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The integration of various European states was as a result of various reasons. As a process of political, economic, cultural, social, industrial, legal and technological engagement, integration of various European states came into being.
Regional integration also emerged in an attempt to foster unity among various European countries and thus enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in the manner in which challenges and business opportunities were addressed (Craig & Burca 2003: 33-140).
Barnard and Scott (2002: 4-32) explain that the European integration is truly coming into being. Since 1945, the need for European integration has become more and more urgent.
Evolution of the European Integration
The emergence of the European Union was necessitated with the unwavering need and political desire to encourage global and regional cooperation. Different European communities with common interests of enhancing peace, economic stability, and unity have increasingly enhanced economic integration efforts.
Economic integration was initially restricted to engagement in free trade areas, custom union, single business markets, Euro-zone, aviation, the energy sector, aviation industry and standardization. This process has been hindered by the confrontation and many political disagreements that pertain to the concept of a unified legal operational space for both Europe and the CIS (Barnard & Scott 2002: 17-23).
After the writing of the Pan-Europa Integration Manifesto in the year 1923, the need for the integration of the European Union became more urgent. Proper planning and implementation of various development strategies resulted in the streamlining and formulation of various state and regional integration policies.
The economy and security of the European Union remain to be the most crucial issues that have increasingly led to the demand of a stronger and more united Europe. According to Weigall and Stirk (1992: 67-83), the longing for regional stability and European amalgamation is evident in the development of various economic and political bodies such as the European Coal and Steel Community. This was in line with the desire by most European countries to fully control Germany against possible aggression.
Indeed, the Schuman Plan, which had been proposed by John Simkin was also very fundamental in the process of integrating European states. The Schuman Plan initially targeted the creation of a single point of authority in Europe so as to effectively monitor and control coal and steel production and use in the French republic (Rosamond 2000: 18-22).
The Schuman Plan was tailored and fully focused on addressing post-war challenges. It was focused on ensuring that all post-war state collaborations would not only encourage peace and unity but also ensure that societal concerns were addressed in a timely manner.
The road to European integration has been very challenging. The need for the formation of a strong defence force against states that were considered to be “enemies” greatly contributed to the integration of European states. Closer alliances started being formed among Europeans as means of formulating a strong defence mechanism against outside security threats.
The urgency for European integration was hastened by the USSR, which had undertaken a nuclear test and the Soviet coup against the Czechoslovakia Republic. The vulnerability of West Germany against the USSR incursion became a significant issue of concern. Political, cultural, and regional integration was encouraged by the unending desire by the state and political leaders to achieve quick results on the best operational mechanisms.
Such mechanisms were aimed at reducing conflict levels and at the same time, encourage more countries in Europe to embrace the integration efforts. Being an association of about thirty sovereign states, Craig and Burca (2003: 75-137) explain that the European Union is the single largest partner and strongest force that enhances European integration efforts.
As more challenges emerged, various regional integration forces also came into existence. They include the Baltic Sea, Benelux Union, integration of the Black Sea Province, integration the Central Europe, unification of the British Isles, and formation of a common social and political front of the Nordic states.
Different member states of the various integration sections have since opted to integrate the entire European region leading to the expansion of the region and enhancement of efficiency and flexibility in the operation, legal management, and governance of the European integration.
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Even with emergence of the European integration, the issue of including non-European states to the European integration process has resulted in a lot of challenges that have threatened to derail the success of the European integration.
European institutions today
The modern success of European integration could be attributed to the hard work, unwavering impetus focused on achieving unity, high sense of stability and security standards, economic prosperity and fair level of enjoying peace and stability by both the northern and southern European states (Weigall & Stirk 1992).
The integration of Europe and broadening of the European Union is a continuous process with no predefined or fixed results. Creation of a common space and stronger bargaining power to other business parties across the globe is core to the success of European integration.
Cultural practices and differences in the economic, political and social ideals have continued to be major challenges to the realization of the objectives of regional integration. However, with the success of most European integration strategies, the European environment has become much better and more focused on enhancing efficiency, transparency, and accountability in all business processes.
Social, cultural and political integration motivational factors include education, the need to undertake in-depth research on critical issues of concern, healthcare sector, chartering of various fundamental rights, people’s legal right and privilege to enhance state and national collaboration.
Modern European institutions have been transformed through the implementation of stringent security platforms, harmonized security legislations, and constant collaboration in enhancing economic and political development.
Economic strength and prosperity is a major objective of the formation and existence of European integration. Through the combination of different countries’ economic strengths and weaknesses, it has increasingly become easy to enhance economic strength by eliminating the existing weaknesses. Supportive strategies have also been adopted in an effort to ensure that countries that are less endowed economically are helped to grow.
Economic security concerns are a major challenge to most European states. Sadly, not all states have a strong economic prowess to maintain economic growth on their own. European integration, therefore, offers a very crucial base in which different European states could realize economic growth and stability due to its integrated supportive mechanism.
Achievement of peace and internal state stability remain to be major and fundamental motives for the integration of European. Internal stability of countries is another motive behind the integration of Europe. Countries such as Germany and French are the best states to illustrate the extent to which European integration helps to foster peace, unity, and both political and economic stability.
Different countries have been able to unite their people through the unique formation of various community-based programs. Such programs have been instrumental in encouraging the level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the countries. Besides boosting the internal stability of a country, European integration has greatly contributed to the strengthening of European countries’ defence forces.
Subsequently, the European Continent’s security status has continued to improve, thus making the region to be more attractive and suitable for undertaking local and international business investments (Rosamond 2000).
Internal stability, economic stability, regional integration and strengthening of defence forces are ultimate benefits that are directly attributed to European integration, thus shielding the region from any external social, economic and political pressure. The need to have a united approach in dealing with the devastation that had become of the Second World War is another motive why the integration of European states was initiated.
The enormous scale of the devastation implied that more and more states had to cooperate in establishing the best mechanisms of addressing the social, economic, political, and cultural challenges and disastrous outcome of the war.
This union had the benefit of also being used as a reconciliatory mechanism for trade unionists, rural nationalists, the working-class people in the society and the far-right European xenophobes who pose a lot of challenges and opportunities alike to the success or European integration.
The European integration helps in dealing with any possible post-war negative impacts that could otherwise stall post-war efforts to achieve unity. The European integration is indeed an indicator of an existing paradigm shift in the manner in which politics is done.
Rather having divisive politics, European integration aims to foster collaboration and unity in order to undertake political and economic strategies that are not only beneficial to a given sovereign state but also to the entire European region.
Populists in Europe are opposed to the concept of European integration due to the fact that the integration could be a means of spying on the operative mechanisms of given states in order for other states to achieve some levels of superpower states.
The war years of European integration
The war of domination on the political and economic scene has for a very long time dominated efforts aimed at realizing European integration. The integration aims at ensuring that wars of the oppressors over the oppressed and unfair dominion are addressed in an amicable manner without using vengeful strategies.
With reference to the many years of European integration, it is evident that European states work towards curbing massacres, geneocide acts, destruction of property, economic disasters, unethical human sacrifices and recurring aggressions, among other evil acts that are not aimed at enhancing the common good of all society members.
The more than fifty years of European integration have resulted in successful implementation of various economic, political, social and technological reforms across all European states. It is currently used as the solution to the occurrence of wars in Europe.
The integration of various European states has continuously proved that the unification of states and establishment of binding local and international organisations is a sure solution to the realisation of a long lasting remedy to preventable and dangerous conflicts.
Treaties and European Acts
The Treaty of Rome played a crucial role in enhancing accountability and reliability of various legal and ploitical challenges. The treaty reinforced the need for a united European economic, social, political and technological front.
Like the Rome Treaty, most treaties made proved to be very crucial as they helped to encourage all signatories to lay a strong and an unwavering unity foundation and thus ensuring that all Europeans are ever united towards their effort to promote peace, prosperity, accountability and responsive behavioral patterns.
The different treaties held in Rome also helped to establish a common market that also encouraged unregulated circulation of people, services, and capital (Weigall & Stirk 1992).
The establishement of genuine collaborative markets also helped in ensuring that government policies that served the interest of the people were fully addressed. It also ensured that the agricultural sector was improved by formulating a friendly common agricultural development policy in line with the “Marshall Plan”.
Additionaly, the adoption of a single European state act and the popular common agricultural policy also enhnaced efficiency in the business operations and international relations of all European states.
The establishment of European Parliament, European Council, and the signing of the Schengen Agreement reinforced the motives of European integration to enhance a better Europe.
1970s widening and deepening and the Single European Act
Though previously focused on ensuring that Western Germany did not utilise its ultimate economic power to provoke military wars, the concept of the nineteen seventies on the escalating and deepening of various economic concerns acted as proof that the European integration was a solution to many global challenges.
A single act can help to improve a long-lasting relationship among all European states (Craig & Burca 2003: 33-140).
The widening and deepening argument are built on the premise that the European Union should be enhanced by the inclusion of many members though the actual relationship by new members should never be stronger than the initial one as this could derail or worst still thwart the original vision and mission of the European Union.
As evidenced in the above explanation on European integration, it can be said that the integration of Europe is an overall outcome of the existence of the Council of Europe and the constant effort being made by the global political and economic leaders to enhance unity on various fundamental issues.
Barnard, C. & Scott, J. 2002 , The law of the single European market: unpacking the premises, Hart Publishing,Oxford.
Craig, P. & Burca, G. 2003, EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials (3rd Edition Ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Rosamond, B. 2000, Theories of European integration, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Weigall, D. & Stirk, P. 1992, The Origins and Development of the European Community, Leicester University Press, Leicester.