Discussions of current problems in European and transatlantic cooperation raise many risks; overlap, inconclusiveness, and lagging behind events are the main ones, and both of these books suffer from them. The collection edited by Symes, Levy, and Littlewood contains analyses of the European Union by 12 academics teaching in Britain and one British Socialist member of the European Parliament. Many of the authors are critical of the drive toward a single currency and its effects on unemployment and growth. Several essays ask for greater transparency and accountability of EU institutions but stop far short of any kind of federalism. Like the rest of us, Symes is better at deploring the inadequacy of the policies of economic and social convergence and of current approaches to unemployment than at proposing convincing remedies. The most informative essays are those that deal with more recent areas of EU activity: crime and policing, the "information superhighway," and demographic and health policies.
The book by Sperling and Kirchner covers the rather familiar ground of European and Atlantic security organizations and devotes four chapters to the economic dimensions of security, macroeconomic management, trade ties, the financing of the transition from communism to market economies in the states of the former Soviet Union and Soviet empire, and the financing of environmental security. Nobody is likely to be shocked or rejuvenated by this sweepingly dutiful survey, but insofar as prudence and common sense are commendable, the authors have to be congratulated.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.