Les opinions publiques, obstacle à l’intégration européenne In: Politique étrangère N°4 – 1992 – 57e année pp. 893-913.

This is an article I published in 1992 on national public opinions as the main barrier to effective monetary union. In view of the present situation, where Euroland member states seek to occupy a half way-house between a a federal ECB and 17 sovereigns with fiscal autonomy,  the theme expounded here is worth re-visiting. German public opinion is averse to bail-outs, but is also in favour of the Euro. As long as this parenthesis lasts, financial markets will continue to sense the ambiguity, and operate as if the end of the Euro is an option. The reason why member states tremble at the prospect of moving to a fully fledged federal union is that they are worried that public opinions may baulk at the idea. In short, public opinion has always been the elephant in Europe’s monetary room.

Both the SEA and the Maastricht treaty were negotiated by elites and presented for ratification to the parliaments and peoples of the European states. The aim of the complex exercise was to préserve and embed Western Europe society, which had prospered in the past 45 years, so that a hard core of Europe would radiate its values and wealth into the wider, more turbulent Europe opened up by the endof the cold war. But « Maastricht » is a design for a new Europe, which casts shallow roots in European political cultures, and opinions. The old methods of haggling over details, because of disagreements about ends, have prompted member states to protect or project their interests into the negotiations, while postponing the two major questions facing Europe — money and défense — for further debate in 1996. Mean-while, national identifies are challenged by the immediate concerns, innate mutual suspicions, and the return of conditions of flux to world and European affairs. « Maastricht » is the point where European diplomacy and statecraft — elitest by origin, inspiration and context — meets democratie endorsement or rejection. The struggle for Europe’s future has only begun.

The article is in pdf form at:





About Jonathan Story, Professor Emeritus, INSEAD

Jonathan Story is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1974, he worked in Brussels and Washington, where he obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has held the Marusi Chair of Global Business at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate Schoold of Business, Fordham University, New York. He is preparing a monograph on China’s impact on the world political economy, and another on a proposal for a contextual approach to business studies. He has a chapter forthcoming on the Euro crisis. His latest book is China UnCovered: What you need to know to do business in China, (FT/ Pearson’s, 2010) (www.chinauncovered.net) His previous books include “China: The Race to Market” (FT/Pearsons, 2003), The Frontiers of Fortune, (Pitman’s, 1999); and The Political Economy of Financial Integration in Europe : The Battle of the Systems,(MIT Press, 1998) on monetary union and financial markets in the EU, and co-authored with Ingo Walter of NYU. His books have been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. He is also a co-author in the Oxford Handbook on Business and Government(2010), and has contributed numerous chapters in books and articles in professional journals. He is a regular contributor to newspapers, and has been four times winner of the European Case Clearing House “Best Case of the Year” award. His latest cases detail hotel investments in Egypt and Argentina, as well as a women’s garment manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a Chinese auto parts producer. He teaches courses on international business and the global political economy. At the INSEAD campus, in Fontainebleau and Singapore, he has taught European and world politics, markets, and business in the MBA, and PhD programs. He has taught on INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Programme for the last three decades, as well as on other Executive Development and Company Specific courses. Jonathan Story works with governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. He is married with four children, and, now, thirteen grandchildren. Besides English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian, reads Portuguese and is learning Russian. He has a bass voice, and gives concerts, including Afro-American spirituals, Russian folk, classical opera and oratorio.
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