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Trust, distrust and economic integration: Setting the stage

Lianos, I; Le Blanc, J; (2012) Trust, distrust and economic integration: Setting the stage. In: Regulating Trade in Services in the EU and the WTO: Trust, Distrust and Economic Integration. (pp. 17-56).

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© Cambridge University Press 2012. Introduction The concept of integration, the dependent variable of this study, has received different interpretations by lawyers, political scientists and economists. Lawyers generally understand the concept as referring to ‘legal integration’, which is defined as ‘the gradual penetration’ of EU law ‘into the domestic law of its member states’. Economists prefer the concept of ‘economic integration’, defined as ‘the elimination of economic frontiers between two or more economies’. The removal of trade impediments between participating nations and ‘the establishment of certain elements of cooperation and coordination between them’ characterize the process of economic integration, as opposed to other forms of international cooperation. Political scientists have been more reluctant to provide a ready-made definition of ‘integration’ and have focu sed their analysis on the ‘political context in which integration occurs’, the dependent variable being generally conceived in broad and descriptive terms as the transfer of authority to a supranational level. The relatively recent emergence of the concept of ‘integration’ owes a lot to functionalist theories, which were the first to break away from ‘the traditional link between authority and a definite territory by ascribing authority to activities based in areas of agreement’. States exercise several functions (activities), some of which require action at the international level. This transfer initiates the process of integration, which is driven by the continuous pursuit of these functions, in the context of an international institution created for that purpose. According to functionalism, ‘(e)very function is left to generate others gradually; in every case the appropriate authority is left to grow and develop out of actual performance.’ Based on this approach, neo-functionalism was able to construct a theory of regional integration employing the model of European integration as the archetypical paradigm of the concept. The functionalist approach and the concept of integration are profoundly interlinked: without the functionalist emphasis on the existence of separate functions, where authority can be transferred, there can be no integration, in the sense political scientists give to this term.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Trust, distrust and economic integration: Setting the stage
ISBN-13: 9781139022118
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139022118.003
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1373330
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