continued from » New Millennium
Why is the EU (=European Union) a phenomena?
It is (one of) the most important integration of nations to form a union, so that every country within this union can profit from its agreements.
To get a clue of the development in Europe, until it reached its final state, here is an historic overview:
Customs Union between Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg: BENELUX
Brussels’s agreement – defense agreement between Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium (1954: also Italy and Germany): NATO (=North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
Formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in Paris (countries: France, West-Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg)
European Defense Community
Formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) in Rome (Treaties of Rome) (countries: France, West-Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg)
Agreement of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Completion of Customs Union: abolition of tariffs among member states and launching of standardized external tariff
Agreement of additional Community Policies: Regional, Energy and Environment Policy
European Community – expansion: Denmark, Ireland, Great Britain
Activation of the European Monetary System (EMS)
European Community – expansion (first expansion southwards): Greece
Agreement of the first reform of the European Community’s treaties (from 01/01/1987: Single European Act as an internal market)
European Community – expansion: Spain, Portugal
Agreement of the second reform of the European Community’s treaties (EU, “Treaty of Maastricht” on 02/07/1992)
European Community and EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement): common economic area (EEA= European Economic Area)
European Community – expansion: Austria, Finland, Sweden
Launching of the EURO
European Community – expansion: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia
European Community – expansion: Bulgaria, Romania
(changed after the lecture of Ossenbruegge, and www.europa.eu)
There had been several steps to reach the final integration including coordination (agreements manifested in contracts), cooperation (“teamwork” by working on the same goals), and then integration (to become one meaning decisions made together). The countries of the EU formed several types of integration, e.g. free trade zone, one single market, economic union and political union.
The first integration (1958) was very successful due to a tremendous economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time, there have been a high internal dynamic as well as a growing external trade, which were a good foundation on economic-political grounds integration; so more and more countries joined.
During the crisis in the 1970s (conditioned by Fordism), “Eurosclerosis” spread. That means the integration stagnated and nations began to step back to national economic politics.
After that crisis, the integration made several steps forward by deregulating and harmonizing of the European Community’s economic area including material, technical and fiscal barriers.
At the moment the EU is struggling after the Great Recession.