European integration: an assessment in terms of economic policies since the euro area crisis

Cangir, Oğuzhan
Since World War (WW) II, powerful steps in terms of enlargement and deepening have been taken forward to integrate Europe within the context of an organization called as the European Union (EU). Despite powerful steps, in recent years the EU has been facing challenging exams (constitutional crisis in 2005, the Euro Area (EA) crisis in 2009, refugee crisis, terrorist attacks etc.) which adversely affect the dynamism of integration, and consequently it is seen that there are some backward steps (Brexit and other possible exits from the EU) which can be defined as disintegration moves. Today the main motive of further integration can be attributed to economic benefits provided by integration itself, and today further integration comes with further economic integration which means more coordination between monetary and fiscal policies at EU level. In economic theory there are two main economic policy instruments; monetary policy and fiscal policy. From the point of the EU while monetary policies are carried out at union level by the European Central Bank, fiscal policies are left to the sovereignty of EU nations. In order to overcome this approach which can also be defined briefly as “single monetary policy - different fiscal policies”, various harmonization efforts have been made, especially through fiscal policies. In this context, the sovereignty of member states (MSs) of the EU has been tried to be restricted via the Maastricht convergence criteria and various other economic coordination procedures. Moreover, today many institutional and structural changes are taking place by means of economic policies (such as European Semester, European Stability Mechanism, Banking Union, etc.) created and implemented since the EA Crisis starting to be effective since 2009. In this study, it is aimed to examine the effects of the latest economic policies on European integration process. With the help of such an analysis, this thesis proposes the argument that Europe will continue to be integrated more and more but in small steps. Contrarily, for sure, regressions or some degree of disintegration moves due to economic crises or other economic and political reasons will be seen from time to time within European integration process. However, while these so-called disintegration moves can be seen rarely, all in all, it is considered that the benefits of integration will always come to the forefront.