Overall, reflecting what «is» the European Union can come to our head two main premises: the same currency and ease of movement between countries of its members.
Although it is a good read, these concepts are only the result of a process that can not be defined with sufficient certainty in the public imagination. What was initially planned as an economic integration of few countries located on the mainland, it has resulted in different parallel processes where both the concepts and the actors involved, have diversified to the point that we are in the middle of a general uncertainty.
In this regard, I believe that the European Union has no «problems» in its literal definition, but is the focus of multiple processes because of their complexity generate a general confusion when trying to define and address them. That is why, from the readings, I believe that the main questions after reading the text are two:
- Blur (or clarity in the definition) of what the European Union.
- Lack of understanding in the functioning of policies and decision-making-making and its relationship to the European citizen.
Addressing the first issue, the author says that 15 years ago «citizens used to trust used to trust their governments to represent their interest in brussels». At that time the European Union was specifically counted the economic integration of countries represented in the unification of the currency. There was a clarity about what was the union and the universe was determined (each with social, economic and fairly similar policies).
Over the years, a progressive expansion of countries began to be part of this union (which eventually generated resistance among the original countries of the union and, I presume, the anti-European generation of a feeling) occurs . These countries (geographically located on the same continent) start diversify the characteristics of the countries comprising the EU, which should be made more flexible because unlike the original members, the new countries have differences (notable not only but deep) in the different dimensions that make up its internal dynamics.
Economic decisions begin to have an influence on the social and political fields of the countries (both original and new) that make up the European Union. Consequence of this phenomenon and the growing number of actors involved (increasingly less commonalities), the EU begins to be more than the simple unification of markets and currency to become the epicenter of different processes.
At this point, in the minds of ordinary citizens (both belonging and not belonging to the union) is still referring to the EU and economic integration, and with that same perspective are addressed new subcategories generated over time: ie , observe social and political consequences from the economic perspective and not as independent variables.
It is for this reason that I believe that there is no unified definition of what is the European Union, and this lack of definition makes when referring to it, as researchers or ordinary people, we can not understand it in all its dimensions and give a concrete answer.
A lack of general consensus, is added a second situation that delves more the levels of confusion when referring to the EU is not sufficiently disseminated or socialized the way it develops its policy-making and decision-making and how they relate to traditional citizens.
Functioning as a supra government, the development of the activities of the EU is based on the search for actions and decisions that favor the union. And this is where the first dichotomy is presented; premium the benefit of the union as the dependent variable and the countries that compose it as an independent variable, or in other words. Another way of putting it might be the question of whether we are national citizens (of a country) or are (European) continental citizens when choosing those who represent us in local government and in the supra government.
Additionally, this question lies intentions when developing the policy-making on a single theme in common (economic) that has implications in other fields mentioned.
Equally at the time when the decision-making produced the same conflict to reflect on how a supranational decision has consequences on national affairs is generated. Due to the diversification of the characteristics of the member countries and the different economic, social and political levels, ownership of specific decisions in different contexts can generate resistance, unenforceability or inefficiency.
Moreover, to observe only the economic dimensions of both processes are neglected social and political consequences of these economic decisions entail. Additionally, these processes is far from reality (because of its general character) and therefore outside national and local realities of citizens. Hence they do not find him the meaning or interest to know how to generate them as internal EU processes work.
The operation of the EU became a series of complex processes that instead of being common knowledge and common understanding and national legislation for citizens a few years ago, have opened academic programs (like this module) to approach to understand how both processes developed in the EU.
In brief, the main questions after reading the text are we do not know what the European Union and do not know how it works; while we do not know is how it relates to the life of European citizens.
Because it is off the table proposing a change of functioning of the European Union, proposals to reduce the levels of uncertainty would be:
- The general definition of the European Union involves not only the economic dimension but also consider their social and political dimensions.
- Moving from the logic of disseminating information to the communication of key ideas that give reasons, mechanisms and consequences of processes in the union.
 Why it was proposed subsequently standardize the minimum requirements for entry into the European Union; among these features one of the most important but ambiguous: democracy.