Fabrice Larat
On the Way to a Closer Union? Understanding Integration in Europe since 1945

GIS Working Paper, November 2005,
16 S.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University, Department of Government

The paper looks at the phenomenon of European integration after the World War II and provides an in-depth analysis of the inherent complexity and diversity of the integration process.
Europe, also a term often used confusingly as a reference to restricted political reality, has been undergoing a manifold integration process, which is indeed an evolution mixed with fragmentation and de-fragmentation of integration attempts in different areas and fields of activities, and with varying degrees of intensity.
While the logic behind the integration is being analyzed and the pivotal role international organizations play is explained, the paper stresses the plurality and complementary aspects of the integration process, in which several factors come into play.
In fact, the author proposes a holistic approach to the understanding of the integration and of the achievements of its main result: the European Union. As explained, only an encompassing approach covering all dimensions involved in the process is able to grasp the process’ polymorphic character and the institutional diversity contributing to the integration progresses.