During the 1990s, discussion about trade policies and economics has typically centered around one word -- globalization. Another word that seems to play a huge role in these discussions is regionalism -- the idea that separate countries can join together in one group in order to create a formidable force in terms of global politics, economics and trade.
One such example of this a regionalism has been the European Union (EU). Although most people are familiar with Europe as separate countries -- England, France, Germany, Italy and the like -- when it comes to global trade and politics, the more common usage is that of the EU to refer to all member countries in Europe.
According to the media, the EU has become a powerhouse in its own right. Its member countries have combined to create a formidable force, particularly in terms of global trading. Furthermore, as a federation, the EU is proving to be a major player in terms of global politics. But does this mean that all is well in peaceful within the European Union? Does the fact that the member states have banded together meaning that everyone has benefited from the concept of the EU?
This paper will attempt to answer these questions by outlining the background and reason for formation of the EU and explain what the original intent was. We will then discuss the EU in terms of economics and trade (as these two topics are definitely interrelated); and we will discuss some theories behind the success or failure of the EU.
We will then consider it formation of the EU has actually been beneficial for its member states both separately and in its entirety.
Background And History
In order to better understand the theories and principles that drive the European Union, it would be helpful to examine the history and background of this union.
Although the EU as it is currently known has been a topic of the mainstream press since the 1990s, the roots of this organization actually reach all the way back to World War II. At that time, there was concern that conflict between nation states be prevented, and with good reason (Letiche, 2002). The conflict between Germany and the rest of Europe took its toll not only in terms of personal lives, but also in terms of economics. Post-war Europe was a mass, with its economy in shambles in the process of rebuilding daunting. Buildings throughout Europe had been bombed, and either needed to be rebuilt or destroyed, with much of the money to do this coming from outside sources. Because of these post-war dilemmas, Europe's nation states began signing treaties to prevented another war, particularly between France and Germany (Letiche, 2002).
The first such treaty was the Coal and steel Community, signed in 1951 by the Federal Republic of Germany (also called West Germany, France and Italy (Letiche, 2002). this was followed by formation of the European Customs Union -- which came about through the 1957 Treaty of Rome (Letiche, 2002). the actual Treaty of...