The Evolving Architecture of Europe: Functioning or Dysfunctional for the Twenty-First Century?

39 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2018

See all articles by Paul G. Hare

Paul G. Hare

Heriot-Watt University; CASE, Warsaw

Richard Stoneman


Date Written: August 2017


From modest beginnings in 1957, the EU has since evolved both by deepening – adding new tasks and responsibilities to the Commission’s remit – and by widening – adding new members in a series of accessions, to arrive at the present 28 member states. A new complication was the UK’s referendum in June 2016 that opted for Brexit. The EU’s evolution by enlargement is examined, followed by an outline of the major EU institutions and the links between them. This includes EU engagement with the wider world via trade deals and aid. The suitability of the EU’s acquis for applicant states and countries in the EU neighbourhood is reviewed, followed by an assessment of the overall EU ‘Model’. Having appeared to function well and deliver significant benefits to the member states, the ‘Model’ has performed far less well since the 2007–2009 financial crisis, revealing major weaknesses in the Union’s capabilities. The EU needs new, more flexible economic models, as well as new modes of engagement, both internally and with its various partners. In addition, the EU’s political model needs reform, both to deal with the democratic deficit and to provide for more effective decision-making.

Keywords: growth, enlargement, EU institutions, neighbourhood, Brexit, economic models

Suggested Citation

Hare, Paul and Stoneman, Richard, The Evolving Architecture of Europe: Functioning or Dysfunctional for the Twenty-First Century? (August 2017). Comparative Economic Studies, Vol. 59, Issue 4, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Paul Hare (Contact Author)

Heriot-Watt University ( email )

Edinburgh EH14 4AS, Scotland EH14 1AS
United Kingdom
0131 451 3483 (Phone)
0131 451 3498 (Fax)

CASE, Warsaw ( email )

Al. Jana Pawła II 61/212
Warsaw, 01-031

Richard Stoneman

Independent ( email )

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