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The Euro Essay, Research Paper

30 countries and even more distinct cultures;it is now trying to adjust to new economic systems throughout the world. Today with the trend toward big trading blocks like: N.A.F.T.A. or G.N.A.T.T. Europe is trying to advance it’s old Trading block called the European Economic Community (EEC) to become the European Union. The current membership of 15 countrys is ruled by one European Parliament. Under the E.U. each country will be under one currency called the Euro dollar (which came into effect on January 1st of 1999), one central banking system, and will be regulated with the same set of laws. In effect the countrys of the E.U. will eventually become one. The way to a unified Europe is not a easy one; problems caused by countries unwilling to give up their sovereignties, and by countries afraid of the new Union continually slow its progress. Problems facing the European Union Sovereignty or Unity? This raises many conflicts with Europeans. For thousands of years Europe has been torn time and again by wars which were largely fueled by ethnic or religious differences. Today however Europeans are asked to put aside their differences and become one. With nationalism still strong throughout Europe many people are strongly against the E.U. Analysts strongly suggest, however, that the E.U. is the only way Europe can improve it’s economy. Unemployment inmost of Europe is running above 10 percent and countries like Germany and France are suffering from net investment outflows, European economies are groaning under the weight of rigid regulation, high labor costs, high taxes and generous social services that have become too expensive to sustain. Meanwhile, labor protests are on the rise, companies cut costs and governments try to slash budget deficits. Expansion The E.U. causes another major problem for Europe and the rest of the world that is the expansion of the Union. Countries from the former Warsaw Pactare eager to join the European Union but Russia is opposing that move because oftheir xenophobic fears. This poses an new question for the world; Are thesatellite countries of the former Soviet Union truly sovereign states or arethey still puppet states controlled by Russia? The view today has to differentsides: the European, who are willing to accept Warsaw Pact states into NATO andthe E.U. given they meet the requirements; And the U.S. policy which is againstany expansion of NATO or the E.U. into the countries in question.The European Union? The European Union is the name of the organization for the countriesthat have decided to co-operate on a great number of areas, ranging from asingle market economy, foreign policy’s, same sets of environmental laws, mutual recognition of school diplomas, to exchange of criminal records are among the few (The E.U. is roughly similar in working to the United States of America. The states being Countries and the U.S. the E.U.) The E.U. currently includes15 countries and has 11 official languages, and many more internal ones. E.U.has noted , however, that the current eleven official working languages will beunworkable; an expansion to sixteen or more (with some former Eastern Bloc countries joining) will be impossible. It is therefore expected, in my view,that the number of working languages will be limited to three (English, Frenchand German) or five (with Italian and Spanish). A little known fact about the European Union’s flag is that it has only12 stars. The stars are not meant to represent countries. Rather, the number oftwelve stars was chosen to be a symbol of completeness and of unity, as itcorresponded to the number of stars in the zodiac, the number of months in theyear and (for the purpose of winning over the mainly Christian European people)to the number of Jesus’s apostles.E.U. members listed in order of membership: 1. Belgium 2. Germany 3. France 4. Italy 5. Luxembourg 6. Netherlands 7. Denmark 8. Republic of Ireland 9. United Kingdom 10. Greece 11. Portugal 12. Spain 13. Austria 14. Finland 15. SwedenOfficial languages of the E.U. + German (88.8 million Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg) + French (63.3 million, in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy) + English (60.0 million, in UK and Republic of Ireland) + Italian (56.4 million, in Italy) + Spanish (39.2 million, in Spain) + Dutch (21.1 million, in the Netherlands and Belgium) + Greek (10.3 million, in Greece) + Portuguese (9.8 million, in Portugal) + Swedish (9.0 million, in Sweden and Finland) + Danish (5.2 million, in Denmark) + Finnish (4.7 million, in Finland). The E.U. Government Structure The European Unions main institutions are the European Parliament, theEuropean Commission, the European Court of Justice, the Council of Ministers andthe Court of Auditors. The Council and the European Parliament are the maindecision-taking bodies of the E.U. The 626 members of the European Parliamentare elected by EU citizens every five years. The president and the other 19Members of the European Commission, which has the sole right to initiate draftlegislation, are nominated their individual governments. History, How and Why? The creation of the European Union began after World War II (it wasfirst called the European Community). The founding members of the Communityfirst combined their big industries. They then set about creating a singlemarket in which goods, services, people and capital could move about as freelyas within a single country. The process was gradual spanning 40 years andcovering political and social as well as economic and trade aspects of nations.As they completed the single market, which formally came into being in January,1993. The Maastricht Treaty on the European Union took effect on 1 November1993. It strengthened the Community further, by preparing the way for economicand monetary union (EMU) and a single currency called the Euro. The Maastrichtalso added common foreign and security polices and cooperation on justice andpolice affairs. The term ‘European Union’ is actually used to describe the widerMaastricht framework in which all these activities – old and new – take place. The Current Status of the European Union and it’s Plans for the Future The implementation of the E.U. has and will create many benefits forit’s citizens. Individual citizens can live and work in the country of theirchoice, travel freely within the Union since border controls have virtuallydisappeared. More goods are available to people, for example French goods areas accessible as Belgium goods in Spain; as before the union more French goodsmight be available due to tariffs. The E.U. has also created a common Europeancitizenship in addition to a national citizenship. Currently seven country’s have lifted border controls they are France,Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux. The main impact of the decision isthe removal of passport checks on Union citizens passing through the airports ofthese countries. Italy, Greece, Denmark and Austria look likely to be the nextto bring in the new freedoms, Since currency fluctuations can block markets just as effectively astaxes and tariffs the E.U. has moved to create a single monetary unit. Forexample if the German Mark is suddenly devalued in comparison to the Frank goodsmade in France will cost substantially more than those made in Germany. Toprevent this the Euro dollar was created it is to come into full circulation byJanuary 1, 1999. “In America, your economic development wouldn’t have been quiteso good if you had had different currencies,” said Ulrich Raam, chief economistat Commerzbank in Frankfurt. European Union is also looking to bring the countries of Central andEastern Europe into membership. This is strongly supported by public opinion inthe existing states; more than 60 % for bringing Hungary, Poland and the CzechRepublic into the Union, and 55-58 % support for the memberships of Bulgaria,Slovakia, Romania and Slovenia. So far, however, only Poland and Hungary haveformally applied for membership in the Union.The Views Against the E.U. The balance of power between the European Union and the Member States isthe main object of opposition against the Union. It is the center of intensedebate in most countries. This is especially true in Britain where manypublications have risen up against the E.U. about 20 % of are against the E.U.Many people feel as the control of major issues should come closer to the peoplenot further away. They feel as choices on economic development, social,programs, and crime laws should be left to the individual states. The only lawsthat I did not see much opposition to are for environmental protection. The second point of conflict against the E.U. is the Euro dollar. Manypeople feel that by giving up their currency they are in fact giving up theirsovereignty. This point of conflict is just becoming apparent since the plansfor the Euro dollar have been postponed and seemed unreal by many people untilrecently. For example Germany, determined to preserve the stability of its Mark,demanded strong penalties for governments that negatively affect the value ofthe currency. Lastly Russia is afraid of the expansion of the E.U. into Eastern Blockcountries. Russia currently feels like it is unwanted by the European community. It is afraid that through the acceptance of the former Warsaw Pact countries itwill loose even more economic ground and one day might be greatly influenced bythe countries it once controlled.In Conclusion I feel that the E.U. is the way to go for Europe, but it needs to bedone carefully. Europe is a very diverse continent with many likes and dislikesbetween it’s inhabitants. This can be very easily illustrated by what happenedin Yugoslavia. The creation of the European Union would create a singlemonetary unit one bank and in fact one government. In effect creation of a hugenation, with economic power greater to the U.S. Other European should in my viewbe allowed to join the Union, they are in fact independent states, and if theyapply and meet the requirements they must be accepted.


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