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Political Parties and European Integration

Translated from Spanish by Jed Rosenstein

Cesareo Rodriguez-Aguilera de Prat

This book offers a systematic analysis of the role of political parties in the European Union in the process of Community integration. The author looks at the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the transnational structures of the parties and their stake in the institutions of the EU. Examining the manifestos and programmes that the principal political parties of the six most populated states of the EU presented during the campaign for the European parliamentary elections of 2004, he provides an analysis of their political strategies, placing the parties on both the classic left/right axis and that of supranationalism/intergovernmentalism.
The focus is specifically on the statements and policy proposals of the parties on the following issues related to the EU as a political system: the nature of the EU, the reach of its territorial space, the debate about a European citizenry, the various projects for institutional reform of the EU and the principal concrete public policies regarding the three pillars. Based on the methodological perspective of comparative politics, the book addresses in a transversal manner the parties’ core programmes and their implications for Europe.
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The European Democratic Deficit

The Response of the Parties in the 2014 Elections

Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera de Prat

The «never-ending crisis» that started in 2008 and the technocratic and fiscal measures demanded by the «Troika» have aggravated the EU’s so-called «democratic deficit» more than ever before. In this essay the principal theoretical and practical dimensions of this phenomenon at the levels of institution, procedure and social legitimacy are set out and developed. With this in mind, the dysfunctions in the architecture of the institutions, the elite, complex and opaque mechanisms in decision-making and, most importantly, the growing critical estrangement of many citizens reveals that poor democratic quality of the EU constitutes its principal and most serious political problem. To empirically illustrate this debate, Rodríguez-Aguilera evaluates the positions and proposals of the parties in the six most populous countries that have addressed this issue through a comparative analysis of their political programmes.
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Euroscepticism, Europhobia and Eurocriticism

The Radical Parties of the Right and Left "vis-à-vis" the European Union

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Cesareo Rodriguez-Aguilera de Prat

Euroscepticism has become a generic catch-all term that is not always useful to capture the nuances of the different types of political opposition to the current process of European integration. This research analyses the electoral manifestos and programmes presented to the European Parliamentary elections in 2009 by twenty-two parties. In this regard, it is clear that the radical right parties usually have Europhobic impulses – their rejection being not only of methods, but also of principals. In contrast, the radical left parties are, in theory, favourable to European integration, but dispute the direction imposed by the EU authorities.
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Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera de Prat

Why are a United States of Europe, in theory and abstract the most rational option, practically impossible today? This book analyses the contradiction implied in having enormous world-level potential whilst lacking the force to execute this due to the current structural limitations of the European Union. It examines the principal historical background to the idea of a federal Europe and its successive achievements after the European Community was constituted. It also aims to show how a union has been shaped where supranational and intergovernmental impulses coexist in a contradictory way. The Great Recession of 2008 and the refugee crisis of 2015 have also posed ever more profound challenges to European integration. Eurosceptic and Europhobic forces that encourage nationalist withdrawal and opt for recipes of authoritarian populism are taking advantage of the errors and hesitancy of the community "establishment". After describing and interpreting the context and results of the crucial elections to the European Parliament in 2019, the programmes of the main parties in the six most populated states of the union are analysed. This takes the form of a questionnaire regarding the greater or lesser degree of integration advocated by each state, providing a highly representative picture of the great plurality of existing options. Lastly, it includes a chapter on the constitution of the Von der Leyen Commission, the finalisation of Brexit and the serious crisis the European Union has faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.