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Themes in European Integration History Lecture 4: The Moravcsik-controversy in European integration history. Lecture course 3 November – 15 December 2006 Juhana Aunesluoma University Lecturer in Political History University of Helsinki

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Themes in European Integration HistoryLecture 4: The Moravcsik-controversy in European integration history

Lecture course 3 November – 15 December 2006

Juhana Aunesluoma

University Lecturer in Political History

University of Helsinki

course pages www.valt.helsinki.fi/blogs/jauneslu/euhistory.htm

today s lecture
Today’s lecture
  • Andrew Moravcsik’s (AM) liberal intergovernmentalist approach to the origins and development of the EU
    • his main work The Choice for Europe (1998)
  • an outline of AM’s contribution to integration studies
    • approach, arguments, evidence
  • criticisms and debate
    • a historian’s reading of AM’s message
the choice for europe context
The Choice for Europe: context
  • the perceived poverty of existing theorizing on regional integration
  • American tradition of International Relations studies and theorizing
  • neorealism and rational choice
    • AM can be seen as an attempt at ’neo-neo’ synthesis of realism and liberalism
  • ”two-level games” –theory building and testing
    • the realist incursion to domestic sources of foreign policy
  • the accumulation of historical studies and material available for a major synthesis
    • the Milward debate on the nation-state as an engine of integration
  • the Maastricht and Amsterdam treaties
    • AM’s work started first on the SEA
views over previous scholarship
Views over previous scholarship
  • critique of competing theoretical positions
    • realist, neo-functionalist and idealist
    • for example geostrategy, technocratic expertise, European ideology
  • critique of Milward
    • not really theory-contributing, does not address the contemporary theoretical debate
  • historical-institutionalist approaches insufficient
    • vague, deterministic, too inclusive as to driving forces towards integration, just neofunctionalism with new name
  • historical view one-sided:
    • far too much weight to geopolitics, such as the goal of binding Germany to the West
    • too much attention on the pursuit of a federal vision of Europe
    • too much attention on supranational actors as drivers of integration
eu as sui generis
EU as sui generis?
  • EU theorizing should not take place as a study of exceptionalism
  • the larger context of international political economy
  • EU studies should yield generalizations to be applied in predictive fashion elsewhere in the globe
the question
The question
  • why have European states agreed to give supranational institutions ever wider powers to control their external economic relations and, to a large degree, their internal economic policies?
the core argument
The core argument

”The central argument of this book is that European integration can best be explained as a series of rational choices made by national leaders. These choices responded to constraints and opportunities stemming from the economic interests of powerful domestic constituents, the relative power of each state in the international system, and the role of international institutions in bolstering the salient negotiations in the history of the European Community.”

(p. 18)

”… the transfer of sovereignty and autonomy to supranational institutions … was not an unintended consequence of major EC decision; it was their primary purpose.”

(p. 492)

  • three players: France, Germany and Britain
core argument
... core argument

”States have national preferences which may vary over time and according to issues. In order to satisfy their preferences they resort to interstate bargaining, and in order mutually to obtain credible commitments, they decide to delegate or pool decision-making in international institutions.”

(Gianfranco Pasquino in a review of Moravcsik)

five big bargains
Five Big Bargains
  • ”fits and starts” of integration
  • 1 the treaties of Rome 1955-58
  • 2 consolidation of the Common Market 1958-69
  • 3 toward monetary integration 1969-83
  • 4 the Single European Act 1984-88
  • 5 Economic and Monetary Union and the Maastricht treaty 1988-91
approach and arguments
Approach and arguments
  • a political history of the key episodes, treaties, bargains and turning-points in the evolution of the EU
  • theory-building aim
  • European integration reflects three factors
    • patterns of commercial advantage
    • the relative bargaining power of important governments
    • the incentives to enhance the credibility of interstate commitments

=> economic interests + relative power + credible commitments

  • not as significant: supranational technocrats, geopolitical pressures, federalist ideology, spillover, unintended consequences
approach and arguments11
…Approach and arguments
  • integration can be explained as a function of international bargaining informed by national self-interest
  • states are the necessary agents
  • the intensity of state preferences is the measure of their power
  • states construct supranational institutions to lock in commitments
  • Moravcsik comes perilously close to the central arguments of Alan Milward without engaging in an explicit dialogue
analysis and presentation
Analysis and presentation
  • model of clear analysis
    • ”densely documented, well argued, intelligent, and aggressive” (Gianfranco Pasquino)
  • hypothetico-deductive falsification and fair causal comparison
  • contrasting competing explanations
  • deduces rival sets of testable hypotheses
  • compares hypotheses against the historical record
    • theory informed and theory testing historical empirical work
the historical treatment
The historical treatment
  • three stages of bargaining
    • pre-bargaining stage of national preference formation
    • the phase of intergovernmental bargaining
    • the institutional choices made as a result of the big bargains
  • builds on existing historical research
  • empirical methodology: division to hard and soft sources
    • soft primary sources: memoirs, public statements, newspaper and magazine reports etc.
    • hard primary sources: internal government reports and 100 lengthy interviews

=> an incredibly primitive understanding of the methodologies required in the historians’ craft!

specific historical arguments
Specific historical arguments
  • Suez crisis 1956 not relevant for the realisation of EC, commercial interests paramount
  • de Gaulle’s veto 1963: French agricultural interests main motivation, not geopolitical concerns over US-UK influence in Europe
  • ”eurosclerosis”-view of the 1970s a mistaken view: the success of EMS
  • SEA 1986: national leader’s strategic choice, the relative insignificance of commission president Jacques Delors or transnational business lobbies
  • EMU and EU 1990s: German desires to expand trade and increase capital mobility in Europe, not French concerns over unified Germany’s role in post-cold war Europe
reception and critique
Reception and critique

”One wishes European leaders to be as sharp, rational, calculative, well-informed, receptive to economic pressures, understanding, determined and analytical as Moravcsik suggest and requires them to be. The fact that they are not makes politics still so thrilling.”

Hartmut Mayer (1999)

”Moravcsik sometimes projects his own rational and calculated analysis onto the policy makers themselves, who may have cherished subtlety and flexibility over consistency. Diplomacy rarely offers stark choices and neat delineations.”

William J. Hitchcock (1999)

”The results are consistent with the author’s initial hypothesis, perhaps even too consistent”

Gianfranco Pasquino (1999)

reception and critique16
... Reception and critique
  • obvious explanation?
    • if issue areas were primarily economic, then isn’t it apparent that economic preferences play a prominent role?
    • coordinating core economic policies tends to call forth economic interests
  • the three stage temporal frame of analysis
    • ”is it analytically sound to separate preference formation from bargaining, or bargaining from implementation, given the potential for interactive effects?” (Jeffrey J. Anderson, 2000)
  • relative importance of various preferences?
    • geopolitical preferences and the exact outcome of the big bargains
    • unique circumstances around the big bargains
  • path dependency?
    • prior bargains foreshadow and create expectations and contexts for subsequent bargains
  • rational choice?
    • is statecraft such a clinical exercise of rational behaviour?
    • key actors’ mindsets, ambitions, failures
reception
… reception
  • robustness?
    • soft sources, weak evidence?
    • in fact builds on secondary evidence, not on really exhaustive primary research
  • actors?
    • how far the choice of primary actors determine the conclusions
      • states, transnational institutions, non-state actors?
  • history between and beyond the big bargains?
    • how does the momentum arise for the bargains
  • German leaders driven only by economic preferences from the 1950s to the 1990s?
  • the absence of US influence
  • how different and unique is AM’s work compared to historical institutionalists?
  • national strategies regarding their power positions: economics but one aspect of national power (military capabilities and warfare, political influence and prestige etc.)
conclusion
Conclusion
  • AM’s work until to date the most extensive and coherent attempt to systematically test a integration theory with historical evidence
  • puts federalist and neofunctionalist explanations on the defensive
  • builds on and strengthens the Milward thesis
  • it overstates its case
  • problems in the historical analysis and methdology are serious
  • the nature of politics, decision-making and decision-makers seen simplistically: blind faith in the rationality of actors and blindness on the complexity of the events he describes
further reading
Further reading
  • Andrew Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe. Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (1998).
  • Andrew Moravcsik, “Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach”, Journal of Common Market Studies Vol 31, No 4 (1993), 473-524.
  • Roger Scully, “Rational Institutionalism and Liberal Intergovernmentalism”, in Michelle Cini & Angela K. Bourne, Palgrave Advances in European Union Studies (2006), 19-34.
  • Robert H. Lieshout et al, “De Gaulle, Moravcsik, and The Choice for Europe: Soft Sources, Weak Evidence”, Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol 6, No 4 (2004), 89-139.
  • In the AM-theme issue of Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol 2, No 3 (2000) there is a selection of articles discussing AM’s claims on de Gaulle.
  • Reviews:
    • Jeffrey J. Anderson, The American Political Science Review, Vol 94, No 2 (Jun 2000), 515-517.
    • William I. Hitchcock, American Historical Review, December 1999, 1742-1743.
    • Todd Alan Good, H-Net Reviews, H-Diplo, September 2000.
    • Bernard H. Moss, Journal of European Area Studies, Vol 8. No 2 (2000), 247-265.
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