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The political and economic development of the European Union under systemic crisis: methodological and practical aspects

Priority areas of development: economics

Research object is the political and economic development of the European Union under the systemic crisis of integration.

Goal of research is to reveal the latest trends of political and economic development in the European Union, its role and place in world politics.

The EU is seen as a polity that combines the features of a international organization and a state. In this regard, a new synthetic approach is used in this study to evaluate the factors of the development of the EU.

Empirical base of the research consists of monthly revues on EU economic and political processes, legislation and official documents of EU institutions and bodies.

Results of Research. On the basis of the study of the political and economic development of the European Union a new synthetic approach has been developed. This approach involves the use of theories of international relations and political theories applied in the study of the state, and theories of European integration, to analyze processes in the European Union. The new approach allows us to consider both communitarian and intergovernmental aspects of the way EU functions.

The research methodology was devised to identify and analyze factors of how the European Union develops. The study establishes the mechanism of interrelation between various factors, both internal and external and its interaction under the systemic crisis. 

Based on a comprehensive analysis of political and economic events and processes occurring in the European Union we made conclusions about the nature and impact of systemic crisis on the current situation in the EU. The research proposes scenarios for EU development and EU-Russia relations. 

The systemic crisis covers all areas of integration and weakens the mechanisms of management and decision- making. On the one hand the struggle with the crisis is expressed in attempts to introduce stricter regulation at EU level, especially in the economic and monetary fields, in the creation of new structures and mechanisms to respond to the crisis in the financial sector. On the other, the emergence of new mechanisms of regulation does not mean more advanced forms of integration as they were understood during the rise of the integration project in the 1990- s. New initiatives have a pronounced intergovernmental nature. Strengthening the position and increasing the powers of supranational structures (with the exception of the European Central Bank, ECB) is not happening. “ The brusselization”  of  EU management means more awareness among Member States about the need to take collective decisions. The role of “flexible integration” that involves participation of member states willing to cooperate in a particular project or policy has grown. The application of flexible integration mechanisms increases the risks of splitting the EU along the lines of participation and non- participation in key areas of integration, especially in the euro zone.

The problem of the shortage of leadership has grown in the EU. The stable union of Germany and France has  lost its role, increasing tension between the " rich " and "poor " countries about the methods of  overcoming the crisis and the EU role in this process. Member States are pinning their hopes on the "first economy" of the European Union to solve problems in the eurozone, but Berlin is ready to assist rather by example, demonstrating the necessity to pursue financial stability and Eurosceptics (such as Great Britain) win in this situation. The budget crisis confirms their arguments against the deepening of the integration process and gives them the opportunity to call for a limit to the powers of EU institutions.

The systemic crisis has a significant impact on the EU's relations with third countries. The crisis forces the EU to focus on solving domestic problems, but it does not reduce the activity of the Union in the international scene. Plans to establish free trade areas with the USA, Canada, the expansion of trade and economic relations with China and other Asia-Pacific countries are regarded as one way to solve internal problems. The crisis of European identity prevents the formation of  "one voice" for the EU in international affairs, but does not reduce the ambitions of Brussels to participate actively in the process settlement in the Middle East or to expand its influence in the former Soviet space. In general, EU foreign policy is becoming more pragmatic.

The EU policy towards Russia is unlikely to change for the better under the crisis, a sense of inner weakness makes the EU a more difficult partner. The EU is currently looking for new points of convergence with the USA. Relations with Russia are going through a period of stagnation, which risks escalating into a confrontation. Russia should pursue a policy of cautious engagement in this a situation, try to improve the institutional and legal formats of relations with the EU, provide the condition of involvement of Eurasian integration structures in dialogue with the EU.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of Results. The main results of the research can be implemented within practice of governance in activities related to the analysis and planning of development of relations with the EU and the development of structures and mechanisms of Eurasian integration. In addition the results are important for further academic activity and can be used in the educational process at the department of World Economy and International Affairs of  NRU HSE.


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