Jean Monnet Module

Understanding European Integration through Regional Lens

The Module like the Chair builds on existing teaching and research programmes of the Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India

The European integration process is a unique attempt that coalesced countries of the Continent into a functional unit that first and foremost ruled out the possibility of future wars between European states, built peace and enabled Europe to play a role in global politics much above the weight of individual states.

Over the years EU integration has substantially widened and deepened. The deepening of the European integration process is reflected in its various common policies formulated over a period of time on a range of areas as foreign and security, agriculture, energy, asylum and refugee and its various recommendations on integration and minority rights. The dividends for member states have also steadily grown with the Single market, Schengen mobility and the Euro as currency. The European Union has at times been promoted as a model worth sincere consideration for countries in South Asia where tensions run high on questions of border and simmering conflicts continue. However, of late, the European integration has come under the scanner as the project seems challenged on multiple counts. Many recent developments – the Euro crisis, refugee crisis, Brexit, Ukrainian crisis and sanctions against Russia have subjected European integration to pulls and pressures as never before. European Union members like Hungary and Poland have been at loggerheads with the EU policy of refugee resettlement following the 2015 refugee crisis. The Visegrad4 came together to resist any mandate that came from the EU vis-à-vis the crisis. Hungary was the first one to put up fences and the V4 categorically and unequivocally declared that even if they had to take refugees, they would take in only Christians, Muslims were not welcome. Such responses struck at the heart of the values and norms that the EU stands for. Hungary has been also a vocal opponent of sanctions against Russia following its annexation of Crimea. Given these pulls and strains within the EU a number of characteristics – multi speed Europe, a la carte Europe, federal Europe, United States of Europe are advanced to capture European integration reality today. Study of the EU integration project cannot be understood without looking at what the member states bring to the integration and why.

In India by and large the study of Europe is focused on the big three in Europe and the European Union. However to understand the dynamics of EU integration today there is a need to move beyond and look at other member states. The primary objective of the proposed Module is to improve Indian understanding about the European integration project by looking beyond the big three. One fruitful way of doing this would be to broaden the focus to Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Nordic states and the Mediterranean.


Central and Eastern Europe

The countries of CEE can be singled out from the rest of Europe given their historical and developmental trajectory. As part of multinational empires these states came into existence in the aftermath of the First World War. Following the Second World War decided by the victorious powers they were consigned into the Soviet sphere of influence.

The Nordics

The Nordic countries or Nordics is a cluster of five sovereign states located in Northern Europe, with the Arctic Circle passing through them and proximity to the Arctic Ocean. They include Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden along with three autonomous territories — the Faroe Islands and Greenland (Denmark) and the Åland Islands (Finland).

The Baltics

The Baltic states are a congregation of three countries- Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, situated in the north-eastern region of Europe and on the eastern coasts of the Baltic sea. This region is very important for western Europe due to its geopolitical position. These nations are on the fore lines of the clashes between Russia and the West for strategic purposes in Europe’s borderlands.

The Mediterranean

The name Mediterranean has its roots in the Latin word mediterraneus which refers to the ‘sea in the middle of the earth’ as well as to the ‘sea enclosed by land’. Its nomenclature undoubtedly emphasises the strategic location of the sea at the crossroads of three major continents, namely, Europe, Africa and Asia.