United Europe: The Effects of Ratifying the European Constitution

For over 2000 years, Europe stood as the center of the world in the areas of art, science, wealth, and religion. After the brutal conflicts of World War I and II, as well as the end of Communism, many realized that because of the lack of organization and communication between the various nations, corruption, deceit, and war, conflict was able to run rampant and unchecked. On that note, European nations proposed an economic and intergovernmental union that would ensure the future prosperity of Europe. This European Union changed many things on the continent, from economic policies, to political structure. How exactly was Europe, despite its violent history, able to reach a relatively universal agreement that has allowed it to become one of the largest economic and political unions in the world? This article describes just that.

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Background: European History in a Nutshell

From the late 1800's onward, many began to see the direction of where Europe was headed. German and Italian unification, the formation of smaller nations, growing wealth imbalances and distrust caused an array of secret pacts and alliances, and the formation of a communist Russia all created a tense era. Eventually, this web became so entangled that when World War I began in 1914 due to the death of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, almost all of Europe was dragged into conflict, even if some nations did not act in any way. For four years, war dragged on, destroying the face of Europe and leaving deep emotional scars within the population. An entire generation of men were almost obliterated, with survivors carrying both physical and emotional scars. In the end, all of the blame was placed solely on the relatively young Germany, who was expected to repay absurd amounts of money to repair Europe. This, coupled with the global depression of the late 1920's, are theorized to be the reason for the emergence of Hitler and the cause of the second World War.

In 1993...

After World War Two, the Cold War was the dominant factor in world politics and economic policies. Western Europe watched horridly at the Soviet Union's growing influence in Eastern Europe. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the world rejoiced. It was at this time that Europe felt would be the most ample opportunity to ensure that the tumultuous history that shaped the continent until that time would not continue. It was this idea that was the foundation of the Treaty of Maastricht which was enacted in 1993 thus heralding in the EU.

What is the Definition of the EU:

The European Union is an economic and political organization on the European continent which includes twenty seven members, all of which are European countries except for Luxembourg which is a Grand Duchy. Although a Union, it exists more or less as a confederation of states. Each nation retains its own individual governments and laws while at the same time, each nation has representatives that convene regularly, as well as follow a common economic and justice policy. There is a president and several parliaments that oversees the EU including deciding trade policies, and enacting foreign policy. Currently, the president of the EU is Herman Van Rompuy. EU presidents can come from any member state and are the spokesperson on behalf of the entire union. The mission statement of the EU is dual purpose: to ensure economic prosperity and free trade within member states and to establish policies to insure political stability and peace.

Who is Currently in the European Union?

To date, the following nations makeup the EU:

-Austria
-Belgium
-Bulgaria
-Cyprus
-Czech Republic
-Denmark
-Estonia
-Finland
-France
-Germany
-Greece
-Hungary
-Ireland
-Italy
-Latvia
-Lithuania
-Luxembourg
-Malta
-Netherlands
-Poland
-Portugal
-Romania
-Slovakia
-Slovenia
-Spain
-Sweden
-United Kingdom

European states are frequently added when they can show that they have stable government, maintain human right laws mandated by the EU, and have an economy that can rival the EU on its own. Currently, the EU consists of over 500 million citizens and boasts the second largest economy based on GDP. In order to evaluate the effects of the EU ratification, we must separate it into economic and political changes.

-Economic

Part of the reason the EU was established was to connect all member states' interest rates so that each state enjoyed a similar standard of living as well as trade tariff costs. To do this, the EU commissioned the Euro as the primary currency which can be used within all member states. However, the UK is the only state that retains its own currency the Pound, because it was already strong when the EU was established. Doing this also protects England from the blunt of economic trouble when the EU does poorly but those that visit England can use the Euro in lieu of the Pound.

The EU also allows free trade and transportation between states. This means that anyone who is a citizen of a member nation can travel throughout the Eurozone without a passport or visa. Not only that, but the EU also determines the trade policies of all member states which have to be followed. For example, a ban on corn syrup by the EU means that all member states are not allowed to import it.

-Political

The EU establishes itself as an intergovernmental institution for economic and international policies. The EU also has the ability to establish treaties with other nations. Each member state has a seat in the UN for diplomatic reasons, but with regards to international organizations such as NATO, the EU acts on behalf of the member states.

The EU also has an established security and justice policy. The Europol is one such organization, which acts as the central intelligence office for the entire Eurozone. In terms of criminal acts, if issues between member states occur, there is a general tribunal that deals with international cases. The EU also maintains a common doctrine on human rights, which must be accepted in order for states to qualify for membership.
 

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