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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Europeanisation (or Europeanization) refers to a number of related phenomena and patterns of change.

  • Outside of the social sciences, it commonly refers to the growth of a European continental identity or polity over and above national identities and polities on the continent.
  • Europeanisation may also refer to the process through which EU political and economic dynamics become part of the organisational logic of national politics and policy-making.
  • The process in which a subject (be it a culture, a language, a city or a nation) adopts a number of European features

Europeanisation in political science has been referred to very generally as 'becoming more European like'. More specifically than this, it has been defined in a number of ways. One of the earliest conceptualisations of the term is by Ladrech (1994, 69) who defines Europeanisation simply as ‘an incremental process of re-orienting the direction and shape of politics to the extent that EC political and economic dynamics become part of the organisational logic of national politics and policy making.’

This emphasises what is known as the 'top-down approach' to Europeanisation with change emanating from the impact of the Union onto the national policy. The state is viewed as re-active towards changes in the union.

From a 'bottom-up' approach Europeanisation occurs when states begin to affect the policy of the European union in a given area.

A more nuanced analysis posits that the institutional interaction of policy actors at the various levels of European governance leads to the re-definition of national, regional and other identities within a European context, where the multiple levels of governance in Europe are not seen as necessarily in opposition to one another [1]. An elected representative can, for example, see his loyalties and responsibilities as lying with Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Europe. Some scholars, including Samuel Huntington[2], argue that citizens of European states increasingly identify themselves as such, rather than British, French, German, etc.

An obvious area of change is in the institutions of Europe; the enlargement of the European Union and the gradual acquisition of authority over the national member governments in numerous areas is creating a centralised European polity. The Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union would be an example of this; in this case, the nations using the euro have passed control of their monetary policy to the European Central Bank.

Whether Europeanisation is a continuing process that will eventually lead to a full European government or whether centralisation will be unable to overcome persisting national identities and/or increasing interest in localism is a matter of some debate.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Europeanisation (plural Europeanisations)

  1. the process whereby the people and institutions of the countries of the European Union become more European and less national


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