Neofunctionalism

Neofunctionalism in Europe

Description of Neofunctionalism

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes neofunctionalism in the following terms: [1] A flawed theory of integration, which owes its importance to the fact that it reflected the thinking of Jean Monnet, the EU’s founding father (see more in this European encyclopedia). The idea is that economic integration leads automatically to further integration, through creating vested interests in the process. Political integration supposedly follows, as new supranational ‘actors’ (bureaucrats, regulators and the like) appear who not only favour centralised control from self-interest but are in a position to bring it about. This chain of developments, known as ‘spillover’, finally acclimatises public opinion to integration, thereby giving it ‘legitimacy’. Distasteful to democrats, neofunctionalism has influenced many Europeanists, including Jacques Delors.

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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