Austria's and Sweden's accession to the European Community : a comparative neo-Gramscian case study of European integration
Since the 1 January 1995, Austria and Sweden have been members of the European Community (EC). This thesis analyses why the two countries joined the EC at a moment, when the latter's development towards a neo-liberal economic policy embodied in the Internal Market and the convergence criteria of the Economic and Monetary Union endangered their traditional Keynesian economic policy making and when the steps towards a Common Foreign and Security Policy threatened Austria's and Sweden's policies of neutrality. It is argued that the process leading to application and then the struggle around the referenda on membership in Austria and Sweden have to analysed against the background of globalisation, a structural change experienced since the early 1970s and characterised by the transnationalisation of production and finance and a shift from Keynesianism to neo-liberalism. Established theories of integration, which take existing power structures as given, are unable to explain instances of structural change. Consequently, a critical theory derived from neo-Gramscianism is developed as an alternative for the investigation of Austria's and Sweden's accession to the EC. Most importantly, its focus on social forces, engendered by the production process, allows the approach to conceptualise globalisation. Applied to the Austrian and Swedish case, it is established that alliances of internationally-oriented and transnational social forces of capital and labour respectively, supported by those institutions linked to the global economy such as the Finance Ministries, were behind the drive towards membership in the neo-liberal EC. While they succeeded in their undertaking, the forces opposed to the EC and neoliberalism should not be underestimated. Nationally-oriented labour and capital in Austria and labour mainly from the public sector in Sweden together with the Green Parties in both countries may well mount a successful challenge in the future. Changes in the international structure, although not of primary importance, implied that neutrality was no big obstacle to EC membership in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Gorbachev's liberal foreign policy and a general decline in the power of the Soviet Union in the case of Austria and the end of the Cold War in the case of Sweden allowed the pro-EC forces in both countries to redefine neutrality in a way that made it compatible with membership.