Future of European Integration in the Context of Internal and External Crises

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-10-57-65
N. Arbatova (arbatova@imemo.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation


The article is dedicated to one of the most important problems of European and international politics – the future of the European Union, which is experiencing the most difficult period in its history. The challenges to European integration are explained by the coincidence and combination of several crises. Those are the internal systemic crisis of the entire European construction, symbolized by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and several overlapping external crises – the consequences of the global economic and financial crisis, the migration crisis, the crisis in relations with Russia around the conflict in Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic crisis. The future of European integration, scenarios and models of its evolution have always been central to both politicians and European scholars, and have acquired great importance after the referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Today’s discussion within the European Union on the future of European integration covers both the directions for further institutional development of the EU and the conceptual support for its reform in key areas – the restoration of democratic legitimacy, the definition of the differentiation parameters (flexible geometry) and the formulation of economic priorities. The analysis of the basic documents adopted by the EU leadership in 2016–2017 as a response to old problems and new challenges to the future of European integration is the focal point of this article. The dilemma of “More Europe or more fragmentation?”, which some politicians are now raising in the EU, is a false choice, because there may be “more Europe” and “more fragmentation” at the same time. This is proved by the fundamental EU documents, adopted at a turning point in the history of European integration. At times, an avant-garde of countries that are ready to go further in promoting integration than other is the necessary precondition for progress. The concept of a multi-speed or different-speed Europe is rejected by the new EU members, but whatever the name, it is the concept of flexible integration that allows avant-garde countries to promote integrationist projects. From the very beginning, European integration developed under the influence of constantly emerging crises. In order to make these crises generate new energy, but not cause paralysis, it is necessary to have a well thought strategy and an adequate political leadership that maintains close relations with European citizens, without whose support it is impossible to break Eurosceptic and nationalistic sentiments. In other words, to avoid the collapse of Europe, European politicians will have to radically rethink the mistakes of the past and answer the challenges of the present. 

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the Project “Imbalances in world politics and international security”, Program of fundamental research of OGPMO RAN “Imbalances of the modern world order and Russia”.


European Union, European integration, crisis, migration, populism, Russia, Ukrainian conflict, NATO, U.S., models, scenarios, security strategy, defense, foreign policy 


1. Winston S. Churchill. Quotes. Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/14033.Winston_S_Churchill (accessed 15.05.2017).

2. Arbatova N.K., Kokeev A.M., eds. Evropeiskii Soyuz na pereput’e: nereshennye problemy i novye vyzovy (politicheskie aspekty) [European Union at the Crossroads: Unresolved Problems and New Challenges (Political Aspects). Moscow, IMEMO, 2016, 234 p.

3. Machavariani, G.I., Kobrinskaya I. Ya., eds. Rossiya i mir 2016. Ezhegodnyi prognoz IMEMO RAN [Russia and the World 2016. Annual Forecast of IMEMO. Moscow, IMEMO, 2015. 147 p.

4. EU Commission Chief Unveils Mandatory Migration Crisis Plan. Available at: https://www.rferl.org/a/european-union-migrationcrisis-plan/27234696.html (accessed 11.11.2016).

5. Brussels Proposes to Create a Federal Agency with a Centralized Asylum System (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.inopressa.ru/article/06Apr2016/elpais/migration.html (accessed 15.04.2017).

6. Arbatova Nadezhda K., Dynkin Alexander A. World Order after Ukraine. Survival, 2016, vol. 58, issue 1, pp. 71-90.

7. Troitsikii M. Kontseptsiya “programmiruyushchego liderstva” v evro-atlanticheskoi strategii SShA [The Concept of the Programming Leadership in Euro-Atlantic Strategy of the USA]. Pro et Contra, 2002, no. 4, pp. 86-103.

8. Shestakov E. Deneg na NATO zhalko [Money for NATO is a Pity]. Rossiiskaya gazeta, 15.11.2016.

9. Fabbrini Federico. How Brexit Opens a Window of Opportunity for Treaty Reform in the EU. Spotlight Europe, 01.2016. Available at: https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/Projekte/88_Europa_staerken_und_verbinden/spotlight_europe_01_2016.pdf (accessed 15.04.2017).

10. White paper on the Future of Europe. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/white_paper_on_the_future_of_europe_en.pdf (accessed 15.05.2017).

11. Glukhikh-Poleshchuk A. Tezisy Yunkera: pyat’ stsenariev spaseniya ES [Junker’s Theses: Five Scenarios of Saving the EU]. Available at: http://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/europe/tezisyyunkera-pyat-scenariev-spaseniya-es.d?id=48573977 (accessed 15.05.2017).

12. Foster P. Jean Claude-Juncker’s Blueprint for Europe: EU Could Give up Dream of Political Union and be ‘Nothing but the Single Market’. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/01/revealed-jean-claude-junckers-five-scenarios-futureeurope/ (accessed 15.05.2017).

13. Shared Vision, Common Action: a Stronger Europe a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy. Available at: http://eeas.europa.eu/archives/docs/top_stories/pdf/eugs_review_web.pdf (accessed 15.05.2017).

14. Mogherini: The Global Strategy will Allow the EU to Realize its Considerable Potential, 18.10.2016 (In Russ.) Available at: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/12278/mogerini-globalnaya-strategiya-pozvolit-es-realizovat-svoy-znachitelnyypotencial_ru (accessed 15.05.2017).

15. The Rome Declaration. Available at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/03/25-rome-declaration/ (accessed 15.05.2017). 

Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Arbatova N. Future of European Integration in the Context of Internal and External Crises. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, No 10, pp. 57-65. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-10-57-65

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
2021, vol. 65, No. 4

Topical Themes of the Issue:

  •  Coronacrisis in the EU: a Knock-Down or a Jump-Off for Integration? 
  •  Latin America in the South-South Cooperation Against the Background of Globalization Controversies 
  •  Reforming the Saudi Economy: Results and Perspectives 
  •  Non-Western Theories of Development in the Global Capitalism Era
  •  About an Attempt to Create a Theory of International Relations in IMEMO in the 1970s
View This Issue (2021, vol. 65, No. 4)
Submit an Article

Dear readers!
Please note that free access to full-text issues of the Journal is being opened at our WEB-site after 6 months of the date of publications.The work on deepening the open archive of full-text issues will be continued.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!
We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!

Dear readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic versions of the IV issue of 2020 and I issue of 2021 of French magazine Politique étrangère are now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media.

In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“World Energy Sector after Pandemic”. We plan to publish articles presenting in-depth analysis of influence of Pandemic on the global energy sector and forecasts of further developments in its various branches.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.


"World Eсonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library eLIBRARY.ru or URL: https://press.gaugn.ru/.

In journal
2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial