Reasons for Optimism:
Despite instances of dissent amongst its members in the last few years, the European Union as an economic force has come to stay. There are many reasons for such optimism. For example, “the setbacks of 2005 have not led to an institutional stalemate, nor have they sounded the death knell for the constitutional project, as many of its critics had predicted. Luxembourg went on to hold a successful referendum on the Constitutional Treaty only a few weeks after the French and the Dutch had rejected it, thereby clearing the way for further ratifications. Other countries have since approved the Constitutional Treaty in its current form.” (Nagel, 2004)
Moreover, the guidelines set forth in the Treaty of Nice are faithfully followed by the member states. Nor have the nations taken a backward step in challenging situations. This includes the starting of accession negotiations with Turkey, the consensus on a new budget, and the decision to send nearly 7,000 European soldiers to the UN mission in the Middle East. The referendum setback of a few years back is proving to be a blessing in disguise, for it has reignited debate and discussion about the future course of European Integration. Hence, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future prospects of the European Integration project. (Verdun, 2005)
In sum, the idea of European Integration offers many advantages to its participants, provided that the challenges confronting it are adeptly handled. A level playing field for workers of varying skill levels and different nationalities is one of the promises of European Integration. While the free flow of labour across national borders has undoubtedly created prosperity for enterprising citizens, the first decade of its implementation has seen problems relating to immigration and labour exploitation as well. The European Court of Justice is one of the positive developments to have come out of European Integration process. And finally, the biggest challenge for the EU is to form a political coalition that would have the potential to veto USA’s international military interventions. But, despite these challenges, there are sound reasons for remaining optimistic about the future of European Integration and the unity and collective progress that it will bestow upon citizens across Europe.
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Hansen, L. & Wæver, O. (Eds.). (2001). European Integration and National Identity: The Challenge of the Nordic States. London: Routledge.