Understanding the European Union Through Comparison to Sovereign States




Hunziker, Rebecca

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The European Union qualifies as a new type of intergovernmental organization, a supranational organization, because its member states have integrated to a much greater degree than any other intergovernmental organization that came before it. This new level of categorization causes many people to believe that the European Union is so unique that it has no peers with which to make meaningful comparisons. In this paper, I will argue that although the European Union exists somewhere between a traditional intergovernmental organization and a state, it does share many characteristics with sovereign states and these shared characteristics make meaningful comparison possible. Further, I will argue that by comparing the European Union to sovereign states we can better understand the European Union’s formation, have greater insight into the problems the European Union faces, and attempt to comprehend the future of the European Union with more clarity.



European Union., States., Intergovernmental organizations., International studies.