Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Granpa's Political Corner: The United States of Europe Part I

In 1943 a Frenchman, Jean Monet, was instrumental in forming a federation of European countries by prioritizing economic unity over political unity. It was realized that nationalities and national pride were not easily overcome, whereas economic needs were more easily addressed. In 1951 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourgh and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Paris which formally established the European Coal and Steel Community. In 1957 these countries signed the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (the European Common Market).

Political unity followed.

In 1957 the European Atomic Energy Commission was formed. In 1957 a European Court of Justice was formed to settle trade disputes. In 1960, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK set up the European Free Trade Association. In 1965, the European Economic Community, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community merged to form the European Economic Community. In 1968, in the interests of uniformity, the European Customs Union was formed. Committees from the European Coal and Steel Community and committees from the European Economic Community formed working groups to basically manage the alliances. In 1986 the Single European Act set the framework for a unified European market. In 1992 the Treaty of the European Union formed a regional government. In 2002 the euro was introduced, phasing out other national currencies. In 2005 the French and the Dutch rejected an EU constitution. The plan was resu rrected and presented in 2008 as the"Lisbon Treaty". Ireland is the only country of 27 EU countries that requires a popular vote. The Irish took a stand for freedom and national sovereignty and rejected the 287 pages of "Eurobabble", concluding the treaty was a dangerously bad deal. The treaty, among other things, would have required Ireland to surrender its military neutrality to the EU superstate, raise low business taxes and abandon the Catholic country's strict anti-abortion policies. Interestingly each country prints its own EU notes according to its economic weight, under strict guidelines from the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

What is Europe attempting to accomplish? It appears that they are trying to form a United Nations of Europe. In Europe these countries are called Nations whereas in the US we would refer to them as States.There are formidable obstacles for them to overcome. These countries have been very nationalistic and have fought many battles with each other. Nationalities, customs and social practices differ. These are older and entrenched Nations that they are attempting to meld into one cohesive union. Can they do it? I don't know but they have begun with economic issues. However, all is not milk and honey and the marriage is far from settled.

None of the above is my personal knowledge but is gotten from articles and books and summarized to give perspective to the events transpiring in the U.S.A.

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