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date: 22 July 2017

European Union: Integration, National, and European Identities

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Please check back later for the full article.

The European Union (EU) is an economic, political, and social conglomeration of twenty-eight member nations. These member nations work together via a system of supranational institutional and intergovernmental negotiated treaties and decisions by member states. While the EU has been able to continue its development in various stages since the 1950s, a key issue continually facing the EU has always been integration at different levels. Integration of new member states, integration of individuals and cultures within member states, and most recently integration of immigrants (newcomers of different designations) into the EU.

While the EU has strict guidelines regarding the integration of new member states into the EU, no policies or procedures are strictly in place regarding the integration of individuals into the EU. Issues of national sovereignty are critical to EU member states when discussing how to integrate newcomers. Most recently, during the heightened wave of refugees entering the EU through its Southern and Eastern borders, the issue of how to integrate newcomers into the EU has come to the forefront of national and EU policymakers. Key questions facing the EU and its member states include this: What are the national integration policies, and how do they differ? What does it mean to be European? What is the future for the EU in response to increased legal, illegal, and irregular migration?