The EU Integration

Summary of Envoi

In his article, John Gillingham define the term ‘envoi’ and then says that: “This envoi is dedicated to those who have built Europe” by referring his article. The writer is discussing, in his paper named envoi, the process of the European integration. He asserts that the process of EU integration is a suitable subject for the social scientist, but really belongs to the historian. According to him, European integration is a phenomenon of broad and lasting change, and the nature of its impact also varies from time to time and place to place and can be either good or bad depending on a circumstance. The writer, before discussing the process of integration, introduces some theories and then moves on to the main subject: the EU integration process. In fact, the author had discussed the issue in detail; however, I will be giving a summary by bringing together the important passages and evaluating them together. As our topic is the process of the integration, it will be better to cite important stages as well as other important internal and external phenomena that shaped the union.

At the first step of the integration, only one option was open. Europe needed ten years to recover from the war and adapt to the new conditions of the postwar world. In fact, European Union’s first stage of the integration process can be seen at that time. The Schuman Plan of 1950, the diplomatic breakthrough that made integration into a European tradition, climaxed the drama of postwar reconstruction and marked the onset of a new era. As the only man having the vision and the backing to make the diplomatic breakthrough needed for Franco-German reconciliation, Monnet was indispensable. It is true that the founding of the coal-steel pool was important, but far less important over the long run than the liberalization trend set in motion by German recovery. Over time, the West German have affected other European economies in quite positive respect. At that time, the USA had helped the member states to protect them from a possible Soviet effect and to prevent Western European countries being closed to Socialist regimes that implemented in the Eastern Europe.

Another important stage of the integration is marked by the Treaty of Rome and the European Economic Community. The Treaty of Rome, a “liberal framework document’, outlined basic procedures for creating  customs union and established the competition principle as an enforcement mechanism to regulate its operation. This treaty become very useful and beneficial. However, it unfortunately also included the Common Agricultural Policy, the core Brussels institution, which has warped the subsequent political and economic development of the Community. The Community managed to assert control over the CAP only once, in 1988.
Before giving the third stage of the process of the integration of Europe, it would be better to demonstrate the workings of change in the process. Undoubtedly, the most important event in its history, the regime change that began in the 1970s, cannot be ignored. Within states, regime change irreversibly weakened all important link between governmental bureaucracy and the economy. The regime change, which was also part and parcel of a still broader trend, globalization, created the context of the present era in the West. This regime change, enabled European Community a real life; and therefore, new rules adopted.

When it comes to another stage of the integration process, the adoption of the Single European Act (1986) is the third stage in the process and the second of a predominantly economic character. The SEA is also arguably the most important stage that have had role in integration process. The worldwide regime change, the national adoption of the Thatcherite and neoliberal policies, and the European Community’s spreading and implementation of the program to eradicate nontariff barriers set in motion the wave of change that subsequently set Europe on a course of liberalization. Indeed, enlargement should have been the EU’s great glory but has become a monumental disgrace. Instead of being welcomed into the Community and treated as equals, the eastern Europeans are being put on the second track in a two-track Europe. Unless this situation change, the wealthy West will remain wealthy because, it can beggar the poor East. Therefore, the EU must reform its fundamental operating mechanisms and structures, as earlier promised the candidate nations, or risk being morally discredit. This is not the only thing European Union lacks. The Commission industrial policy has delayed necessary adaptation, and the efforts to pick winning technological grands projects have produced heavy losers. Nearly all such policies have weakened rather than strenghtened Europe. The EU’s attempts to play in the high-stakes games of international security, in order to stimulate a feeling of Euro-nationhood, merely makes the Community look foolish. The future of Europe, and European integration is today in danger. The EU has accomplished little or nothing in the past ten years, the public is alienated from it, and policy makers have shown themselves unable to head off disaster over enlargement. Privatization and marketization have come close to stand-still.

After stating these phases, It is worth noting how different Europe looks from different national vantage points. Every member-state benefits in some manner, though to different degrees. Those at the top of the list are nations that have profited both economically, through liberalization and subsidization, and politically, by being drawn out of provincialism or authoritarianism and into the dynamic democratic mainstream. These nations have experienced not only quantitive but qualitative improvements in their ways of life. The big gainers are Finland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy. Beside these countries, Belgium has been a large net beneficiary if only because it hosts the capital city of Europe. Super-rich Luxembourg, the biggest per-capita recipient of Community funds, has in addition, through EU membership, gained a voice in European affairs that is altogether disproportionate to its tiny size. A Euro-neutral group comprises a third category. It consists of small, wealthy nations that are closely aligned with Germany. Membership for this group, which include the Netherlands, Denmark, and Austria, is on balance beneficial because, as evident in borrowing rates, predictability and stability reduce transaction costs. A country with a different case is the France, it has over the years been a substantial net beneficiary of Community transfer payments thanks to the CAP, but other membership rewards have been less tangible. Without the CAP, French membership would cease to be either economically or politically adventageous.
As for the Sweden and Britain, both net payers within the Community that opted out of the monetary union, can claim to have gained much from accession. Sweden, find it easy to adjust to social Europe; and indeed, it entered the EU largely to weaken the grip of the welfare state. Although it continues to fall in the OECD league tables, Sweden remains a net contributor and has gained little from membership. The Sweden’s faster rate of growth relative to the Community today derives from the decision not to enter the monetary union. The United kingdom, which has debates and will to leave the Community, has gained the least from membership in the EU club. Britain has always been a net contributor, even with the embarrassing rebate. The United Kingdom has also been a reform pacesetter that does not need Brussel’s help, but still must accept and pay for it. Although the economic case for British membership is probably the weakest of any member-state, it has a strong security rationale, and this is why the UK is discussing withdrawal from the EU. That is to say, there are good reasons to withdraw, but similarly there are serious results in the case of being isolated from the Community. The United States is not, like Britain or France, a centralized state where rules guide national development. Instead it is an emergent young civilization that, though committed to underlying principle, generates new rules along the way and then tries to adapt them to rapidly changing circumstance. As we see, there are different expectations toward the EU for every nation state.

For the last fifty years we can observe the European Union’s integration process to meet and overcome a succession of historical challenges. EU has experienced a long term and lasting process of the integration. Five years passed between the conclusion of the Schuman Plan and the Messina negotiations that led to the EEC, another twenty years between the empty chairs crisis and the conclusion of the Single European Act, and another fifteen years between its adoption and the present.

All in all taking all these into consideration, the process of European Union has three main stages that shaped the current state of the Community. The change observed in regime in 1970s is also cannot be ignored. Beside these, we have understood that; in fact, despite all struggles to integrate the EU member states, there is no a integration in which all members being treated equally. On the contrary, in spite of all these struggles, the powerful states govern the weak states most of which are those in the Eastern Europe. Moreover, we have understood that each of the member state concentrate on different aspects of union to get its own benefits and that each of them being treated differently. So, there is no equal conditions; and therefore, there is no a completely achieved integration.

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