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How Valid is the Neo-Functionalist Explanation of the 1991 Decision to Move to the EMU? Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

One of the most decisive moments in the story of the European Integration has been the adoption of an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on behalf of most of its members.

Analysts from different academic backgrounds have been putting forth a variety of theories for examining this crucial political, economic and social event. Accordingly, some argue that one of the most prominent economic theories of integration, also known as the Optimum Currency Area (OCA) may provide an accurate explanation of the dynamics of economic and monetary unions in general and the EMU in particular. On the other hand, other analysts view the move towards the EMU as a political project, and thus base their rationale for its undertaking in terms of mainly, neo-functionalist or inter-governmentalist approaches.


In conclusion, the forgoing discussion has presented the case for considering the neo-functionalist approach for conceptualizing the EMU. It has combined some of the insights provided by this particular school of thought with those of Gill, whose work is mainly based on a historical materialist perspective. In doing so, an eclectic point of reference has been provided. The EMU is not merely an outcome of an economically substantiated calculation, but is rather a political project whereby a elite group expanding throughout Europe has played a major role. Neo-functionalism has proven to be essential in this respect due to the importance it places on the notion of elite socialization, political agency and de-politicization of decisions taken within the supranational institutions of what is now the European Union, all of which are likewise key themes of the critique presented by Gill, albeit from a different theoretical standpoint.

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