ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Critical Approach to Regional Integration

Greece Crisis and European Integration

The Greece crisis sparked a new debate on the European Union and also on regional integration. There are several established theories and approaches on how to study the RI process, but these have not provided satisfactory answers to the Greece crisis. Taking this crisis as a case study, we have to develop a critical approach to the study of RI. Until and unless we do so, we will only continue to focus our attention on certain groups and thereby keep ignoring the interests of common people.

Considered as one of the best examples of regional integration (RI), the European Union (EU) is presently facing a number of crises that are making citizens of Europe wary about its policy objectives and long-term existence. Lately, there has been a rise in number of eurosceptics across the EU member countries and interestingly both right- and left-wing political organisations have their set of grievances against Brussels. The highly bureaucratic model of the EU and its centralised policymaking is criticised by the citizens of member states and on times these criticisms have translated into big protests. This was manifested in the United Kingdom (UK) where the majority (51.9%) voted against membership of the EU in a referendum on 23 June 2016.

The Brexit has not only shocked the whole of Europe, but people across the world are curious to know what exactly went wrong with the European integration process. It was the Conservative Party (Tory) that in its 2015 election manifesto promised an “in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU” (Richardson and Tripathi 2016). The manifesto termed the EU as “too bureaucratic and too undemocratic,” and also blamed it for “the scale of migration triggered by new members joining in recent years,” which “has had a real impact on local communities” (“The Conservative Party Manifesto” 2015: 72). These allegations against the EU reverberated in the UK throughout the period of political debate on the referendum. The repercussion of this implicit hate-mongering, targeting the immigrants, was quite visible after the referendum. Immigrants were abused in Britain and the British parliament regretfully acknowledged it.

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