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4th Conference of African Ministers of Integration, 4-8 May 2009 The European integration experience.

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Presentation on theme: "4th Conference of African Ministers of Integration, 4-8 May 2009 The European integration experience."— Presentation transcript:

1 4th Conference of African Ministers of Integration, 4-8 May 2009 The European integration experience.

2 Overview A definition of integration Historical highlights Integration in Europe – Institutions – Competences – Compliance – Predictable and sustainable financing – Involvement of citizens EU integration over time – general observations

3 A definition of integration The process whereby sovereign states relinquish (surrender or pool) national sovereignty to maximize their collective power and interest

4 Historical highlights 1951: European Coal and Steal Community (6) 1957: European Economic Community, Free Trade Area (6) 1968: Customs Union (6) 1985: Schengen Agreement (5), now 15, including non-EU 1992: Internal Market (12) 1993: European Union enters into force 1997: CFSP/ESDP: European Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Security and Defense Policy (15) 1998: European Central Bank launched 1999: Economic and Monetary Union (11) 2002: Single currency (16) 2007: 27 members states

5 European Institutions and actors EU Member States European Commission European Parliament European Court of Justice European Central Bank Court of Auditors Economic and Social Council Committee of the Regions and Local Authorities (Committee of RECs for Africa?)

6 Competences EU exclusive competences: external trade in goods and some services, monetary policy (in Eurozone) customs, and fisheries. Commission right of initiative. Not the member states EU shared competences (in majority of policy competences of the EU): environmental policy, consumer protection, development aid, transport policy, visa, assylum, and migration, etc. Member states competences: most foreign and security policies, education, culture, employment, public health, social and urban policy, etc. (principle of subsidiarity)

7 The European Pillars (1), Nice 2001 Pillar 1: European Community – Policy responsibilities: internal market (incl competition and external trade), agriculture, economic and monetary Union, immigration, assylum, visas. – Decision-making: supranational: the EU’s common institutions (Commission, Council, Court, and Parliament) can act largely (never entirely) independently of national governments

8 European Pillars (2) Pillar 2: Common Foreign and Security Policy – Policy responsibilities: common action to strengthen security of EU: preserve peace; promote international cooperation. – Decision-making: primarily intergovernmental (that is, between governments); neither the European Parliament nor the Court of Justice have much direct influence

9 European Pillars (3) Pillar 3: Justics and Home Affairs: police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. – Policy responsibilities: Cross-border crime; criminal law; police cooperation – Decision-making style: common action is loose and the unanimity of all 27 member states is required for virtually all important decisions.

10 Compliance - Legal European Commission. Act as a guardian of treates, ensures correct application of the law) European Court of Justice (27 judges + court of first instance). Final arbiter in disputes between EU institutions, and between EU institutions and member states, citizens can seek preliminary ruling) European Court of Auditors (27 auditors). Financial conscience of the EU

11 Compliance - Political Monthly Council meetings. Not only ministers of foreign affairs, but all ministers (agriculture, health, education, finance, environment, etc.). Creates ownership Regular scorecards: peer pressure

12 Compliance - Financial European Central Bank – Formulating the EU’s monetary policy, including ensuring monetary stability, setting interest rates, and issueing and managing the euro (only for euro zone countries) – Executive board (primarily national central bank governors) appointed by member states, reports to the European Parliament – Strongly independent. President is chosen by member states but can not be formally removed by them

13 Financing the Union EU budget revenu (customs duties, value added tax, and national contributions) EU budget allocation – Yearly budget – Financial perspectives (covering seven-year patterns of spending: sustainability and predictability)

14 Involvement of Citizens European Parliament (795 members, directly elected since 1979) European integration process has mostly been an elitist process. – Direct involvement of citizens hardly realized – Information and communication to citizens: mixed results – Need for visible results: cohesion funds – Citizens take Europe often for granted (welfare, no more war) but question national politicians’ ability to ensure their interests in ‘Brussels’

15 European integration over time, some general observations Strong regional integration requires solid, functioning, and accountable national structures The political interests of member states define how it engages within the EU. Change is a constant: an ‘experiment in motion’, an ongoing process without a clear end state A system of shared power characterized by growing complexity and an increasing number of players An organization with an expanded scope, but limited capacity (tension between widening and deepening, between ambitions and institutional and political capacity)

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