The European Unification The European Unification 500 years ago, the European age began. Portuguese seafarers swept Europe out of the medieval age, and boldly helped Europe to grow. During the European age, constant wars were fought among the many nations that made up Europe. By 1945, Europe had all but destroyed itself. With the end of the 20th century, Europe has been given a historic opportunity, a united Europe, it is a chance at new life, a miracle as some consider it.
On January 1, 1999, champagne corks popped, fireworks lit up the skies, and the peoples in Europe were happy. What is important about this date? January 1, 1999 marked the launching of the new single currency for the European Union, the euro. Many see this as a giant step towards Europes long quest for unity. The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf hailed the launch of the euro as the crown upon European unification. After many decades of dreams, diplomacy, and delays, European unity seemed closer than ever.
However as you shall see, the European Union will not benefit Europe, rather it will serve as a detriment. In order to decide whether the EU will serve to benefit Europe, or hurt it, we need to consider the history behind Europe. In 1993, the European Union was started. Across all of Europe it was hailed as a new opportunity for peace, something that could not be rejected. The EU began with five countries, who signed a pact to unite and grow stronger. Now, in the year 2000, the European Union has grown to some 15 member countries, joined together for a common cause: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
These countries have at great expense, decided to make the change from individual countries, to a united group of people. The rules and requirements are strict, or else many more countries would have already joined. As it is, there are many countries waiting in the wings, waiting to be accepted into the European Union; countries like Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. There are eight others that are awaiting their turn, but cannot join as of yet, since the entrance fee does not come cheap. However, in time, most of Europe will join the EU and a new United States of Europe will be born.. hopefully. What is the purpose of the EU? Well, in short, unity.
All of Europe, for once, working towards the same goals; no more wars, no more violence, stability, and peace. These are goals every nation in the world strives towards These are the three pillars which the European Union is based on: Pillar One: abides by the Treaty of Rome, as revised by the Single European Act, it introduces a single market, where all can share and prosper, it includes democracy in Europe, and the European Monetary Union (single currency, European Central Bank, single monetary policy, coordination of economic policies) Pillar Two: established the Common Foreign Policy and Common Security Policy which make it impossible for the Union to take joint action in foreign and security affairs. Pillar Three: establishes an asylum policy, rules on crossing state borders, an immigration policy, the combating of illegal activities, and includes customs, police and judicial cooperation. These are the three pillars upon which all the EU must abide. The European Union offers much for Europe: a common constitution, a single economy and currency, a common foreign policy, as well as common security and defense policies. It offers to give Europe the ability to become a major world power, with an economy that can compete with the U.S.
economy. If everything works out, the European unifications will strengthen Europe, not only in its economy but in every other area as well. And indeed, improvements can be seen. The European Union has already begun to expand Europe’s economy. Previously, countries such as Finland had as little a gain as 4% on their exports.
Now revenues have increased 25% or more in these countries. Not only Europe’s economy has grown, but so has its security, as well as its peace. Tariffs have been removed, and borders are marked merely by signs, along with small guard posts. People can go between countries with ease, now that the borders have been all but eliminated. This has greatly contributed to the growth of businesses, and lots more money is being made. In short, currently the European Union seems to be working out to the benefit of everybody in Europe. These facts alone, are enough for many to agree with the concept of a European Union wholeheartedly.
Many put their faith in the success of Europe, hardly able to wait for the glorious days ahead. But, not all believe that Europe will prosper under the EU. There are many problems that face Europe, and many seemingly insurmountable obstacles remain to be overcome. The EU faces problems that all countries must face; financial problems, resentment, nationalism, and unemployment. The reason so many countries are waiting in the wings is because the EU is currently having its own financial problems. There is not enough money to go around.
The poorer nations in the EU have their own grievances as well. They feel that the richer member nations are not sharing enough of their wealth with them. None of the member nations deny the need to offer the poorer European partners extra financial support. Yet, the richer nations feel that they have valid reasons for holding back. Take Germany for example. That country’s enthusiasm to act as paymaster for European unification has clearly waned now that its own money problems have risen. The price tag for unifying East Germany and West Germany alone has exceeded a hundred billion dollars a year! That is a quarter of the national budget! This has caused Germanys national debt to go through the roof, to such an extent that, even now, Germany has to make great efforts to meet the criteria for joining the European Union.
Other countries are not without their problems as well. Hungary will have to spend over 12 billion euros to fix its road and railway systems. The Czech Republic needs to spend more than 3.5 billion euros on water treatment alone! And Polands sulfur emissions will take 3 billion euros to reduce them to the standards of the EU. Still, the countries believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Trade will increase, and money should begin to flow again, this time to a greater extent. Some view the EU as merely a tool for socialists.
The EU has set up many rules to harmonize standards across Europe. The EU commission will bring together various producers of any given item, a lawn mower or an accordion, and negotiate agreements on a single standard for its production. The EU has placed restrictions so that only a half-dozen varieties of apples are allowed to be sold in the Union. People believe that such Eur …