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European Union: Fairly Successful Integration Project Essay

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Updated: Oct 5th, 2021

The European Union is a project that aspires at reaching the highest degrees in Supranationalism. It is a good instance of regional integration, as it has been working on converging the economies and politics of several European countries (currently 27 in total). This integrative process has been conducted via a number of institutions, namely the Council of the European Union, Parliament, the Commission, and Central Bank. So far, the EU represents a fairly successful instance of regional integration.

The EU as such appeared only in 1990s. In fact, it evolved out of the 1952 European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC was formed at the aftermath of World War I, inaugurating a new peaceful era within Europe. It comprised six countries which are: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It was an economy-oriented organization. The aim of the ECSC was to create some measure of convergence at the level the coal and steel commodities of policies including the setting of common prices. Although it did not manage ultimately create a common market, it showed the importance of the process of integration (McCormick, 2002). Indeed, the ECSC was a form of regional integration.

Developing on this budding form of integration, the EU project was taking shape. Following the ECSC, the European Community was formed in 1957 by virtue of the Treaty of Rome. The aims at that stage went beyond the creation of a common market. By 1986, Denmark, Ireland, the UK, Greece, Spain and Portugal have entered the European Community (EC). In 1986, a Single European Act was signed; it stipulated for coordination in the fields of economy, society, and judiciary. It represented a widening in the scope of integration. The EC laid the foundation for upcoming economic and political integration. A European Common Agriculture Policy was crafted; it regulated tariffs and subsidies among the EC countries. Key institutions such as the European Parliament (1951) were formed under the EC.

The EU as such was set up in December 1991 by virtue of the Maastricht Treaty. It constitutes a third and decisive phase in the European regional project. Regional integration gained momentum as the EU has sought to reinforce integration and extend it to the political sphere via a binding legal corpus that institutionalizes the process. Briefly, the Council of the European Union, formerly known as the European Council of Ministers, is the legislative organ of the EU. It is composed of ministers from the member states; according to debated subject or the agenda, ministers with the relevant occupation/ministry attend. Parliament is the executive branch. It is deemed by some scholars to be more of a policy making institution than an executive (McCormick, 2002). Finally, the Central Bank is the main supranational financial institution. This institution could be considered the most successful; the Euro was launched in 2002, it has grown into a strong currency. It has consistently maintained values above the US dollar for months.

All these institutions ideally aim at merging the EU nations at various levels. It is interesting that despite the half-century process of integration, the EU still faces a major challenge which is that of national sovereignty. This is most apparent at the legislative level whereby difficulties to formulate a monolithic foreign policy. The war in Iraq, for instance, has shown the limitation of Supranationalism. There was a major split among the member states, which diverged into pro Iraq war such as the UK and against it such as France (Dodge, 2004). Some scholars would suggest the Council of the EU has become a platform for asserting national interests rather than forging common supranational policies (McCormick, 2002).

On the whole, the EU is a fairly successful integration project. It gradually evolved over years from mere cooperation in coal and steel to the EU as we know it nowadays. The most important underlying aim is perhaps the creation of a solid economic and political block. Whereas the Euro is a token of healthy economy, on the political sphere there is divergence at forming a common foreign policy.

Bibliography

Dodge, Toby, Luciani, Giacomo, and Neugart, Felix (2004). The European Union and Iraq: Present Dilemmas and Recommendations for Future Action. European University (Florence) Policy Paper.

Online. Web.

McCormick, John (2002). Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction. European Union Series. New York: Palgrave.

Warleigh, Alex (2002). Understanding European Union Institutions. London, New York: Routledge.

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IvyPanda. "European Union: Fairly Successful Integration Project." October 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/european-union-fairly-successful-integration-project/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "European Union: Fairly Successful Integration Project." October 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/european-union-fairly-successful-integration-project/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'European Union: Fairly Successful Integration Project'. 5 October.

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