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.