From Civilian Power to Superpower? The International Identity of the European Union
By Richard G. Whitman
St. Martin's Press, 1998, 251 pp.
The European Union and the World Community
Edited by Carolyn Rhodes
Lynn Rienner, 1998, 259 pp.
Whitman, a lecturer at the University of Westminster, has investigated the international identity of the EU through a conceptual framework rather than a thematic one. In his eyes, the EU is a system in flux under a variety of political influences, including pressures from the member states and the European Parliament. This learned, serious, but ponderous study has the merit of showing both the originality and complexity of the European enterprise.
Meanwhile, the essays in the volume edited by Rhodes provide a sober and reliable survey of the role of the EU as a global actor in trade, monetary relations, environmental issues, and interstate relations. The authors also highlight the institutional flaws of the EU and the tension between member states that continue to seek autonomy in the EU even as it becomes an emergent power. A comprehensive and readable collection.