The Rise of a Neo-Medieval Order in Europe
When in 1977 Hedley Bull speculated on a possible return to the medieval pattern of interstate politics he still considered such a prospect relatively unlikely. This is because he saw too little regional integration of states and too little disintegration of states as such. However, since the 1970s the situation in Europe has changed dramatically and I will argue in this article that it has changed along the medieval scenario. Today we have in Europe the essence of the medieval politics identified by Bull, namely a complex "system of overlapping authority and multiply loyality." Member states have not disintegrated, but integrated accepting significant erosion of their sovereignty in various fields. Member states have ceased fighting with each other about territorial acquisitions and they have changed the ways of protecting their spheres of influence. Their present conflicts are primarily about exclusion from the European core and abuse of agreed procedures and they are being sorted out through complex institutional bargaining over laws and procedures. Intervention in the internal affairs of member states is now accepted either in support of certain moral norms (human rights, for instance) or in order to enforce compliance with the agreed laws. In present day, Europe power is structured and excercised in a different way than is usually assumed by the Westphalian paradigm. This article will identify the main features of the emerging international order in Europe and contrast them with the classical Westphalian model.
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