Following the multi-national crisis of World War II, Europe, as a whole, suffered from economic and political instability. Beginning with the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949, Europe began a process of political and economic integration, ultimately leading to the creation of the European Union. Europe’s economies became more closely tied due to the European Coal and Steel Community and the Treaty of Rome, which lead to The Economic Community, all eventually creating closer political bonds between countries.
The creation of new communities and markets were essential to the economic integration of Europe. Due to the high cost, both in terms of human life and economy, European nations were decimated. Robert Schuman, the foreign minister of France, proposed, "the pooling of coal and steel production... will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war" (Schuman Declaration). This plan ...view middle of the document...
In 1967, the Merger Treaty united the ECSC, EEC, and EURATOM under one name: The European Community.
The Single European Act of 1987 called for a single market, a deeper level of integration, and a common currency, among other important ideas. In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union, one of the most important stepping-stones in European economic integration. Using the SEA of 1987 as a guideline for the new diplomatic body, the European Union was also able to create a strong, centralized banking system know as the European Monetary Union. The EMU brought about increased economic integration through the European Central Bank, coordinated economic policies, and a new, universal currency: the Euro. This new currency was first instituted on January 1st of 1999 and helped to bring about fiscal stability and easier trade between the countries of the European Union.
The goal of political integration came about with the Hague Congress of 1948, lead by important political leaders such as Winston Churchill, and called for a creation of “a kind of United States of Europe” (Churchill Society), a coalition and unification of Europe. The goals of the congress were to a achieve a union that would guarantee economic and political security, a multi-national assembly, a court to carry out all decisions, and a basic set of human rights laws. On May 5th, 1949, the Council of Europe was created by the signing of the Treaty of London 1949 by ten European countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Belgium, among others, thus beginning a council that would end up unifying forty-seven European states. The creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, also helped to unify European politics, through its purpose of being a defensive alliance and ensuring the security of Europe. The most influential event in political integration was the signing of the Treaty on European Union, or the Maastricht Treaty. Creating the European Union, this treaty tied Europe together not only by stressing the idea of European citizenship instead of focusing on national citizenship but by bringing together an international group of delegates to discuss issues, including democracy and human rights.