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Synopsis

European integration is the most important single issue currently facing the European Union. Underlying most of the disputes between member states is a dilemma that has faced the countries of Western Europe since the end of the last war. Being aware of their weak national positions these states have striven for ever closer cooperation in order to improve their situation. However, by becoming more closely engaged with each other they also fear the erosion of their own national positions. Paul Kapteyn's book is concerned with this dilemma, whether or not it will be overcome, and what the consequences for Europe and the wider world will be. The process of European integration is unravelled with the help of official documents, articles in newspapers and interviews with business managers, civil servants of the European Commission and of different member states including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Two items in particular get special attention - the Treaty of Schengen on judicial cooperation and harmonization and the problem of EU fraud related to the agricultural subventions. The author also looks in detail at the consequences of the Maastricht Treaty. Paul Kapteyn places the daily quarrels and conflicts of the EU member states in context and demonstrates that they are part of an ongoing long-term process. This is a book that will enable the student more clearly to understand the complex nature of the debate over European integration and where the results of that process could lead.

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