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The Fractal Process of European Integration: The Fractal Process of European Integration

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This article challenges the role that successive generations of EU scholars have granted to the transnational networks of European federalists in the process of European integration. Whereas a first wave of scholarship has claimed that they played a huge role in the process (1) by convincing states to change their preferences and adopt federalist treaties instead of intergovernmental treaties -- a claim that was disputed by regime theorists, who argued that transnational networks played no role at all in the process of integration -- and that European integration was in fact not different from classical inter-governmentalism; a second wave of institutionalist scholarship refines that claim by arguing that federalists played a more limited role; (2) by changing the subjective probabilities which states assigned to the possibility of acceptance of federalist treaties. Instead, this wave argued that federalists increased the expected utility that states derived from the signing of federalist treaties, (3) by spreading the risk of rejection of these treaties into successive rounds of negotiations. Federalists, we claim, segmented treaties into components with different probabilities of acceptance, and structured the different rounds of negotiations of these components by starting with the less risky ones, promising to continue negotiating more risky ones in the future rounds.

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  • 01/02/2019
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  • 10-006
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