The European Union in decline?

Talk of its demise is as old as European integration itself. In 1982, for instance, the Economist celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Rome Treaties by showing a tombstone dedicated to the EEC (the EU's precursor) on its cover. The engraved epitaph read "capax imperii nisi imperasset" ("It seemed capable of being a power, until it tried to be one").

As we know now, the early to mid-1980s turned out to be a period of progress instead. So, is the current "polycrisis" of the European polity any different? Attempting to respond to this question, our course will pursue two main objectives. First, it will explore the causes and effects of the EU's current crises. At the moment the EU struggles to organise solidarity among its member states, alleviate the democratic deficit, cope with the departure of the UK, and counter authoritarian tendencies in its midst. How is the Union holding up in this epic struggle? Second, the course will gauge the sources of the Union's remarkable persistence. In doing so, it seeks to put the EU in a comparative perspective.

Engaging with the literatures on state-building and comparative federalism can enhance our general understanding of the emergence of multilevel polities such as the EU.

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