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The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Antonina, Anna Michalski och Lars Oxelheim (2019). The European Union and the Return of the Nation State. Executive summary, Europaperspektiv 2019. Stockholm: Santérus Förlag.

Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Anna Michalski, Lars Oxelheim

Ever since the first steps towards European integration were taken in the early 1950s, the relationship between the nation-state and the European Union has been a crucial issue. Throughout the years and in various ways, this relationship has defined the form and scope of European integration.

In particular, the movement towards deeper integration has followed two distinct and partly contrary lines of development: increased supranationalism, in the form of greater powers for the Union; and intensified intergovernmentalism, in the form of closer cooperation amongst the member states, In fact, the EU has embraced both types of integration since its inception.

This can be seen in its treaties, in its common institutions, and in the formulation of its actual policies. However, this essentially natural and balancing relationship has recently been challenged by individual member states acting in their self-interest; and the foundations of European cooperation have been called more and more loudly into question.

This raises two issues: First, if indeed we are witnessing the return of the national-state, in what form is it returning? Second, is the national revival a lasting phenomenon with which the EU must deal for a long time to come, or is it rather a transitory trend?

Lars Oxelheim

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