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Journal article 1068 views

Reconstituting Political Order in Europe, East and West

Robert Bideleux

Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Volume: 10, Issue: 1, Pages: 3 - 16

Swansea University Author: Robert Bideleux

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Abstract

This article reappraises key features and implications of the EU supranational civil legal order, a civil association which now encompasses over 500 million Europeans (about two-thirds of Europe’s inhabitants, depending on how Europe is delimited). This new order has greatly enhanced security, stabi...

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Published in: Perspectives on European Politics and Society
ISSN: 1570-5854 1568-0258
Published: 2009
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa13134
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Abstract: This article reappraises key features and implications of the EU supranational civil legal order, a civil association which now encompasses over 500 million Europeans (about two-thirds of Europe’s inhabitants, depending on how Europe is delimited). This new order has greatly enhanced security, stability, calculability, and the scope and incentives for the peaceful and profitable coexistence of a great multiplicity of peoples with widely differing cultures, values and belief-systems, while greatly reducing the scope for mutual impairment, friction and violent conflict. The unique EU supranational legal order is the bedrock of this rule-governed order. Even though the EU exhibits widely publicized 'democratic deficits' at the supranational level, it has nevertheless established a framework which has helped to strengthen, entrench and increase the efficacy of liberal democracy, the rule of law, civil rights, civil liberties, and relatively liberal forms of capitalism and civil society at the state and sub-state levels. The article goes on to emphasizes the fluidity, indeterminacy, ambiguities and open-endedness of this emerging civil order in Europe, and the roles it has played in the reconfiguration of Europe’s East-West and North-South relations. This continually evolving order is unparalleled either in Europe's past or in other parts of the world, yet it does not represent the acting out or unfolding of a preordained plan, teleology or script – like the USA, it has actually developed into an entity quite different from what its ‘founding fathers’ originally envisaged. It has had a transformative impact on East Central European, Baltic and Balkan post-Communist states and their positions within the wider European order. This is still dominated by West European states, but the position of Europe’s smallest, poorest and weakest states is nevertheless much more secure and on a much more equal footing than in all previous European orders, in which military might was right and simply rode roughshod over the small, the poor and the weak.
Keywords: Civil order, rules of conduct, vertical versus horizontal power-relations, EU, Russia, Commonwealth of Independent States
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue: 1
Start Page: 3
End Page: 16