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The 'Res Publica' - a new Approach for European Integration Theory?

Thilo Zimmermann

Theories of European Integration (EI) have failed to foresee the euro crisis and so far they also could not give adequate answers how to solve it. In this paper I will revisit the main theories of EI regarding three main issues: First, their handling of the (alleged) contradiction between sovereignty and federalism. Second, their modeling of economic problems. Third, their assumptions about the main drivers of EI. I will argue that, first, historically the concept of sovereignty and federalism are deeply mingled, the concept of a modern, industrialized nation stated had always been accompanied by the idea of a federation. Second, I will argue that the current theories of EI are based on the concept of 'economic interdependence', which still entails the concept of nation states. Especially in the euro area this concept does not make sense anymore. Third, I will argue that the main driver of EI is not 'economic advantage' but the fear of economic domination. I will conclude that a theory of EI should be based rather on the concept of European-wide externalities ans public goods than on 'economic interdependence'. I will propose a republican paradigm, rather than a federalist one, to explain hot to govern these public goods.

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