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Less Than a state, more than an international organization: The Sui generis nature of the European Union


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  • Hlavac, Marek
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    In this paper, I show that the European Union (EU) is less than a state, but more than an international organization. Although it possesses some characteristics of both, the European Union is, I argue, a sui generis project: Although the EU wields extensive influence in some policy areas (such as competition policy or international trade regulation), its institutions’ powers are quite limited in many areas that remain firmly within the grasp of its Member States’ governments (such as security, justice, tax or redistribution policies). The European Union’s supranational elements – especially the EU laws’ supremacy over the laws of individual Member States – distinguish it, furthermore, from international organizations, such as the United Nations or the World Trade Organization. I conclude that the European Union is really a sui generis project that has not been attempted anywhere else: As such, it could be regarded as a useful case study, or perhaps even a “pilot project,” for regional integration projects elsewhere.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27179.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27179

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    Keywords: European Union; regional integration; international organization; multilevel governance; security policy; tax policy; redistribution policy; European Union law; supranational institutions;

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    1. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2010. "Going NUTS: The effect of EU Structural Funds on regional performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 578-590, October.
    2. Andrew Moravcsik, 2002. "Reassessing Legitimacy in the European Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 603-624, November.
    3. Garhy Hufabeur & Costantino Poschedda, 2007. "After Doha: Evolution or Revolution in the World Trading System?," Information Bulletins, Western Centre for Economic Research 1101, Western Centre for Economic Research.
    4. Hufbauer, Gary & Pischedda, Costantino, 2007. "After Doha: Evolution or Revolution in the Trading System?," Commissioned Papers, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network 7308, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
    5. George Tsebelis & Geoffrey Garrett, 2000. "Legislative Politics in the European Union," European Union Politics, , vol. 1(1), pages 9-36, February.
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