The Choice for Europe since Maastricht – Objectives

This project starts from the premise that analysing the politics of economic and monetary integration is key for identifying feasible reforms and to overcome the shortcomings of the current institutional setup. Our theory-driven empirical investigation of intergovernmental negotiations since Maastricht aims at collecting data to gain deeper insights into the positions of member states concerning questions of monetary, economic and fiscal integration since the Treaty of Maastricht.
The project’s main research objectives, which build on each other, are the following: 

  • First, we aim at establishing a comprehensive database of member states’ preferences, regarding economic and monetary integration. The database will cover all of the member states and their positions on all relevant issues of economic and monetary integration that have been discussed at intergovernmental negotiations since Maastricht. Based on this systematic collection of member states’ preferences, we attempt to identify the main areas of contestation and the different models of economic and monetary integration.
  • Second, we aim at explaining member states’ preferences by combining the theoretical approach of liberal intergovernmentalism with insights from the comparative political economy literature. Whereas the database of member states’ preferences covers our dependent variable, we propose to compile another database of domestic political, economic and fiscal characteristics for the explanatory dimension of our theoretical framework. We thus aim to elaborate and test a comprehensive set of hypotheses, regarding the influence of domestic economic, political and fiscal factors upon member states’ preferences formation in economic and fiscal integration.
  • In addition to the quantitative analyses, we propose to conduct qualitative case studies that allow us to further study the causal mechanisms that link economic, political and fiscal characteristics and the influence of constitutional constraints and international pressure to member states’ governments’ preferences.
  • Furthermore, by answering our main questions, we aim at achieving a broader objective, which is not only academically relevant but also of great practical importance. Namely, this is assessing the political feasibility of various economic and monetary integration models. It is this latter objective that reflects the specific challenges of the call and its different dimensions.