What Makes the EU Viable?

European Integration in the Light of the Antebellum US Experience


This book is distinguished by its use of the antebellum US experience as a foil to address the under-explored question of what makes the EU viable. The nature of political conflict in both cases is defined in terms of four contested rules of the game: state sovereignty, federal competences, political representation and decision-making procedures. Hence, viabilty is conceptualized as the ability to find an agreement over these four elements.
The analysis shows that, to remain viable, the antebellum USA resorted to an ultimately untenable voluntary centralization of these rules of the game. Conversely, the EU has maintained a dynamic equilibrium, although this is not a self-reinforcing process. The transatlantic contrast is then used to examine proposals for reforming the EU, especially its system of political representation. The comparison reveals that, despite high expectations, changing the system of representation is no shortcut solution for the EU's constitutional woes.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; July 2009
  • ISBN: 9780230240896
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: What Makes the EU Viable?
  • Author: Glencross, Andrew, Dr
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

In The Press

'A highly original, well-written and conceptualized book that makes an important contribution to ongoing debates in both EU studies and IR. The analysis provides a well articulated, critical vantage point for the assessment of the viability of the European integration process and will also be read with great interest and profit by all those interested in the reasons for the failure of the original US design.' - Friedrich Kratochwil, Professor of International Relations, European University Institute, Italy

'An outstanding contribution to the study of international politics. Firmly grounded in a mastery of several substantial literatures, this treatment of both the US and EU cases is distinguished by its historical and theoretical sophistication and breaks important new ground in its sophisticated comparative treatment of these cases.' - Daniel Deudney, Associate Professor of Political Science, The Johns Hopkins University, USA

About The Author

ANDREW GLENCROSS is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. His research focuses on European integration, especially the problem of negotiating state sovereignty and configuring political representation in the EU as compared with the United States.