FOREX RESEARCH: Building the European Union

After the World War II, many countries thought of a way of acquiescing with one another for the reason more of security and political stability. Faced with the threat of Soviet invasion and the blockade of West Berlin, Europe (and particularly Western Europe) sought alliances with the United States and among themselves. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created as a power counter-balance to the threat of the Soviets, but we must take note that the NATO is a political alliance mainly concerned with the tide of international politics and security.

Meanwhile, Western European countries called for integration in several attempts. Winston Churchill even went on to call for a "United States of Europe" in 1949 where thirteen Western European nations assembled to form the Council of Europe. This concept of the United States of Europe is a good example of the federalist philosophy of integration espoused by the French premier Rene Pleven in 1950. The concept, however, is far more encompassing than the Council of Europe earlier organized. (Ray, 1998: 369)

As stated, Premier Pleven proposed for the creation of an all-European army. This plan would allow the Europeans both to thwart any aggressive designs the Soviets might have and to rearm the Germans without giving them control of weapons of troops. Five out of the six states involved in the plan to create the integrated European army approved it, but in 1954, the French parliament voted to defer the discussion of the idea and so it died a natural death. (Ray, 1998)

Here enters the neo-functionalist approach in the integration of Europe. Although the functionalists were only concerned with having loosely-knit organizations that may interact across the countries, neo-functionalists pointed the need for supranational institutions with power superior to that of the governments of the member nations. (Ray, 1998) In this view the nation state is transferring its powers and sovereignty upwards to the European level in political, sectoral and geographical terms. This transfer takes place from the nation state to a supranational set of authoritative institutions. (Schmitter, 1996: 2)

To concretize these terms, we shall now venture into the birthmarks of the European Union. James Lee Ray (1998) reports that the ideas were practiced through the Schuman plan in 1950. The plan called for the creation of a common market in Europe for coal and steel industries. In 1951, France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Paris, launching the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). (Ray, 1998:370)

The ECSC became a successful endeavor and soon, more negotiations between the nations went underway. In 1957, the same six states signed the Treaty of Rome and this created two new organizations: the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The three organizations stated here and in the last paragraph formed the core of what became known in 1967 as the European Community (EC). When the Treaty of Maastricht came into effect in November 1993, the organization officially adopted the name, the European Union (EU). (Ray, 1998: 370-371)