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Dialectical Interaction between Europeanisation and Globalisation


Dialectical Interaction between Europeanisation and Globalisation



We can conclude that both Globalisation and Europeanisation are processes, both constitute a tentative to get over the logic of traditional trade inter-state and they aim to expand trade and spread the market model of economy.

Though globalisation and Europeanisation are here presented as common convergence processes, it is clear that their strategic deployment and their connotation remain strikingly different in different domestic and external settings. As a metter of fact they don’t belong to same scale, the Europeanisation remains a regional project while Globalisation seeks wider area of influence. Thus we detect interaction between Globalisation and Europeanisation, dialectical interaction. Globalisation and europeanisation are complementary, partly overlapping, mutually reinforcing, but also competing processes.  They are both friends and rivals.

The europeanisation and Globalisation embody specific logic of development, aiming to achieve modernity, prosperity, democracy and better social conditions. Even though targeting the same ultimate objective they are still following different styles. At this level, this paper adopts two different approaches. First a comparative approach which will bring to light the convergence and the dissimilarities between the two processes. Second, an analytic approach dealing with ways of interaction between the two courses.

I-Common target but different styles

On one hand Globalisation is offering a “toolbox” to be used to achieve modernity. On the other hand Europeanisation is more progressive, and it’s well founded on cooperation and partnership.

a-The toolbox of Modernity:

There is today a universal vision of economic success. It embodies the idea that economic growth is a linear process that can be followed unless the economies apply the principles considered to be the only way to realise “it”.

  These principles are:

  • Realising an economic adjustment

  • Liberalising the economy

  • Giving more flexibility to the economic system

  • Optimising the use of natural resources

  • Creating or reinforcing a social network

To these principles correspond instrument of action. The main principal means are fewer prerogatives of the nation-state and the development of the private sector. The principal actors and players contributing in the implementation of this model of development are:

1.The World Trade Organisation (WTO)[i]. The WTO argues that the growth of trade between countries increases the wealth of everyone. Trade allows the production of goods and services by those who are most efficient, thus maximising their availability at the best price. The lowering of barriers, such as tariffs and import quotas, helps the growth of trade, which is the object of WTO agreements.

2.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established in the wake of the World War II in 1946 to

  • promote international cooperation on finance,

  • encourage stability in exchange rates and orderly systems for exchanging money between countries

  • providing temporary assistance for countries suffering balance of payments problems

The IMF frequently seeks institutional reform in the countries to which it provides temporary financial assistance. Like the WTO, the IMF believes that world prosperity is enhanced by greater exchange between nations and that this is made possible by everyone agreeing to abide by rules[ii].

3. The World Bank provides loans to poor countries for development projects. The bank provides loans for investment projects, such as water and sanitation, natural resource management education and health. It also lends for what it calls adjustment projects, which are to support governments undertaking policy reforms, such as improved public sector management.

b-The model of development offered by the European Union

On the contrary of the previous model, the EU has developed a model of development   incarnating simultaneously by an economical logic and a political logic. The cooperation of the EU with third countries and regions protracted the principles that the EU applies to itself.

From a historical-institutional perspective, the structure of the EU finds it’s roots in the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), the so-called ‘Helsinki Process’ inaugurated in the early 1970s. It has proved a successful model for the promotion of peaceful transition in Europe. The structural model of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act based on the incorporation of distinct, yet interrelated pillars or baskets - dealing with political and security issues, economic and financial matters, as well as with human and cultural issues - becomes a very useful tool in ascertaining possible elements of compatibility or indeed institutional and policy differentiation. We may conclude that the basket-based arrangements of European processes are a means of overcoming potentially significant obstacles toward substantive regional development.

Thus the structure of the European Union encompasses 3 pillars, pillar 1 the European Community, pillar 2, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Pillar 3,Justice and Home Affairs. The European Community policy areas are varied, to include trade and competition policy, but also issues such as the now developing public health policy, Economic and Social Cohesion, Social Policy and the Environment.

The project of development offered by the EU is various and global. This Europeanised model is carried out through EU institutions and through the implementation of the “aquis communautaire”. The entire body of European laws is known as the “acquis communautaire”. This includes all the treaties, regulations and directives passed by the European institutions as well as judgements laid down by the Court of Justice. It means that EU member states must adopt, implement and enforce all the “acquis” on the national scale. As well as changing national laws, this often means they must set up or change the necessary administrative or judicial bodies, which oversee the legislation.

The term of “aquis” is most often used in connection with preparations by the 12 candidate countries to join the union. But It is getting embodied in the association agreements signed with third countries. It means that they should adopt, implement and enforce all the “acquis”. Accordingly, the europeanisation is a projection processes, trying to export the EU model of modernity at least in the area of it’s  influence. Don’t we detect on this account a global ambition of the europeanisation, would it clash with the process of globalisation, even though the objectives are clearly converging?

II-Ways of interaction between Globalisation and europeanisation

Globalisation and europeanisation are complementary, partly overlapping, mutually reinforcing, but also competing processes. The complexity of this interaction is due to two elements:

-There is convergence between the two processes as far as their long term targets are considered

-There is tension between the decision making process in the EU structure and its correspondent in the Global arena (i.e. the global actors).

a-Globalisation as external economic constraint

‘European integration can be seen as a distinct west European effort to contain the consequences of globalization. Rather than be forced to choose between the national polity for developing policies and the relative anarchy of the globe, west Europeans invented a form of regional governance with polity-like features to extend the state and harden the boundary between themselves and the rest of the world.’[iii]

The external challenges posed by globalisation combined with the manifest inadequacies of the state to deliver in the face of external economic challenges are fundamental stimuli for supranational polity building.

Similarly, the opening paragraph of the Presidential Conclusions to the Lisbon Special European Council of March 2000 reads:

“The European Union is confronted with a quantum shift resulting from globalisation and the challenges of a new knowledge-driven economy. These challenges are affecting every aspect of people’s lives and require a radical transformation of the European economy” (Presidential Conclusions, Lisbon Special European Council, 23/4 March,). The purchase of this particular discourse of globalisation would seem considerable.

In short, integration may be a way in which public authorities can recapture their capacity to exercise some autonomy in the face of rampant globalisation.

b-Globalisation as a desirable yet doubtful outcome

The second approach regards European integration as a stepping-stone to global liberalisation /integration. This has internal and external dimensions.  Internally it describes the tendency of the EU to act as the vehicle for the spread of neoliberal policy norms throughout Europe.  Externally it imagines the EU to be a project of ‘open regionalism’ that uses its own internal trade liberalisation as a stepping-stone for liberalisation on a global scale. A similar orientation towards globalisation is apparent in the approach taken by successive European Commissioners for trade. Both Pascal Lamy and his predecessor Leon Brittan cite external imperatives as a rationale for ‘Europeanisation’, but in both cases this ‘Europeanisation’ should take a neoliberal form:

“ Globalisation, a key element of which is international commerce, facilitated by the liberalisation of trade and investment, is not a zero-sum game where some lose what others gain. It is to my mind a win-win process, as post-war economic history shows. Europe has profited from it, and will continue to do so, provided that it preserves its long term competitiveness, its capacity for innovation, and its social market economy … I know that part of public opinion in Europe focuses more on the risks than the benefits of globalisation. Such opinion is concerned about possible instability, aggression, loss of identity. I do not share these concerns, but we have to take on board these worries and seek to convince our fellow European citizens that the answers lie in the quality of our own internal policies and in progress towards multilateral rules. We must not allow globalisation to become an alibi, or to be seen as a malign influence”[iv].

From this stance, European integration might be read as the deliberate facilitation of globalisation. If this discourse presents globalisation as an opportunity for those prepared to adapt themselves to its logic of economic compulsion, then the second presents an altogether different image. Globalisation is again presented as an ongoing, indeed largely inexorable, process of economic change. Despite the rhetoric and, indeed, the reality of resistance, there is a certain sense of fatalism about the process of globalisation depicted here. Globalization captured the sense that there was something more than incremental change taking place – that all countries would be affected to some degree by the scale of integration, that no activities within countries were immune to the process, and that it could help some countries to leap-frog development stages. This leads us to consider Globalisation as the threat of homogenisation.


[i] The WTO was established in 1995 to administer the rules of international trade agreed to by its 123 member countries. These rules have been ratified by the parliaments of all members.The key difference between the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which it replaced, is that the WTO is a permanent organisation with the judicial powers to rule on international trade disputes. The WTO also covers trade in services, whereas GATT only covered trade in goods.

[ii]The IMF has 182 member countries.

[iii] Ibidem, Wallace, H. (2000), p 16.

[iv] Pascal Lamy, speech ‘Globalisation: a win-win process, Brussels, 15 September 1999