European communion: political theory of European union

Ian Manners

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Political theory of European union, through an engagement between political concepts and theoretical understandings, provides a means of identifying the EU as a political object. It is argued that understanding the projects, processes and products of European union, based on sharing' or communion', provides a better means of perceiving the EU as a political object rather than terms such as integration' or co-operation'. The concept of European communion' is defined as the subjective sharing of relationships', understood as the extent to which individuals or groups believe themselves to be sharing relations (or not), and the consequences of these beliefs for European political projects, processes and products. By exploring European communion through an engagement with contemporary political theory, using very brief illustrations from the Treaty of Lisbon, the article also suggests that European communion embraces three different readings of the EU as a political object the EU as a constellation of communities; as a cosmopolitan space; and as an example of cosmopolitical co-existence. In other words, the political object of European union may be identified as sharing European communion'.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)473-494
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Communion
  • cosmopolitical
  • European Union
  • political theory

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