future editions.
The phenomenal number of sources cited in Moravcsik's tome is a compelling reason to include a bibliography, including the names, places and dates of all interviews conducted. This would help the reader locate cited materials more efficiently. Moreover, it would underline Moravcsik's attention to primary sources which brings us to a methodological point. Moravcsik does not cite magazine or newspaper articles and relies a good deal on confidential interviews. It may be argued that journalistic writings are helpful when "hard" primary sources, namely, internal government documents, are systematically cross checked with these accounts. Accurate journalistic reporting, when referenced consistently, can also confirm or deny explanations given in confidential interviews. These techniques allow for a greater degree of transparency in source materials.
The preceding points are evidence that, given the numerous questions this volume raises, Moravcsik has admirably achieved his most important objective: to renew the intellectual-practitioners' debate about the fundamental causes of European integration. The Choice for Europe is recommended to a wide audience as an unprecedented work that incorporates elements of comparative politics, international relations and political economy in a historical narrative that challenges us to think critically about the reasons why states choose to cooperate.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing study of the EU's development 18 July 2001
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this deeply researched book, Andrew Moravcsik studies five key moves toward wider and deeper European integration: the Treaties of Rome, consolidating the Common Market, monetary integration, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. He argues that the member governments chose ever closer union in order to promote their countries' economic interests. He aims to prove that economic interests, not political ideas, drive EU integration. He focuses on how the governments of Germany, France and Britain made their decisions.
Moravcsik argues that the British government's policy in the 1950s of opposition to joining the Common Market "was the rational one for a government that traded little with the Continent, had high tariffs in place, and feared competition with German producers." So there was economic logic to staying out. It is less clear that there was good reason for the subsequent reversal of policy: trading with a bloc does not oblige us to join it!
He shows that De Gaulle vetoed Britain's application not out of chauvinism, but because we opposed generous financing for French farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy. In 1969, Pompidou lifted the veto, but only in exchange for the British government's huge concession of agreeing to a permanent financing arrangement for the CAP. This made it CAP reform impossible.
Similarly, member governments have pursued integration through creating the Single Market and EMU. Moravcsik shows how Europe's multinational companies and the national employers' organisations backed integration. The European Commission admitted, "The single market programme has done more for business than it has for workers", a judgment true also of Economic and Monetary Union. Economic interests may well have determined the drive to a single state, but paradoxically the closer the cooperation between EU members has become, the worse their economies have performed.
Capitalist states and multinational companies have taken the EU road to lost sovereignty and economic integration, but the peoples of Europe are increasingly choosing otherwise, as the Irish people showed in the 7 June referendum on the Nice Treaty. In particular, here in Britain the option of leaving the EU looks more and more inviting.
4.0 out of 5 stars Inefficiency as a strength 7 Jan 2010
By Bart van den Bosch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Interessant boek, maar een beetje te specialistisch voor geÔnteresseerde leken als mijzelf. Moravcsik probeert in kaart te brengen hoe Europese staten er toe zijn gekomen om een deel van hun soevereiniteit over te dragen aan Brussel. Hij ontwaart drie processen die een verklaring geven; Policy demand oftewel vanuit het binnenland gestuurde vraag van interest groups die hun (meestal economische) belangen beter vertegenwoordigd zien op supranationaal niveau; Policy supply oftewel beleid dat (semi-gepland) totstandkomt bij de onderhandelingen tussen de lidstaten en het verschijnsel dat eenmaal ontstane instituten onderhandelingsprocedures gemakkelijker dwz laagdrempeliger maken. Hierdoor worden volgens Moravcsik legitimiteit en geloofwaardigheid van Europese besluitvorming bevorderd. De vraag blijft interessant wat de belangrijkste motor is achter het ontstaan en de uitbreiding van de EU is. Is het de Koude Oorlog? Is het het gevolg van idealisme van mensen als Monnet en Spaak? Is het de uiting van een soort Europese Volkswil? Is het een onbedoelde en sinds de oprichting van de Unie nauwelijks gestuurde onderneming waarin de deelnemers tot elkaar veroordeeld zijn? Deze vraag zal eerst beantwoord moeten worden voordat de EU een duidelijke plaats zal kunnen innemen in de wereld. Een cynische constatering zou natuurlijk kunnen zijn dat de ineffectiviteit van de Europese besluitvorming op een aantal essentiŽle gebieden als de belangrijkste verworvenheid wordt gezien door de lidstaten. Op deze wijze sparen zij, in hun beleving, de kool en de geit. De soevereiniteit van de nationale staten wordt niet bedreigd; sterker, de Europese overlegstructuren waarborgen nationale onhoudbaarheden, zoals het in stand houden van onrendabele economische sectoren als de landbouw. Als dit laatste de bepalende factor is, hoeft er niet gehoopt/gevreesd te worden dat er ooit een V.S. van Europa zal ontstaan."
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