The only true problem from which all the other problems stem is INTEGRATION that would in itself eliminate every form of national selfishness and create the feeling of belonging to one single society or community.
The European Union, once the European Community, set up in 1952 when 4 countries: Italy, France, West Germany and Benelux, created the European Coal and Steel Community, with the aim of promoting the exchange of these raw materials in order to stimulate an economy in recession after the Second World War. New countries joined the union and its aims increased throughout the years; the various treaties constitute the evidence of this process: for instance the treaties of Maastricht (with which the community became a Union), of Nice, Lisbon, etc. Nowadays the EU is composed of 27 states, with more than 20 languages spoken and different political systems and legislations in effect.
The EU is a Confederation, this means that national countries have transferred to it only some specific competences, most of which aren’t binding. The Commission together with the Parliament pass regulations, which are immediately enforced in all the member countries, or directives, that must be converted into law by each State. This last procedure creates some failures, because a State may not convert a directive or does so with a delay, directives can be enforced in different ways all over the union… The second problem is that the Parliament doesn’t act as a normal Parliament, its competences are limited and its participation in the legislative procedures is reduced. The powers that European Institutions have against the violations of treaties or European measures are not forceful enough to discourage this type of behaviour
Moreover electoral policies bear too much on international affairs making it hard to take charge permanently of a serious reform project.
There are a few other examples concerning lack of efficiency in Europe: consider, for example, the different citizen protections, different economic situations, ways of thinking law, society, public-spirited, etc. Despite European guarantees the member States are in an economic recession and they’re encountering great difficulty in overcoming. Nevertheless, the crisis shows how important Europe is! What about work problems? If a European law had been laid down in it, we would wipe out lots of our present problems e.g. wages and worker guarantees. There’s a lack in shared European foreign policy since States act individually; this is an unacceptable situation if we want a truly unified Europe. Acting together means being stronger than acting one by one! Individual interests, in other words national interests, must be overcome for the good of all.
All these shortcomings don’t mean that there’s nothing good in the European Union at all, of course! Today, young people could never imagine a war between Italy and France, or Germany, or the United Kingdom, but our grand-parents experienced the World Wars just less than a century ago. This is probably the most important goal that the EU has scored! The European Union is founded on common and fundamental religious, economic, political and legal principles and on the idea of peace.
Young people in Europe don’t know what a passport is, due to the fact that all European citizens can travel all around the union with just their ID card. They can buy or sell products from all over the union freely or they can study abroad in Europe, they are even encouraged to do so thanks to the Erasmus exchange project. Workers can provide their labour or skills to a businessman in the same country or abroad.
Children feel to be European since their birth! They think and act more and more as European. They’re the future of the EU and the chance to improve if they are educated to feel like that.
One of the clearest signs of this union is Monetary Union achieved ten years ago, when 15 States consented to further reduce another sovereignty power: that is to say to coin money and establish the amount of money to be coined; plus each nation gave its currency up. Moreover, Governments are obliged to run a more rigorous monetary and fiscal policy in order not to exceed the Maastricht treaty parameters. EURO has saved some countries from inflation and has strengthened their economies. It’s beyond any reasonable doubt how many advantageous exchanges of products we have now or how much banks have benefitted; Europe provides the financial aid that our regions obtain and private projects are partially funded by EU. We would feel more European if we thought about the many benefits we enjoy being in Europe.
Many goals have been accomplished, but many more could be attained. The aims European Institutions set are, increasingly, more ambitious and step by step the member States are trying to realize them. There are some obstacles and ineffective tools, but the European Community was born with just a few and simple objectives and now it’s one of the most important and strongest international organisations. Europe will make lots of further steps and get stronger, because the young generation is more supportive of EURO-PROJECT than their predecessor as a consequence of the fact that they can’t imagine an Europe divided: Europe is their world, Europe means travel, jobs, advantages, opportunities. Above all Europe means community, union, the future, Europe is the present and more importantly Europe is US. In this way maybe, one day, the confederation will become a Federation, there will be a European deficit rather than one for each state and the job market won’t be a national one, but rather a European-wide market and so on.
Maria Carmela Minonna