Shock Waves: Eastern Europe after the Revolutions

By John Feffer | Go to book overview

Conclusion
Things come together

If it is anacbronous, as advocates of the idea of European union often tell us, to think of ourselves any longer as Gemans or British or French, it may also be no less anacbronous to think of ourselves as Europeans.1

— Geoffrey Barruclough

If Yugoslavia is Eastern Europe's worst nightmare, then Brussels constitutes its radiant future. As provisional seat of the European Community, Brussels will both directly and indirectly influence the development of Eastern Europe. A powerful magnetic force, the process of political and economic integration in the West is already changing life from Warsaw to Sofia perhaps more radically than did the events of 1989. The revolutions were, after all, sudden ruptures; the inexorable pull of the West has a longer history, and will consequently cast a longer shadow upon the future.

Attempts to integrate Western Europe go back to Charlemagne's unification of the Frankish tribes. European integration was viewed as a necessary bulwark against an enemy with a thousand faces (Turkish, Norman, Saracen, Magyar, and so on). European integration in the 20th century has also had its useful enemies. Establishing a coal and steel community that linked historic adversaries, the 1951 Treaty of Paris directly countered the consolidation of communism in the Soviet bloc and the creation two years earlier of the CMEA. This resurrection of the Concert of Vienna proved to be an invaluable accompaniment to NATO in rounding out a united Cold War front.

What began as a rudimentary arrangement governing access to coal and steel became, with the Treaty of Rome in 1957, a trade zone free from internal tariffs—the European Common Market. 2 But those pushing for a more federal Europe had greater aspirations, including closer economic coordination and even more integrated political and social policymaking. The breakthrough came with the 1986 Single European Act. 3 Accelerating what had only several years earlier ap

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