Formerly established in 1993, the EU currently includes 28 member states and is home to more than 510 million people. It is the largest economy in the world. The future of the EU has come into question of late with Brexit—the vote in Great Britain to leave the union—and the controversial candidacy of Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election.
There are many research paper topics to consider on these issues, as well as the future of federalism in Europe in general.
Federalism and the EU
One interesting point of comparison between the EU and the United States to focus on in a research paper is the length of the two entities’ constitutions. The EU’s constitution is 352 pages and is accompanied by a 382-page addendum. The United States constitution, on the other hand, is only 4,400 words and is the shortest written constitution of any government in the world. Does the length and specificity of the EU constitution actually hinder governance?
Anand Menon and Martin Schain compiled essays comparing the way the EU and the U.S. are governed in Comparative Federalism: The European Union and the United States in Comparative Perspective. One essay by Theodore Lowi, “Eurofederalism: What Can European Union Learn From United States?” stated on page 108, “The EU Constitution will probably go the way of the first American Constitution, The Articles of Confederation. It lasted just under thirteen years, … The current EU Constitution cannot be salvaged by amendment.” What would such a change mean for the future of federalism in Europe and the EU’s longevity are more topics to cover in a research paper.
The vote in Great Britain last year to leave the EU, otherwise known as Brexit, sent shock waves across Europe and the globe. But what many British may not have realized when they voted to leave the EU, is that the process for Great Britain to step away will be a lengthy and complicated one.
The Economist posted on March 29, 2017, “What happens now that Britain has triggered Article 50?” discusses where the process stands now. British Prime Minister Theresa May has begun the process by initiating Article 50, which the blog said, “Under Article 50’s terms, any country invoking it automatically leaves the EU after two years, unless the other 27 unanimously agree to extend that deadline.” However, Article 50 does not guarantee a deal between Great Britain and the EU, it just begins the negotiation process. A research paper could explain the steps in this complicated governmental divorce.
France and the future of the EU
Meanwhile, the EU’s future has also been called into question by the presidential elections in France and the controversy surrounding one of the major candidates, Marine Le Pen. Pieter Cleppe reported, “Win or lose, Marine Le Pen is a nightmare for the EU” for cnn.com on April 24, 2017, with how the candidate will influence the future of the EU.
Marine Le Pen is the leader of the National Front Party in France, which has, in the past, been in favor of abandoning the euro. If she got her wish, and France abandoned the EU’s currency, Cleppe stated, “The French Central Bank has estimated that refinancing French public debt outside of the eurozone would cost more than 30 billion euros ($32 billion) in additional annual interest.” A research paper could examine other impacts that a Frexit (French exit) from the EU would have on the European economy.
How do you think Brexit and other issues in Europe will affect the EU in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.