chapter  20
7 Pages

Core–periphery relations in the European Union: Some conclusions

ByBRIGID LAFFAN, CHRISTIAN SCHWEIGER, JOSÉ M. MAGONE

Core-periphery relations play an important role within nation states, across continents and at the global level. Throughout history and in the contemporary world there has been a pronounced tendency towards the formation of cores of strength, areas that are economically more advanced, more urbanised and more intensely interconnected than areas that are proximate but peripheral. To be peripheral implies being on the margins or fringes of a state or world region and dependent on the core. Political order and economic well-being are moulded by the way in which relations between core and periphery are played out through time and space (for a thorough historical review of core-periphery relations in the capitalist world economy, see Wallerstein, 2014). The central focus of this volume is on core-periphery relations within the EU

and the implications for European integration. The volume combines theoretical, comparative and empirical perspectives focussing on core-periphery dynamics from the standpoint of the core member states and those classified as peripheral. The volume’s geographical reach includes the heartlands of the EU, its southern and eastern peripheries, and specific member states. The global dimension also receives attention. Although the objective of the volume is not to focus exclusively on the troubled countries in the Eurozone, the volume acknowledges the critical role that the emergence of creditors and debtors has played in the development of the Eurozone crisis and its mediation. In drawing conclusions from the rich and varied perspectives in this volume,

four questions stand out. First, what is the nature and sources of the core-periphery divide in the EU. Second, has the cleavage become more severe during the financial and sovereign debt crisis? Third, what are the effects of a deepening core-periphery divide for the governance of the EU, its influence in the world and its legitimacy vis-à-vis its citizens and fourth what was the impact on Europe’s global policies.