Economic and migration crisis generates the necessity of rethinking some methodological and theoretical aspects of European studies as the classic theory turned out to be incapable to foresee those crisis phenomena and the integration’s reaction on it. The main EU’s difficulty still is in finding consensus among the member-states because of different economic interests and priorities and regarding the “solidarity/security” dilemma. The system crisis also reflected in the foreign policy of the EU: in order to conserve the influence in the states of Southern and Eastern Europe without accepting them into the EU the program of ranging countries of the “Eastern partnership” in accordance with the strategic priority was introduced. This innovation contains a new challenge for Russia. At the same time, Russia can use internal contradictions and the constrain of the EU’s foreign policy so as to reinforce the economic integration projects within the post-soviet space.
The object of research is the European Union and the new trends of the European integration development.
The goal of research is to elaborate new approaches to assessment the EU’s problems in context of solidarity crisis using both common theories of International studies and special theories aimed at defining economic and political trends of the EU development.
The principle of continuity provides an opportunity to proceed with the methodology which is based on the previous research experience. The study of the European Union and the European integration process as a complex phenomenon requires the use of a synthetic approach that takes into account provisions of international relations theory (realism, neo-realism, neoclassical realism, as well as, to a lesser extent, the liberal idealism, constructivism), the theory of integration (especially intergovernmental approach, neofunctionalism and federalism), and the neo-institutionalism and theories of political elites and networks as the approaches used to analyze the transformation of the state. This approach allows to better reflect both the general trend towards deepening integration, mostly in financial and economic sphere, as well as systemic contradictions between the interests of various Member States, forcing the EU institutions to resort to flexible methods of integration.
The empirical base of the study includes current economic and political developments both at the level of the European Union and EU member states. These events are accessed on the basis of legal acts and policy documents of the EU and Member States; statements; reports of research centers. An important component of the study is regular monitoring of the media, including newspapers, television and news feeds in the Internet. Given the specificity of this study, priority will be given to the European media, as well as to media of the EU Member States. Along with this monitoring of Russian sources was implemented. The comparison of the various positions of the Member States leaders, EU institutions, leading research centers on the assessment of the current events that can serve as an indicator of the controversial nature of modern integration is also relevant.
The research was mostly focused on delivering factor analysis of the crisis in the EU; secondly, on comparing the views of the leaders of the integration followed by scenarios of overcoming the solidarity crisis; thirdly, on analyzing the prospective effects of implication of “flexible integration” methods by the EU.
With regard to methodology, the main result is principles of applying of the theoretical instruments of analysis to the situation of the EU. The empiric data was used to define the common problems of the EU and its threats and to make a assumption of coincidence of possible scenarios of the EU development with the interests of the EU member-states.
The results of research can be used by public institutions dealing with analysis and planning of the EU development and the EU-Russia relations as well as development of structures and mechanisms of Eurasian integration. Moreover, the results are important for further research on this topic and can be used in the educational process at the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.