– the unifying force behind the birth of the European Union.
The French political and economic adviser Jean Monnet dedicated himself to the cause of European integration. He was the inspiration behind the ‘Schuman Plan’, which foresaw the merger of west European heavy industry.
The question of how to avoid wars between the nation-states was essential for the first theories. Federalism and Functionalism proposed the containment of the nation-state, while Transactionalism sought to theorise the conditions for the stabilisation of the nation-state system.
One of the most influential theories of European integration is neofunctionalism, developed by Ernst B. Haas (1958) and further investigated by Leon Lindberg (1963). The important debate between neofunctionalism and (liberal) intergovernmentalism still remains central in understanding the development and setbacks of the European Union. But as the empirical world has changed, so have the theories and thus the understanding of European Integration. Today there is a relatively new focus on the complex policy-making in the EU and multi-level governance (MLG) trying to produce a theory of the workings and development of the EU.
Various federalist organisations have been created over time supporting the idea of a federal Europe. These include the Union of European Federalists, the European Movement International and the European Federalist Party. The Union of European Federalists (UEF) is a European non-governmental organisation, campaigning for a Federal Europe. It consists of 20 constituent organisations and it has been active at the European, national and local levels for more than 50 years. The European Movement International is a lobbying association that coordinates the efforts of associations and national councils with the goal of promoting European integration, and disseminating information about it. The European Federalist Party is the pro-European, pan-European and federalist political party which advocates further integration of the EU and the establishment of a Federal Europe. Its aim is to gather all Europeans to promote European federalism and to participate in all elections all over Europe. It has national sections in 15 countries.