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Start Of The European Union Essay, Research Paper

European Integration into a common market

Europe today is tied together within a common market which enables it to work simultaneously on issues that arise upon its borders. This has not always the case. The phenomenon of a joint union is a recent thing brought on in the post war 1950’s and is one of the greatest historical undertakings of the 20th century. The horrible economic instability and political divisions after the second World War were the main turn points for Wetern European counties to come together and work as a whole.

Western Europe, divided by different language, culture, and religion , experienced long periods of tension, war and hostility due to these differences(Nugent,4). The first world war swept across Europe dividing Britain , France ,Russia and Italy against Germany , Austria-Hungary. This put horrible stress upon the European states and pulled the economies of these nations down to a low point . It was around this time that people were starting to feel a need of unification for Europe. In the 1930’s The Briande plan, by Aristide Briande , came out in which he talked about how the peoples of Europe, if the y are to enjoy security and prosperity , must come together to establish “a permenant regime of joint resposibilty for the rational organization of Europe(Leiden Univ).” We see throughout the forties many individuals and groups stat responding to this sense of unity. In 1942, Italian secretary for the sociolist party of Italy declares unity, 1943 the European Federalist movement is formed, and in March 1944 a secret meeting in Geneva in which people from countries such as France Holland, Italy , Norway, Poland, Chechoslovakia and even memebers of the underground German Movement attend to speak on resistence to Nazi opression(THE WAY TO UNITY). This is seen as a first time in which European communities unite in a common struggle. In 1946 close to the end of the second World War Churchill spoke out at the University in Zurich where he announced “We must build a kind of United States of Europe”. “If Europe is to be saved from infinite misery , and indeed from final doom, there must be this act of faith in the European family(Churchill,1946).”

Six countries originally rallied for this concept of a united Europe. The formation of these countries started coming together in the Treaty of Brussels 1948, where Netherlands Belgium , Luxembourg, and Britain signed a pact for collaboration in Economic, social and cultural affaires. It was around this time that the second World War was ending and its total collapse threatened the equilibrium of the world(Braudel,Unity in Europe). With the Marshall plan devised, important Statesmen, more than 800 members of parliament, trade union leaders , intellectuals and economist met at the Hague in May 1948,resulting in a congress of Europe. The task of this body goes on to establish a European assembly which advises measures that would bring political integration of Europe(THE WAY TO UNITY). With much success a year later January 1949 France Great Britain and Benelux countries decide to create a council of Europe and ask Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Switzerland to help(E.U WEBSITE). Europe had finally come a long way in terms of peaceful integration but a key factor was still holding this unification back and that was the bad relationship between France a Germany. Jean Monnet came forward and suggested to French prime minister, Robert Schuman and German chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, that a community of interest should be taken underway between the two countries. This was to become known as the European Coal and Steel Community and was welcomed by other countries as well. This treaty established the first European Community and opened the door to many more achievements between European countries.

With the outbreak of Economic instability and tension arising throughout Europe during WW1 and WW2 , many figures came forth with proposals too heal the wounds that Europe has endured for hundreds of years. It was now time for this nation to come together and work with eachother in equilibrium so that devastating events could be prevented in the future. They wanted Economic advancement and peaceful trade between each other so that they could make Europe one body and fill it with harmonization.


1)Braudel , Fernand. Unity in Europe, Penguin Books, London

2) “The Briand Memorandum“. Leiden University, Historical Institute.


3)European Union


4)Extract from Pan Drakopoulos, the Biography of Europe).The way to Unity, A timetable.


5)Nugent, Neil.The government and polotics of the European Union.4th edn(Macmillan 1999)

6)Rougement de Denis, translated by Alan Braley. “Europe Unites, A lecture on the History of the ideal for a United Europe”. from:the meaning of Europe:Sidgwick &Jackson, London 1965.

7)Seven key days in the making of Europe.

website: http://europa.eu.int/abc/obj/chrono/40years/7days/en.htm

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