European Stories: Intellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts

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European Stories: Intellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts
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Oxford University Press, USA, 2011
432 pp. $110.00
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The European Union ranks among the most extraordinary political achievements of modern times. It has abolished tariffs, established a common currency, and spread peace and prosperity to new democracies across Europe. Yet most observers agree that the basic motivations underlying European integration are banal: to facilitate business transactions, coordinate regulatory systems, and get rich quicker on an exceedingly interdependent continent. Few Europeans are true believers in a federal ideal, and their national political identities are not converging. Each of the 27 national debates among intellectuals and commentators about the meaning of Europe remains insular and idiosyncratic. This creative volume brings together a pan-European team to present these diverse discussions and reflect on the differences and similarities among them. Unlike traditional federalist supporters of Europe (and their nationalist critics), the authors assembled here do not view the continent's ideological diversity as evidence of the EU's failure. The fact that one finds new ideas and approaches each time one crosses one of the (now invisible) borders within the EU is instead, they argue, a unique source of strength, resilience, and creativity.