The Long Path to European Union: A Historical-Institutional Analysis of Proposals for European Integration from 800 to 1938

Dr.Sc. Consatantine HADJILAMBRINOS


From the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century CE, until the establishment of the first truly supranational European institutions after the Second World War, many attempts were made to unify and bring peace to Europe. While the first attempts were for hegemonic unification, from the fourteenth century on, several plans were put forth for a civil unification. Each of these plans proposed specific institutions which were to bring together the sovereigns and (later) the nations of Europe for a peaceful coexistence. This study describes these numerous proposals, identifying the values and goals underlying the institutional structures each proposal set up. We argue that institutional structures have normative content, in that they embody specific ideologies of the European integration. Our analysis shows that the various proposals embody three distinct ideologies: integration through, and for the purpose of enhancing national sovereignty, integration through federation which limits national sovereignty, and integration through arrangements for free commerce that bypasses national sovereignty.


European integration history; European institutions; peace plans; international community;


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DOI: 10.21113/iir.v8i2.442

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