The Emergence of the European Union as a Very Incoherent Empire
In the mid-1980s, the then President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, described the European Community (EC), the predecessor of the European Union (EU), as a UPO or ‘unidentified political object’. He was emphasising its unique nature as a political institution that was neither a federal state nor simply a set of international treaties (Delors 1985: 8). The purpose of this chapter is, first, to provide the reader with the necessary basic information on the ‘UPO’ that will be required when reading the other chapters of this book. Some readers may already be well acquainted with this material, but they too will, I hope, welcome the chapter’s second purpose, which is to start a theoretically organised discussion on the realistic alternative future scenarios of the EU. This discussion is the topic of Chap. 13 of this book, when all the material from the other chapters will be available, but the description of the history and current nature of the EU provided in the present chapter, organised with the help of the conceptual toolbox of Michael Mann’s historical sociology (Mann 1986, 1993a, 2012, 2013; Heiskala 2016), paves the way for Chap. 13 and opens the discussion about the union’s future scenarios.
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