Europe as the Would-Be World Power: The EU at Fifty

In This Review

Europe as the Would-Be World Power: The EU at Fifty
By Giandomenico Majone
Cambridge University Press, 2009
266 pp. $99.00
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The EU has been a remarkable success in recent years, enlarging to 27 members, establishing a single currency, removing border controls, moving toward a unified foreign policy, and now, finally, ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon. Majone, among the most knowledgeable and insightful analysts of EU regulatory policy, remains unimpressed. The EU, he believes, has become a self-perpetuating Brussels-centered system of elitist governance that privileges further integration over sound policy and democratic representation. The evidence of inadequacy lies in referendum defeats, slower economic growth, tensions within the Eurozone, and the failure to further liberalize regulation. Majone's solution is to renounce the rhetoric of "ever-closer union" and encourage issue-specific "coalitions of the willing" among EU members -- which might even spark greater regulatory competition. Some will disagree with the diagnosis; others will counter that the EU has already, in practice, renounced ambitious plans in favor of a constitutional settlement akin to what Majone prescribes. No matter what one's view, however, this provocative, sophisticated, and informed book must be confronted.