The EU: A League of its Own?– Chiara Gabellieri

The European Union is truly an anomaly in the world of international relations and global governance. Many other international organizations are separate entities from domestic governing institutions, typically with marginal leverage when it comes to the internal affairs of member states. In the case of the European Union; however, all 28-member states have given up aspects of their sovereignty in order to make way for a centralized government with its own distinct powers. This government is separated into branches consisting of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, the European Court of Justice, and the European Commission. The EU has its own governing authority and responsibilities with complete control over areas such as member states’ monetary policy. In this way, since this is an actual governing body that has legitimized mechanisms that lead to high member-state compliance, the European Union is an exceedingly developed institution. It is in its own league—it has achieved supranational characteristics and a sense of validity on the international stage. Since the EU has reached this new level, it has become almost incomparable to other international institutions. Its authority is not only acknowledged by member states but also to the international community—one example is the EU’s G20 membership. This shows that the EU has superseded obstacles that many international organizations face and has sufficiency challenged the old order of the Westphalian state system

Recent parliamentary elections with the emergence of euroscepticism and right-wing populist parties are not a measure of EU fragility. If anything—they are a way of measuring the democratic ideals embodied in the EU. Contestation and questioning from citizens shows the vitality in a democracy, and in fact, shows the legitimacy of the system. These parties utilize this political system and source of power to gain support and implement change in their own agendas, therefore acknowledging the EU’s effectiveness. It is important to remember that there is contestation in every government, but it does not take away the strength of its authenticity. These Euroskeptics; however, are proof that there is a growing desire for change and reform in the EU. This is nothing new for the European Union, for since it was founded, it has undergone over 60 years of reform and rapid changes and challenges

A supranational institution such as the EU could be replicated in other areas of the world— although it would be a very difficult since it is not an easy feat developing a supranational institution that combines nationalized institutional structures, norms, and values. There are other institutions; however, such as the African Union that show progress towards this ultimate supranational goal. However, it seems that the EU is ahead of its time and came about and developed due to a perfect storm of circumstances. The rest of the world may not be ready to implement this drastic change in the creation of new institutions like the EU— it will certainly take time to achieve this new level of liberal international political structure with quotidian supranational institutions.


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