The European Union at 60: on perceptions and significance

 

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Sixty years from the start of European integration, various perceptions on its significance as well as its shortcomings abound. We address the key themes in the European debate, including those that have helped build the momentum towards BREXIT. Paradoxically, the impending exit of the UK from the EU has underlined the numerous benefits of membership, which many have long taken for granted. We examine the benefits of the EU by (1) emphasizing its values, (2) its role in the world, (3) the delicate balance between the EU and national regulatory autonomy. While many of the disillusions amongst the EU citizens contain a grain of truth, the question remains whether a peaceful, consensual and democratic process of integration between as many as 28 countries can realistically be expected to go fast forward and without controversies. This paper is an attempt to inform the current debate by examining the EU’s key failings, as well as its fundamental value for the achievement of the European common good.  

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