History of the european union

Author:Dan Vataman
Position:Lecturer, Ph.D., 'Gheoghe Cristea' University
Pages:107-137
SUMMARY

This article aims to demonstrate how the project of the ‘European Union’ evolved both in the interwar period and in the years following the Second World War, focusing on promoters of the idea of federal Europe who attempted to find the best ways for building a suitable European Community development. The establishment of three European Communities in the 50`s, although they were mainly orientated ... (see full summary)

 
FREE EXCERPT
Mihai Adrian Hotca • Radu Slavoiu
107
LESIJ NO. XVII, VOL. 2/2010
HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Dan V<t<man*
Abstract
This article aims to demonstrate how the project of the ‘European Union’ evolved both in the
interwar period and in the years following the Second World War, focusing on promoters of the idea
of federal Europe who attempted to find the best ways for building a suitable European Community
development. The establishment of three European Communities in the 50`s, although they were
mainly orientated economically also involved political cooperation, thus contributing to a new
federal vision. Evolution of the European Communities has been marked by the widening of their
accession of new members and by the review of the institutive treaties in order to speed and flexibly
achieve those objectives. Given the constant changing of modern world, the European leaders had to
agree on new rules that would take into account political, economic and social changes, while also
meeting the aspirations and hopes of the Europeans. Signing the Lisbon Treaty was the recognition
that the EU needs to modernize and to have effective and consistent tools, not only adapted to the
functioning of a Union extended to 27 countries, but also to the rapid changes of the present day
world. The Lisbon Treaty clearly defined objectives and values of the European Union on peace,
democracy, human rights, justice, equality, rule of law durability and also set up a stable institutional
framework which gives the ability to obtain better results closer to expectations of European citizens.
Keywords
European Community, European Union, the Community treaties, accession, modernization,
reform treaty.
1. Background of united Europe idea
The idea of a united Europe is old and deeply rooted in the history of European continent,
these taking different forms over the passage of time. According to historian Jean-Baptiste
Duroselle, over time were tested four types of relevant projects respectively for unity by force,
unity as a principle, unity in diversity and unity through mutual agreement, some of them
overlapping at times [1].
Greek antiquity has created the first forms of unity and cooperation, when they generated
the League of Delos [2] and the League of Peloponnese [3], both political creations having the
form of confederation. After their disappearance, the new power of Rome, based on a policy of
continuous expansion, managed to create the largest and most compact empire of antiquity, one of
the most consistent and durable state formations in human history [4]. The Roman model would be
for many centuries a target in terms of recovery, albeit partial, of the European continental unity,
temporarily fulfilled by the emperors Charlemagne [5] or Otto I [6].
Another form of continental unity was Christian. If along with the Edict of Milan (313 AD)
Christianity became a “religio licita” equal in rights with other religions of the Roman Empire, the
Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD) made it the state mandatory religion for all Empire subjects. Thus
Christianity has achieved a synthesis of European spirituality which evolved into the idea of unity,

* Lecturer, Ph.D., "Gheoghe Cristea" University, e-mail: danvataman@yahoo.com.
108 Lex ET Scientia. Juridical Series
LESIJ NO. XVII, VOL. 2/2010
which will continue to be supported and promoted even after the Great Schism [7] in 1054, the
church operating as the first pan-European structure.
In the context of affirmation of national states it was felt the need for a stronger bond than
religion to unite European countries. Thus, from the eighteenth century it began to shape the idea
of formulation of new projects of peace and unity in Europe through its radical reorganization.
Examples would be "The design to make permanent peace in Europe” from 1713, belonging to the
abbot of Saint-Piere [8]," Plan of a universal and eternal peace "by Jeremy Bentham [9] or the idea
of "European Republic" by JJ Rousseau [10].
Another project known as The philosophical project of permanent peace (Friede Zum
Ewigen) formulated in 1795 by the great philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), where he
developed the idea of an international pact designed to eliminate war forever in peoples lives. The
means for this purpose was the termination of the states illegal status (which represented the main
source of war) and the establishment of a new type of international society, a "nation state" of
federative type, to ensure security and protection for all countries regardless of their size. This
society should have been achieved progressively, starting from a strong core, provided by the
nation with a republican state system, extending itself to the continental level and then ultimately
to the entire world. Until this goal would have materialized, he wanted to have the federal alliance
between the confederate states to ensure the exclusion of war and abuse of any kind. Even if the
project did not include a specific institutional breakdown, with regard to the functioning of the
federal system envisaged, it nevertheless marks a milestone in the curdling of a unitary concept
that includes both ideals of pacifism, liberalism and federalism, using the formula of a free
federation of states with Republican constitutional regime and based on international law, with
mutual guarantee of rights.
Likewise have expressed their opinions other illustrious personalities: Alphonse de Lamartine
[11] who launched Manifesto to Europe, and Victor Hugo [12] a Call for United States of Europe
(1851). Later, Victor Hugo said that "Europe needs a European nationality," and in a message to the
Peace Congress in Lugano, he wrote: "Surely we will have this formidable European republic,. We will
have these United States of Europe that will crown the ancient world "[13].
But this dream was shattered by the First World War (also known as the Great War), which
destroyed internationalist pacifism illusions and hopes, the war effects being beyond the most
pessimistic projections [14].
Thus, almost one hundred years after the Napoleonic wars, which devastated for many years
the old continent, the Great War left Europe in ruins, with significant casualties, as well as severe
economic and social problems. The desire of states to cooperate to prevent recurrence of a disaster
of the magnitude of World War I, made the Paris Peace Conference (held from January 18, 1919 to
June 21, 1920) to decide the establishment of the League of Nations [15], whose basic principles
have been formulated in the plenary session of the Conference on January 25, 1919, showing that:
"It is essential for maintaining global status that the associated nations desire, to create a League
of Nations, a body of international cooperation which will ensure international obligations and
provide safeguards against war" [16].
Starting from the new European geopolitical realities and from the goals of the League of
Nations, the problem of finding new forms of organization of the European continent was repeated
in several projects that concerned not only the intellectual elite of the time, but also the politicians.
But the idea of a united Europe can not be imposed easily, it had to struggle with the fear of nation
states (especially those arising from the peace treaty) not to be swallowed by a super state led by a
great power, thus reenacting the prewar situation [17].
Four more years had to pass until Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi [18] began to develop
his project which gave rise to the Pan-Europe movement. In 1922, in Vienna, he published a
manifesto with a title "Europe's problem is summed up in two words: unification or collapse” and in

To continue reading

REQUEST YOUR TRIAL