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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


European Union

A Chronological History of the European Union 1946-2001 by W. F. V. Vanthoor (Edward Elgar) This fully revised and updated edition of a seminal reference work provides a detailed chronological account of the development of European integration. The history of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which began immediately after World War II, is recounted in the form of a descriptive summary of the most significant events, measures, arrangements and conferences. The chronology concludes at the end of 2001 with what is arguably one of the most important events in European history; the introduction of euro notes and coins in twelve nation states. Throughout, Wim Vanthoor offers a detailed yet concise account of the evolution of the economic and political ideas which have culminated in this defining moment. The book is interspersed with quotations from the addresses, orations and comments of politicians and those closely involved with the process of European integration. This accessible book will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the history of European integration.

This edition is a revised and enlarged version of the book A Chronological History of the European Union 1946-1998 published in 1999. It contains an additional report of relevant items within the European Union in the period from 1999-2001. For that reason the series of recorded events, begun in 1946, ends now on 31 December 2001, at the eve of the physical introduction of the euro in the twelve countries forming the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

EMU is the outcome of a long and complicated process. It started immediately after World War II - the start of this chronology - and suffered many ups and downs before the Treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1993. With the birth of the euro on 31 December 1998, followed by the launch of euro notes and coins on January 1, 2002, monetary integration can be regarded as accomplished in Western Europe. For that reason this compendium logically ends at this date. However, this does not mean that the process of rapprochement has ended. At the European Summit in Laeken, Belgium, in December 2001, the heads of state agreed on a declaration on "The Future of the European Union". As this book makes clear, this item has been a question of ongoing deliberations in the past fifty years. Commission President Prodi predicts that the euro will force countries to intensify policy co-ordination. From that point of view, one can say that the European Union (EU) is getting ready for the next stage: political unification. Looking back at the history of European integration, we see that the effort to achieve closer political integration is a difficult process. With the creation of EMU the European Union has reached a kind of interim phase.

Regarding the period 1999-2001, the development of the euro's exchange rate against the dollar runs as a leitmotiv through the events reviewed. Notable are, on the one hand, the interest rate decisions made by the European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council and, on the other hand, the comments and statements made by the ECB President, the individual Council members, presidents of the National Central Banks (NCB's) of the EMU-area and ECB watchers.

A comment to the previous Chronology is that since the beginning of the 1990s the information has become much more detailed than in the years before. The reason for this, what may seem, a rather unbalanced approach is that European integration really gained momentum with the fall of communism and the unification of Germany making the EU Treaty possible within a very short time. In this edition, the introduction of the euro and the working of the ECB in the previous three years justifies, in the author's view, a continuation of the high degree of detailed information.

In Appendix I the relevant articles of the EC Treaties referred to in the Chronology are mentioned. Appendix II shows the redistribution of voting weights within the Council of Ministers as decided at the Nice Summit meeting in December 2000.

This chronology is interspersed with quotations of relevant addresses, orations and comments by politicians and persons closely involved in that process during the period under consideration. It goes without saying that these people are of different nationalities. For that reason the author considered it useful to present their words not in the original language but to translate them into English. Although he knows that by doing so it cannot be guaranteed that these quotations have exactly the same connotation as in the original documents, he justifies that method for the purpose he wants to use them: to get insight into the views of the main actors on the European integration process over the past fifty years.

A Philosophy of European Union Law by Jan M. Broekman (Peeters) Is the European Union a new Walden? The question seems at first glance inappropriate because the Union is neither a Utopia nor the imaginative fulfillment of an experimental small‑scale form of society based on direct and intimate relationships with new social modes of production, ecological notions and philosophical inspiration. The Union seems rather Walden's extreme contrast in form and format, although the EU is surprisingly close to its underlying philosophy: What are the implications of distance and closeness in this case? The question is genuinly philosophical and shows the importance of this book's theme in its own right, a general philosophy of the European idea and its legal system. Walden was designed to give each individual a respected and well recognised place in a clearly determined social space. Such a design goes beyond any specific political feature of an experimental society which happens to appear in Western culture. It rather fulfils a human need that is essential to all forms of society we know. However, Walden imposed a world view on those who had the privilege of receiving such a well determined place. That view and attitude had to be interiorised in exchange for the security that place in a social space offers. Neither the gift of place nor its intrinsic world view were specifically utopian features. The utopian features were perhaps in the unseasonable character of this experiment in an age of transition. The consideration of a parallel between the European Union and Walden or equivalent projects is not grounded on utopian elements. Focus is on the implicit social force to create a well determined place for individuals and to impose a subsequent world view. This point of convergence between the Union and the visionary Walden is expressed in the subtitle of the book: "Positions In Legal Space And The Construction Of A Juridical World Image".

The book and its thesis have emerged from series of lec­tures on European Legal Thinking, especially designed for Erasmus stu­dents at the Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid at the KULeuven University,Belgium. The materials acquired more precision in a Seminar on Foundations of European Law during the Spring Semester of 1998 at the College of Law of the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana. A central motive is the observation how the four freedoms formulated in the Maastricht Treaty expanded into freedoms to act on a global scale. This freedom of action unfolds by (legal) definition within the legal space to which legal subjects find themselves referred to by European Law. Such references constitute a commonness that holds the Union together. Its expression is not only in specific legal regulations on the basis of Treaties and Agreements but also in rhetoric uses of basic values such as Human Rights, the principle of democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms. These are not highlighted for vague humanistic reasons of Western culture. They have globally created an appropriate climate for legally determined action. The book is consequently on how the legal system of the European Union became a major force to ensure for an increasing number of Union citizens a legally engendered, formatted and protected global position for action.

A first step towards this thesis reconsiders the importance of geographical features of European countries. They changed even during the last half of the XXth century, showing how geography always embraces a meaning for life in its entirety. On a continent where national and geographical borders are relatively close, the awareness of their importance is omnipresent, especially where such borders imply a change of language and a shift of meanings in daily life. Borders are semantic realities and shape our knowledge as well as our social awareness. All this comes to the fore where Europe and the European Union are subject of analysis. An emerging new Union legal order determines the cultural and normative foundations of the West. The importance of geographical determinations diminishes, and legal arrangements for matters of sovereignty and cooperation are enhanced. That process is called juridifzcation and it is remarkable how it does not cause any breach in the cultural dynamics of the West. Europe's basic thought patterns were always directed towards universality, to the emergence of new forms of life and of progressing rationality ‑ forms of social change which are deep‑rooted in juridification. Its philosophical foundation is in the European idea that norms form the essential marks of life. Norms are not only a morphological feature of European life, but they are also a substance without which individual as well as institutional life cannot unfold. Norms also engender critique, not as disapproval but as a positive force in spiritual life. The latter embraces distance, normative consciousness and juridification as a means to re‑appropriate social reality ‑ an attitude that excelled in legal fields such as fundamental (social) rights, human rights, environmental law and law and morality. How justified was Jacques Delors' characterisation of the European project as "... a feeling of belonging to a collective adventure ...".

A further step is in Membership and its background in Contract. Who is a Member? is sometimes a question of life and death: morally, economically, politically and often physically. One needs to consider the extremely complex legal situation in the EU legal space as separated from political or moral sciences and social philosophy. To hold a position in the EU legal space requires Memberships. There are two notable forms of Membership of juridical nature, nationality as an index for Membership of a Member State, and membership of that Member State of the EU. Other forms remain concealed, such as the membership of a Region. What is the inherent epistemology of membership in general? An answer of overwhelming importance is in the fact that the creation of Union Law has been made through contract. The first Member States designated themselves as High Contracting Parties, and their understanding of the semantics of contract is embedded in the doctrines of a Nation State legal system. Their designation expresses the confidence that contract in the new EU legal order will be understood accordingly. The seminal scene of the Union had indeed the legal form of a contract or rather of a contract on the basis of preceding contracts. Their beginning remains concealed as if it were written as a palimpsest. Members decided on peace, but when did they do so? Peace is a major theme in the ECSC Treaty in Paris 1951 as well as in the EC Treaty and the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, both signed in Rome 1957. The theme remains persistent in Maastricht 1992. In Amsterdam 1997, an accent was more on peacekeeping and its political implications. However, its accent did not abolish the original weight that was given to peace. The seminal scene had a predominantly horizontal character and responds in all regards to the ideals of the lawgivers and the legal meaning of justice as equilibrium. Contract as form of coordination and solidarity was therefore almost natural, especially if one considers how contract represents the protection of interests, positions and expectations on the basis of equality. The semantic structure of this togetherness found also an important expression in the distinction between "internal" and "external". The ECSC Treaty Article 3 mentions "third countries". That introduces already an awareness of "we" and "they". The TEC and later the TEU use the clear expressions of an "internal" market versus "external" relationships. The history of the Union is committed to re‑enforcement and explanation of that distinction as one can deduct from the rich literature on "Enlargement of the Union".

An important and new feature of the book is in its analysis of the textual topography of EU texts. Almost all EU documents refer to democracy, but they do so in a variety of texts which create different semantic contexts. This variety of texts in the acquis communautaire is important and authors of the Treaties have well understood how they form a legally relevant hierarchy. That observation has inspired the book at hand to not only refer to the texts of the Treaties ‑ as almost all studies on legal theory of EU Law do ‑ but also to various other types of EU texts.

The example of the many meanings of democracy shows how a philosophical approach towards European Law needs a careful textual analysis of all types of EU texts, and how references to Treaties do not suffice to grasp the semantic complexities at hand. Two different directions have been followed, linguistic research to elucidate the types of texts and legal research to clarify the essence and consequences of an hierarchy of texts in EU Law. TEC Declaration No 16 on the hierarchy of Community Acts is relevant here because that declaration framed a task which is not yet accomplished. Its performance includes two levels as applied to the meanings of democracy: (a) Different types of texts mention democracy. It is theoretically important to know whether a specific feature of the subsequent type of text influences the semantics of democracy in that case, (b) All those texts belong to the acquis; and the importance of that structure for the meaning of democracy deserves attention. There are four distinct types of EU texts which mention democracy, and they correspond with four distinct semantic fields within which the expression is used. They pertain to (1) the Treaties and their ECJ jurisprudence. Those texts sometimes refer to the concept without explicitly mentioning democracy as such, where The Single European Act 1986 mentions for the first time democracy in relation to the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and Human Rights. A different level is (2) the Agreements, Resolutions and Declarations (apart from the annexes to the Treaties), Protocols and the like. They also mention democracy in context with the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and Human Rights. The semantics of democracy pertain to the consolidation of the Union and its external relations. (3) There is furthermore the level of Enlargement of the Union, in particular where Accession Techniques are designed and the Commission's Agenda 2000 with annexes, special reports and opinions formulated. Democracy has at this level of texts a predominantly instrumental meaning. The concept widens perspectives of the Union and secures a certain stability of its ideological framework This relates to (4) texts represented by the 1995 Transatlantic Agenda and the 1997 New Transatlantic Agenda as well as the Transatlantic Declaration on EC‑US Relations, with all reports, work papers and speeches connected to those Agendas and Declarations. These texts are typically "outer‑directed" and show a concept of democracy that is connected to global rather than to strictly European goals and meanings. One should not overlook how that perspective belongs to the agenda of the Union, without having a clear counterpart in the US agenda.

Textual contexts determine our understanding of the semantics of democracy. The Union may be understood as a transnational, a supranational or even as a postnational democratic structure, but the place of that determination in a global context is not determined by any of the three. The Transatlantic Agenda and also the Madrid EU‑Mercosur Agreement (to single out only two of the `third generation' agreements) do include a global agenda. However, none of these characteristics will highlight the implicit concept of democracy in a sufficient manner. Readers of the Transatlantic Declaration will for instance notice how the text avoids any definition of democracy as a global concept, as does the EU‑Mercosur Agreement. Tactics of avoiding to include or to impose a definition of democracy are in references to the common features, the common goals and common interests of the partners in the EC‑US and EU­Mercosur relations. What is economically global (as follows from references to for instance GATT, OECD, WTO or G‑7 Summits and from the inherent picture of the world that relates to the Transatlantic Agenda, spanning from Europe, the US or Russia to the Asian continent as well as to Latin America) is not global in its political and legal semantics. Democracy is in the Transatlantic Declaration because this commonness is a presupposition rather than an epistemological question in its own right.

The empirical need to understand democracy on a global scale is obvious. The concept of a legal space and the positioning of persons, goods, services and capitals in that space is implied in such a comprehension. Can this lead to new formulations of democracy's substance? Neither EU Law nor EU political theory offer a concept of democracy that is genuinely global because their attitudes and patterns of knowledge remain fixed by the idea of a nation‑state and its people. What counts for the construction of the Union (as a Union of Members which are Member States) also counts for the philosophical and ideological framework of Union concepts. All three denominations of the EU (transnational, supranational or postnational) underline the epistemological truth how nations are the elements of a geometrically inspired thought pattern that grounds the Union and its legal system. The Union's accent is less on the Nation than on that Nation‑determined geometrical thought pattern. Earlier formulations about the Union as a legal space underlined this where the epistemology of perceiving reality as composed of elements was highlighted. That thought pattern forms an unwritten chapter of the philosophy of EU Law. A circular reasoning is at the background, where rules of the legal order determine positions in legal space, and legal positions determine legal rules. The elements result from legal constructions, as is the case with legal subjects and their positions in nation‑state legal systems. They in turn serve as elements of the Union legal space which is determined by the binding power of the Treaties. The same semantic dynamics apply to the concept of democracy in global dimensions. It was said for this reason that neither EU Law nor EU political theory offer a genuinely global concept of democracy.

The language of the Treaties, ECJ jurisprudence, European Legal Theory, the Commission's activities and instruments, Reports, Plans and Proposals, Agenda's and Policy documents uses the expression the rights of the citizen. Those rights are fruit of the existence of the legal discourse. The latter perceives the citizen as a legal subject or a legal entity that is a bearer of rights and duties. Rights of the citizen are rights of a legal subject that political discourse named a citizen. There are only rights of citizens in so far as citizens can be perceived as legal entities, as bearers of rights and duties. The concepts of a right and of a citizen might appear incompatible in certain situations, for instance where the essence of citizenship differs from the essence of legal articulation with regard to a specific social or political situation. That becomes particularly relevant where the language problem of European citizenship is highlighted from a philosophical point of view. The latter plays a role in representative citizenship, but it plays an even more important role in active citizenship in a learning society as related to problems of legal recognition of a native language and a regional context.

One should furthermore consider how EU Jurists tend to understand the EU as a new legal order in terms of space, although the most competitive metaphor for such a space is in their jargon the concept of a market. The four freedoms of the Maastricht Treaty constitute the market. Those freedoms are constitutive elements of a market, and one never knows in how far they are legally qualified economic freedoms or in how far the economic freedoms rely upon interpreting freedom as a legal act which in itself is uniquely grounded in legal capacity. Economics and legal meanings appear to be intertwined, and this intertwinement represents the geometry of the Treaties. Freedom to act is a supreme quality of the legal subject, the freedom to contract is an example in that regard. However, each realisation of a legally defined freedom presupposes legal capacity. Distribution, exchange and defence of legal capacity might be the foremost goal of the Union. This does not only lead to considerations of the market but equally well of the market as a legal space.

However, jurists tend to dislike the expression `legal space', an expression established in the context of the Rome Treaty. They prefer concepts such as `common market', `common wealth', `legal order of the Union', `marketplace' or simply `market' for describing the scope of action that they bestow on their legal subjects. The latter are more concrete, and they offer clearly fixed and reliable patterns of behaviour, most of them related to exchange. In doing so they seem not to appreciate the fact that these alternative expressions are also spatial in essence. Spatial metaphors characterise legal discourse in general, and they do so even more forcefully in the contexts of European Union Law. The spatial accent is a major issue in the question: at what are the Union and its legal order ultimately aiming ‑ a central question on which the entire book has been concentrating.

The answers may differ from what would have been the case in the years shortly before the Rome Treaty. Today there is no longer a Union of a limited number of Nation States, prepared to cooperate in a hither­to unknown radical manner through a contract between geographically determined sovereign Nation States. Achievements to end the divisions in Europe, to acquire prosperity and mutual respect, a higher standard of living and working conditions for the peoples concerned are still in the minds of the politicians and Europe's citizens. Their orientation became a global one, in continuous competition with the discourse of a global economy and its Internet democracy. Such developments resulted in series of expansionist reconsiderations of the internal market, parallel to events in the mid‑eighties. Features of the internal market expand to a global scale. Economic strategies mirror legal strategies, and the latter produce worldwide mechanisms of contract with a array of nations beyond the boundaries of the Union. There still exists a Union which respects all cultural, social and legal designs. However, the Union also reaches out to global dimensions by the same means that appeared instrumental in the first phase of development, the means of the legal discourse and its contractual orientation.

 Convergence Issues in the European Union edited by Wim Meeusen, Jose Villaverde, Michael Olive (Edward Elgar) What is the convergence record in the EU so far? Is there a sign of Baumol and Quah's `convergence clubs' and ` Twin Peaks '? Have the `Structural Funds' of the European Commission made any difference? These are the topics dealt with in Part I. Part II discusses fiscal and monetary aspects. Can we expect the monetary policy of the ECB to have similar effects in the EMU member states, or is it in itself a source of asymmetric shocks? Has EU membership made any difference with respect to the initial differences in tax revenue structures? Part III focuses on social and labour market issues. Is global economic convergence compatible with sustainable differences in na­tional social protection levels? Does European globalization force labour markets to 'de-institutionalise'?

In the first chapter of Part I Filip Abraham reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on national and regional convergence at the macro-level. He concludes that, so far, there is no reason to believe that Krugman's theo­retical economies-of-scale argument on the possibility of divergence has ma­erialised. The growth record in both the EU at large and in the subset of countries forming the EMU is such that relocation of industries in the proximity of large and rich regions, as a result of which a destabilising positive feedback process might lead to increasing income inequality between the rich and the poor regions, could not have taken place on a large scale. Abraham concludes that, on the whole, the 40 years of post-war European integration have brought high and low income regions closer together, albeit slowly and discontinuously.

On the same broad question of actual real GDP and growth rate conver­gence Eric Pentecost has brought to bear the power of the Kalman filter ap­proach to a convergence equation with time-varying coefficients. Following Haldane and Hall (1991) and Hall et al. (1992), but also continuing his own work on the subject, the author, on the other hand, finds divergence within the group of countries participating in the monetary ration, the reason, in his view, possibly being the stringent economic policies that were applied in a number of candidate countries in order to meet the Maastricht criteria. Pentecost warns, however, that real convergence may take a long time, and that it is too soon to draw firm conclusions.

Jose Villaverde and Blanca Sanchez-Robles in their chapter continue on the same theme, but specialise in the regional convergence issue within the borders of Spain . They apply Quah's Markov chain methodology, sharing his interest in the possible existence of `convergence clubs'. Although no lasting ` Twin Peaks ' are discernible, there seems to be a tendency whereby the rich­est provinces - as a result of a Krugman geographical externality effect? - tend progressively to concentrate in the North-east of the country. There appears otherwise to be a large degree of persistence through time in the relative positions of the Spanish provinces.

In the light of the foregoing, Jose Garcia Solanes and Ramon Maria­Dolores in the next chapter address an obvious question: did the Structural Funds of the European Commission make any difference? The answer ac­cording to them is `yes'. fl-tests of (conditional) convergence reveal an im­portant and statistically significant positive effect on the speed of conver­gence. The biggest impact, in terms of the category of funds, corresponds to funds assigned by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

In the last chapter of Part I Philippe De Lombaerde re-examines the the­ory on optimum currency areas in the light of recent experience, concentrat­ing on dynamic aspects and on the question of time-consistency. With respect to the latter aspect, his most striking conclusion is that in a process of mone­tary integration that is gradual in terms of membership, the theory of opti­mum currency areas does not yield time-consistent recommendations.

Part II deals with monetary and fiscal issues. John Ashworth and Bruno Heyndels examine the impact of EU membership on tax revenue structures. They found that the effects are ambiguous: while membership itself lowers tax `turbulence' (measured as the degree of tax structure change within a given country), the member countries are less able to react to external shocks and so turbulence is increased. They also found some evidence of the fact that the tax structures of the newer member countries are moving towards those of the founders.

The propagation of monetary policy is the subject of the chapter authored by Manuel Balmaseda and David Taguas. They use a VAR framework to estimate the dynamic effect on domestic interest rates of a change in the

monetary policy of the German Bundesbank under pre-EMU conditions, and also of innovations in domestic monetary policy in different EU member domestic real GDP, and the level. Their main tentative conclusion is that, on the basis of simulations with their model, key variables in each EMU member country respond differently to monetary innovations. This result might be bad news for the EMU, but may however, according to them, be partly attributable to the observation period used, through necessity including the late 1970s and early 1980s during which time structural changes taking place in the countries considered may have distorted the evidence.

Part III of the book focuses on social and labour market problems. Wim Meeusen and Glenn Rayp use a two-country Grossman-Helpman type of model of monopolistic competition with product innovation (Grossman and Helpman, 1991), in which the equation expressing equilibrium on the labour market has been replaced by an equation imposing equilibrium on the social security budget. Their aim is to examine the long-run sustainability of differ­ent levels of social protection. The closed-form solution for the common long-run rate of innovation in a monetary union that is obtained by the authors suggests that the levelling of social protection is not a necessary out­come in a situation where, among other things, R&D productivity between countries differs.

Alain Borghs and Andre Van Poeck approach the `social convergence' issue from a different - but immediately policy-relevant - angle, more di­rectly focusing on labour market characteristics. They examine the case for more nominal wage flexibility and the ensuing necessity of labour market reform, starting from the reality of continuing differences in the unemploy­ment rate among EU members. They also try to answer the question on the significance of the creation of the monetary union in this respect.

Frank Barry and Aoife Hannan's interest is again more theoretical. They try to verify whether the new industrial specialisations of the so-called `pe­ripheral' EU economies ( Greece , Ireland , Portugal and Spain ), following their entry into the EU, are in line with traditional Heckscher-Ohlin­Samuelson theory. They make use of the European Commission's revealed comparative advantage method, and find that, although Greece and Portugal seem to conform, Ireland and Spain do not, appearing - counter-intuitively - to move towards more capital-intensive sectors. They point out, however, that this is still consistent with HOS-theory once the model is amended to allow for labour market distortions.

The final chapter is by Nick Adnett who discusses the economic rationale behind the so-called ` Third Way ' model of the labour market (in the broad sense). He argues that since policy changes in a democratic society, including those relating to the labour market, are by definition gradual, reforms have to recognise the constraints imposed by existing institutions. In other words, enforced policy convergence would be costly in both economic and social terms. The political ` Third Way model seems to have some popular support at the EU level, but its union-wide application should take national specifici­ties into full account.

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