European Integration and the Process of Globalization

Author:Ionut Stefan
Position::Senior Lecturer, PhD, 'Danubius' University of Galati, Romania
Pages:325-340
SUMMARY

The phenomenon of European integration may be analyzed in a theoretical interconditionality with the general phenomenon of globalization. Both aspects of the contemporary society are complex; therefore, they must be analyzed from several perspectives. Globalization, as a general phenomenon, concerns the entire human race and may be understood by several coordinates: economic, social, political,... (see full summary)

 
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Globalization and Cultural Diversity
325
European Integration and
the Process of Globalization
Ionu Ştefan
1
Abstract: The phenomenon of European integration may be anal yzed in a theoretical interconditionality with
the general phenomenon of globalization. Both aspects of the contemporary society are complex; therefore,
they must be analyzed from several perspectives. Globalization, as a general phenomenon, concerns the entire
human race and may be understood by several coordinates: economic, social, political, cultural, military, etc.
The complexity of this phenomenon introduces certain con tradictory aspects as well. The European
integration is a phenomenon which mainly concerns the states located in the European geographical area and
which explicitly manifested the desire to be integrated into the European Union. The European construction
represents a recent mechanism, which requires permanent revisions, lest it should end up in failure. The two
concepts, federalism versus intergovernmentalism, seem to outline the general context of the theoretical
discussions concerning the sustainable development of the European Union. The common policies of the
European Union represent the main instruments by which this mechanism defines today in the general context
of globalization.
Keywords: globalization; European integration; common p olicies of the European Union; nation-state;
European governing.
1. Introduction
The European idea is the idea of the economic and political unification of Europe 
11). Thus, the European integration becomes an active and reflexive process, involving the inclusion
of a part of a whole and the embedment and harmonization thereof with the general view. This concept
seeks to respect the freedom for democracy, equality, affiliation, dignity, tolerance, integrity,
protection, and solidarity among the EU member states and not only. In the contemporary world, this
unity may constitute a harmonious blending of the economic, political, social, and cultural principles.
           
1989 1992, who said that ...we must answer the acceler ation of the continental history with the
accelera tion of the community history..., it may be said that the acceleration of the world history must
receive a European answer. In this case, the creation of a united Europe will be a continuous process,
which started in the 50’s and has not yet come to an end. 
Under these terms, the observation of the conscious actions of the masses, of the peoples, presently

prosperity, and justice. In conclusion, the countries belonging to the EU represent the forces able to
determine the victory of reason and of what is right.
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD,   . Address: 3 Galati Blvd, Galati 800654, Romania, Tel.:
+40372 361 102. Corresponding author: ionut.stefan@univ-danubius.ro.
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives 2014
326
1.1. The Globalization Concept
Globalization is a multidimensional process which rapidly and deeply transforms the national and
global activities, but also the interactions among the social players. The changes accomplished impact
on all aspects of human life. Its speed, width, and character differ function to the dimension in which it
develops: economic, political, social, cultural, military, etc. Although there is no universal definition
of globalization, it is generally regarded as a process in which the barriers hindering the international
flows of goods, services, capital, money, and information are eroded and even eliminated. At present,
there is a fierce debate on the width and length of this process. Some specialists, such as John Gray,
state that globalization represents an epochal transformation of capitalism, which has already been
accomplished, being inevitable and irreversible. Others, such as Paul Hirst or Graham Thompsom,
claim that the width of globalization is exaggerated and that we are not dealing with a phenomenon,
but with an acceleration of the internationalization process of capitalism and the market. Such
comparisons are hard to make because of the complexity of the statistical data which must be
gathered.
These acceptations are contrasted by the one perceiving the current globalization as a second wave of
the process, on the whole, which has no precedent judging by its characteristics and the number of
countries involved. Anthony Giddens describes globalization as not new, but revolutionary and
proves that it is a multifaceted process, with various - often contradictory - aspects.On the whole,
globalization may be defined from the perspective of three main theories: a) the theory of the world
system, b) the theory of the world political organization, and c) the theory of world culture. According
to the theory of the world system, globalization is a process, completed in the 20th century, by which
the capitalist system was spread on the globe. Since this world system kept some of its main
characteristics along the centuries, it may be stated that globalization is not a new phenomenon. The
beginning of the 21st century finds the economy of the capitalist world in crisis; therefore, according to
the most important promoter of this theory, Immanuel Wallerstein, the current ideological celebration
of the so-called globalization is nothing more than the swan song of the world system. The
explanation is that, in the 20th century, the world system reached its geographical limits, by expanding
the capitalist markets and the state system to all the regions of the world. At the same time, it
witnessed the consolidation of the USA as a unique superpower, while the new states and communist
regimes improved their economic status, and the system intrinsically stayed polarized. Wallerstein
calls this transformation the transition period. The new economic crises can no longer be solved by
exploiting the markets. The economic decline will give rise to conflicts at the very center of the
system, and the system will reach a critical point. As long as this chaotic transition does not lead to the
configuration of a more democratic world, the capitalist globalization will vanish.
In the perspective of the theory of the world political organization, globalization is the enlargement
and adoption of the world culture. Starting with the second half of the 19th century, a rational,
institutional, and cultural world order took shape, consisting of patterns applicable at a global level,
which configure individual states, organizations, and identities. The conceptions on progress,
sovereignty, rights, etc. got to have a greater authority, structuring the actions of states and individuals
and providing a common framework for the international disputes. At the end of the 20th century, the
world culture crystallized as a constitutive element of the world society, a set of universally valid
prescriptions. This culture became a common heritage, institutionalized all over the globe and
supported by many transnational groups. However, it does not meet the general consensus, so the
implementation of the global patterns will not lead to the configuration of a homogenous world, on the

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