Sweden’s Integration in European Union
After the end of cold war and the break down of bipolar system, there is interest in integration processes by several countries in European region. The countries are interested in mutual integration both regionally and subregionally. During the cold war period integration processes were mostly connected with the mutual cooperation of West European countries, but now West European countries have joined in the integration process as well as Scandinavian countries that refrained from a closer cooperation with EC (now EU) for a long time. Because of this fact EU has become an important actor in international relations. It represents the most important political center of gravity in Europe. EU has economic power and democratic organization that tenders a common market to more than 350 million Europeans and provides the freedom of traveling for all the citizens of the union. Besides, EU is politically active as well by offering help to countries in the spheres where national governments cannot handle or their capacities are limited, for example, in matters concerning politics and security, environment protection or in reducing unemployment and immigration.
Integration theory is closely connected with the pluralist view to international relations that are based on the following assumptions:
1) for the pluralist the state is not a unitary actor,
2) nonstate actors are important entities in world politics,
3) pluralists challenge the realist assumption of the state as rational actor,
4) for pluralists the agenda of international politics is extensive. Although national security concerns are important, the pluralist is also concerned with a number of economic, social, and ecological issues arising from the growth of interdependence among states and societies in the 20th century.
In turn, there are two significant problems in the study of integration:
1) obtaining from subjects or citizens deference and devotion to the political unit within which they live,
2) achieving procedural and substantive consensus within political system.
Following the above mentioned, the task of the report of to show the main reasons of Sweden’s orientation towards integration in European Union. In order to accomplish the task better, the report is divided into two parts. The first part that is theoretical deals with different integration definitions and problems that are connected with conditions and indicators of the integration process. The second part deals with Sweden’s moving towards integration in European Union since the end of World War II. The following hypothesis is put forward: Sweden’s integration process towards EU
is based on economic considerations, but there are certain reservations concerning defense.
DEFINITIONS, CONDITIONS AND INDICATORS
Most international integration scholars have been more self-conscious about
problems of definition and conceptualization. There have been major efforts to specify what constitutes integration, to identify the actions or end states involved, to differentiate integration from other processes and conditions with which it might be confused, and to specify how one would identify integration empirically. This concern about conceptualization has not led to agreement about a definitions of integration.
In studies of international regional integration scholars have defined integration in terms of the process of shifting loyalties from a national setting to a larger entity, the ability to ensure peaceful change over time, the establishment and maintenance of community, the ability of a system to maintain itself, and the collective capacity to make decisions. Writers primarily concerned with national integration have defined integration as system cohesion, adaptation to structures, a bridging of the elite-mass gap, the establishment of common norms and commitment to patterns of political behavior.