In the course of fifty years, the European Union has expanded from six countries united under economic treaties to a large collective of twenty-five sovereign nations. Maintaining the union within such a large group has grown more difficult as numerous treaties have been drafted to control the governance of the European Union. To reduce the number of treaties in the union, the convention decided to draft a Constitution, which now moves through the process of ratification in each of the sovereign nations. The Constitution works to set up a basis for the expansion of the Union and the requirements that need to be met when a country seeks entry into the Union. But with the greater controls the EU seeks to place on the legal arena, many countries question whether their individual sovereignty will survive in the system. The evolving legal system will be shaped by the Constitution, but the influence of the document could reach much farther than what it allows for in the text. In this paper, I intend to explore how the Constitution will affect the culture within the European Union through the legal changes imposed on nations and the further expansion of the Union.
History of the European Union
In 1950, after the economic depression caused by the first and second world wars, Europe sought a way to ensure lasting peace among the nations. The French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, following the ideas of other world leaders, proposed to integrate the European coal and steel industries in the hopes that political and economic unity would ensure peace among the involved nations. This brought forth the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, constructed between Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Jean Monnet became the first president of the collective, under a “High Authority” body, which controlled the decisions concerning the industries . The proposal limited the life span of the treaty to fifty years, meaning it would expire in 2002. The treaty “was the first significant step towards European integration going beyond intergovernmentalism, establishing a supranational authority whose independent institutions had the power to bind its constituent member States” . From there, the countries decided to expand their connections with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. This treaty created the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community, both of which helped strengthen economic ties between the countries. The member states strove to create a “common market” amongst themselves by removing trade barriers1. This common market was created slowly with a lengthy transitional period, “during which tariff barriers would be removed and a common external customs tariff set up”2. It was at this point that the High Authority transformed into the Commission, an executive authority within the treaties. The Parliamentary Assembly, Court of Justice and Council of Ministers each then...