Future of The European Union Integration:

A Failure or A Success? Future Expectations

by Altuğ Günar (Volume editor) Burak Darici (Volume editor)
©2020 Edited Collection 322 Pages


The Future of the European Union Integration: A Failure or a Success? Future expectations are making an effort in investigating the present and future developments in the European Union integration regarding the challenges the EU had encountered since the 2000s to 2018. During the last two decades, the EU integration had faced several crises endangering its reason of existence, including the Constitutional Crisis, 2008 Financial and Economic Crisis, Migration Crises, and Brexit. In this respect, two different arguments predict the future of the EU integration, while some groups think that the EU will lose its existence reason, others claim that the EU will be integrated more than before eliminating crises and rebuilding new capacities.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • Section 1 Politics in the European Union
  • İrfan Kaya Ülger: Current Problems and Future Scenarios in the European Union
  • Ebru Oğurlu: Rising Right-Wing Populism in Europe
  • Omca Altın: The Probable Effects of the Migration Problem on the Future of Brexit and the European Union
  • Didem Saygın: A New Step in the European Union: Pesco and Its Future
  • Section 2 Policies in the European Union
  • Hanife Bıdırdı: European Union Common Trade Policy and Its Future
  • Investigation of EU Environmental Policies from the Past to the Future in the LCA Perspective (Levent Bilgili, Afşin Yusuf Çetinkaya, Sadullah Levent Kuzu)
  • Oğuz Güner: Institutional Dimension of the Digital Transformation and Its Future in the European Union
  • Kübra Ecer: Economic Effects of Migration Integration on the Future of the European Union
  • The Role of Germany’s Environmental Policies on Its Quest for Regional Leadership (Övgü Kalkan Küçüksolak and Emine Eren)
  • Ayşe Gülce Uygun: Transformation of the European Union’s Mediterranean Policies: Opportunities and Threats
  • Section 3 Economic Integration in the European Union
  • The (Un)Success and Future of the ECB’s Monetary Policy after the Global Financial Crisis (Uğur Akkoç, Dilek Durusu-Ciftci)
  • İhsan Erdem Kayral: The Comparison of Ireland, Spain and Greece Stock Market Volatilities in the 10th Year of 2008 Global Financial Crisis
  • Rüya Ataklı Yavuz: 2030 Global Goals and the European Union
  • Semih Emre Çekin: Influence of German Monetary Policymaking on the ECB: Obstacle or Opportunity?
  • S. Çağrı Esener: Is This the Worst Day since Yesterday? The Effects of Economic Crises and Fiscal Policy Changes in the Eurozone
  • Section 4 Turkey and the European Union Relations
  • Alper Yurttaş: Future Perspectives of the European Union-Turkey Relations
  • The European Parliament’s Impact on the Future of the EU-Turkey Relations (Muzaffer Akdoğan and İlhan Aras)
  • Ebru Tekin Bilbil: Grassroots, Municipality and Labor in the Circular Economy: The Need of a Street-Level Analysis in the European Union and Turkey
  • Section 5 The European Union and Third-Country Relations
  • Kaan Diyarbakırlıoğlu: Political Dimensions of Russia-European Union Relations
  • Süreyya Yiğit: Mare Nostrum: Morocco’s Impact on European Union – North Africa Relations
  • List of Figures
  • List of Graphs
  • List of Tables

List of Contributors

Assoc. Prof. Afşin Yusuf ÇETİNKAYA

Aksaray University


Istanbul Technical University

Asst. Prof. Ayşe Gülce UYGUN

Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University

Asst. Prof. Didem SAYGIN

Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University

Asst. Prof. Dilek DURUSU-CİFTCİ

Pamukkale University

Assoc. Prof. Ebru OĞURLU

Lefke Avrupa Üniversitesi

Asst. Prof. Ebru TEKİN BİLBİL

Özyeğin University

Emine EREN


Asst. Prof. Hanife BIDIRDI

Kocaeli University

Asst. Prof. İhsan Erdem KAYRAL

Konya Food & Agriculture University

Assoc. Prof. İlhan ARAS

Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University

Prof. Dr. İrfan Kaya Ülger

Kocaeli University


Yalova University

Dr. Kübra ECER

Communications Specialist,
Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Directorate of Communications

Asst. Prof. Levent BİLGİLİ

Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University

Asst. Prof. Muzaffer AKDOĞAN

University of Health Sciences

Asst. Prof. Oğuz GÜNER

Amasya University

Dr. Omca ALTIN

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University


Yalova University

Asst. Prof. Rüya ATAKLI YAVUZ

Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University

Asst. Prof. S. Çağrı ESENER

Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University

Assoc. Prof. Sadullah Levent KUZU

Yildiz Technical University

Asst. Prof. Semih Emre Çekin

Turkish-German University

Dr. Süreyya Yiğit

Regional Development Studies Institute

Asst. Prof. Uğur AKKOÇ

Pamukkale University

İrfan Kaya Ülger

Current Problems and Future Scenarios in the European Union


Since 2004, the European Union has been experiencing “interregnum,” a sort of intermediate period, in other words, an existential crisis. The rejection of the Constitution, which was created to take European integration to a higher level, was rejected by France on May 29, 2005, and by the Netherlands on June 1, 2005, and was the first event that led to a pause in the integration movement. Secondly, the difficulties caused by the inclusion of the ten new countries that joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, emerged significantly in just one year and negatively affected the integration movement. Indeed, as a result of the 2004 enlargement, also known as the “greatest enlargement,” the European Union has incorporated so many states at the same time.

Another development that has negatively affected European integration is the global economic crisis that erupted in 2008. The economic crisis that started in the United States has affected other geographies over time, as well as European Union member states. The Eurozone, in particular, has been deeply affected by the crisis. Eurozone countries, which have an integration level far higher than others, had difficulty maintaining the standards in the “Maastricht Criteria” after the crisis. In some countries, inflation, interest, budget deficit and the ratio of foreign debt to national income have deviated from the Maastricht Criteria. Greece ranked first among the countries whose critical economic indicators have deteriorated. A particular level of caution was shown in saving this country from bankruptcy. While Greece was supposed to be removed from the Eurozone under normal circumstances, this was not done, and generous assistance was made to prevent negative results for the Eurozone, saving the country’s economy. According to the assessment, Greece’s expulsion from the Eurozone for falling behind the Maastricht Criteria would cause the Euro to depreciate significantly against other currencies, as well as for the other countries with similar problems, the operation of the export mechanism would have become mandatory. In such a case, the Euro’s loss of value and the depreciated image of the European Union could cause considerable damage to Eurozone and European integration. To avoid all this, a significant bailout program has been implemented by the European Union for Greece, together with the International Monetary Fund ←19 | 20→(IMF). However, the 2008 crisis also deeply affected Spain, Portugal, Italy and even France as well. Likewise, new countries that have joined the European Union too have experienced significant difficulties due to the economic crisis.

Another development that profoundly affected the European Union was the influx of refugees from countries such as Syria, Egypt and Libya, North Africa and some Asian countries, which were politically destabilized during the “Arab Spring”. In the face of the influx of refugees, which seems to be a new “migration of tribes”, the European Union has tried to prevent irregular migration by making “Readmission Agreements” with neighboring countries such as Turkey, while it started passport controls at internal borders (which is actually incompatible with the Schengen acquis). Due to the refugee exodus, some of the gains achieved in the Schengen system, which had entered into force in most European Union countries by the Amsterdam Treaty, have been lost, and there has been a “reversal” in terms of development and deepening stages. In order to combat illegal immigration, some countries have carried out extreme practices such as building walls and setting barbed wires on their borders.

All these adverse developments have also affected politics, and public support for xenophobic, ultranationalist and populist political parties has increased in European Union member states. In some countries, marginal parties that can be included in this category have become government partners. In France, public support behind the National Front has risen to the level that leads the party’s presidential candidate to the second round of elections. In Austria, the ultranationalist Freedom Party has become a ruling partner. In Hungary and Poland, populist governments came to power. Meanwhile, leaders of the central political parties have increasingly begun to use populist and/or ultranationalist rhetoric to protect public support and avoid losing votes to their marginal rivals.

In the circumstances of all this, the United Kingdom (UK) politicians have brought the country’s European Union membership up to negotiation, and a step further suggested leaving the European Union as an alternative to the internal political struggle. It has been repeated frequently by British politicians that Britain is “subsidizing the EU financially” and that “its contribution to the overall budget is greater in every period.” Propaganda activities carried out under populist oppression have taken a new phase with the referendum decision. There was a referendum in the UK on June 23, 2016, and unexpectedly, the share of voters who wanted to leave reached 52 %. Thirty-three million votes were cast in the referendum, with those pro-secession were 635,000 more than those who wanted to stay in the European Union (O’Rourke, 2018: 136).

Today, the European Union is experiencing an intermediate period due to the problems described above. Where European Union integration is going, both ←20 | 21→inside and outside has been debated for ten years. Will the European Union be able to find a way out of this interim period through reform? Is it utopia to expect the “European Federation” or “United States of Europe” targets to be raised in the near future? Or is the European Union on its way to disintegration by gradually losing its current gains? Will a gradual disintegration follow the pause following the progress made so far? Is it overly optimistic to coordinate and direct differences of opinion of the member states on the future of integration to a new goal? In this study, the answers to the questions listed above will be sought, and an assessment of the future of European integration will be made. Within this general framework, the first chapter will examine how Britain’s departure from the European Union will affect European integration, and in the second chapter, member states’ approaches and differences of opinion on fundamental issues will be examined. In the last chapter, future scenarios of the integration movement will be analyzed, and the search for a recession will be discussed. To put it another way, this study is an attempt to examine the actual situation and predict the future. On the other hand, it is well known that changes in the international political system, the policies pursued by the United States, China and Russia are of vital importance, and will directly affect the integration movement.

1 Effects of Brexit on European Integration

Britain’s accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, after more than a decade of struggle, was problematic; similarly, its secession has opened the door to great controversy, both in the UK and in member states and the European Union institutions. The UK, which was initially not part of European integration, changed its mind when it saw that the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) it had organized to stimulate economic relations did not meet expectations, and applied to join the European Union. However, due to the blockade of French President Charles De Gaulle, Britain’s accession to the European Union was not possible in the 1960s and only took place in 1973. After becoming a member, the UK pursued policies that generally slowed down or hindered European integration. Perhaps the only notable exception to this general policy of the UK has been its efforts to establish a single market. However, the UK later opted to be excluded from European social policy, monetary union and Schengen activities.

Generally speaking, Britain has opposed the strengthening of the supranational dimension of the integration movement, and attached importance to cooperation with the United States outside the Union. The country’s relations with Europe have always been ambiguous and hesitant. Britain, which pursued ←21 | 22→a distant policy of European integration due to its imperial past, became a member of the European Union and maintained close relations with former colonial countries under the umbrella of the “Commonwealth of British Nations”. The most crucial issue that brought Britain closer to the European Union was the economic opportunities created by integration (O’Rourke, 2018: 137). Britain has generally opposed the transfer of power and the increasing transfer of sovereignty of states to European Union institutions. In the British people, the idea that “European Integration is damaging the country” is widespread. British politicians have also come out in front of the public in every election period with the promise of “renegotiation with the EU”. In 1983, Tony Blair, a member of the Labor Party, argued that “the EU has drained Britain’s resources and exploited its workforce”. In the UK, European Union skepticism continued during the period of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and later executives.

The UK particularly opposed the deepening dimension of European integration, while supporting enlargement. According to the UK’s understanding, the accession of more states to the European Union will make deepening difficult. The amount of British contribution to the European Union budget has been the most talked-about issue of all time in this country. The “leave the EU” campaign, conducted by the British Independence Party (UKIP) in 2015, used the phrase on billboards of public transport buses: “Vote for leave. Every week, we send £350 million to Brussels instead of the National Health Service (NHS)!” (O’Rourke, 2018: 134).

“European skepticism” has always been a prominent vein in British domestic politics. This division, which was also influential within the Conservative Party, triggered a political risk for David Cameron, who was prime minister at the time; and Cameron called for a referendum to resolve this issue permanently and, on the other hand, to eliminate divisions within its own party over European Union issue. Naturally, Cameron thought the referendum would be easily won. However, things did not go as expected, and the British people voted to leave the European Union, albeit by a slight margin.

Following the referendum, Britain filed an application with the Council of Ministers on March 29, 2017 following Article 50 of the European Union Treaty, opening secession negotiations. After lengthy and arduous negotiations, the secession agreement, which became final, had to be implemented two years later. However, the treaty was rejected in three separate votes in the House of Commons. Theresa May resigned, and this time there was a deadlock in the House of Commons, when Boris Johnson, who replaced her as prime minister, insisted on the option of an “undisputed separation”. Due to the failure to ratify ←22 | 23→the Brexit treaty, the start date of the “undisputed separation” was postponed by the European Union for six months and left to October 31, 2019. If an election decision is taken, another possible postponement may occur. Brexit will be the most important agenda of the new government to take office after the snap election. After the elections, it would come as no surprise that a second Brexit referendum in the UK in early 2020 was held.

Consequently, it remains unclear as of September 2019 whether Britain will leave. However, Britain’s departure is the most critical threat the European Union has ever faced. Moreover, the Brexit referendum and the decision to leave came at a time when the crisis was continuing in the European Union’s Eurozone and the Schengen area. In foreign policy, the European Union’s relations with both the United States and Russia are also in great difficulties. It is not known whether the other countries will move in the direction of secession after the UK. If one or more countries would follow the same path, it could accelerate the disintegration or weakening of European Union integration. However, some argue that those who express that these views are pessimistic argue (European Parliament, 2018: 6). According to those in this category, the departure of the UK, on the contrary, will lead to a further strengthening of the integration movement, since Britain has long been the party that has hindered the progress of integration and has avoided liability for exclusion and privilege.

Although it is frequently emphasized that the European Union is a “supranational” organization in the debates on the theoretical dimension of European integration and in the naming of integration, this statement is insufficient to explain the entire issue, because both the supranational dimension and the international dimension of the integration movement are intertwined today. In Rosamond’s “Theories of European Integration”, all these distinctions are analyzed in theoretical dimensions (Rosamond, 2000). Progress in the European Union within the existing mixed structure is only possible as a result of the consensus of governments. From another perspective, this shows that states within the European Union have different ideas of integration. Indeed, Britain has chosen to remain out of many of the stages of integration so far based on this perspective. The UK has vigorously supported the establishment of the prevailing market envisioned by the Single European Act signed in 1986 to reach the stock market stage, which envisages the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. The UK has also adopted the statutes for the removal of economic, technical and legal barriers introduced in the second half of the 1980s. In the current market phase, which means European Union integration to go further than the “Customs Union”, Britain has imposed only partial restrictions on the movement of persons and opposed Union-level taxation. Indeed, it is estimated ←23 | 24→that the sectors in which the UK will suffer the most losses after Brexit goes into effect will be the trade in goods and services (European Parliament, 2018: 7).


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2020 (May)
European Union Brexit Migration Economic crisis Populism Economic integration Trade policy PESCO
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 322 pp., 15 fig. b/w, 10 tables.

Biographical notes

Altuğ Günar (Volume editor) Burak Darici (Volume editor)

Altuğ Günar is an assistant professor at Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University, Turkey. His main interests are the European Union, the European Union Economy, and international economics.Burak Darıcı is a professor at Bandırma Onyedi Eylül University, Turkey. His main interests are monetary policy, labor market, financial markets, and international economics.


Title: Future of The European Union Integration: