The Impact of European Integration: Political, Sociological, and Economic Changes

By George A. Kourvetaris; Andreas Moschonas | Go to book overview
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Andreas Moschonas

George A. Kourvetaris

Historically, the idea of European integration goes back to the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. According to Tounta-Fergadis (P. 47), 1 the notion of a continental Europe followed two basic ideological trends. The first was characterized by two main subdivisions—one under Latin and German, the second by a European union under an Anglo-Saxon tutelage. The most important advocates of the first view were Pierre Dubois, Emeric Crucé, Sully, de Saint Pierre, Leibnitz, and Kant. The second view was represented by William Penn, Jhon Bellers, and Jeremy Bentham. Due to the continuous wars and conflicts among European peoples, a number of political thinkers and philosophers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Kant were searching for some political model to bring about order and stability in Europe. At the same time the notion of the nation-state which, was facilitated by the rise of nationalism in the mid-nineteenth century, along with the Napoleonic Wars, contributed to the idea of European union. During the twentieth century similar efforts toward European unification modeled after the United States, the British Empire, and the former Soviet Socialist Republics were made by an Austrian politician, M. Coudenhove-Kallergi, and the French politician Aristide Briand. However, these efforts failed to materialize due to the rise of Nazi totalitarianism and the internal economic problems of most European countries, which led to the outbreak of World War II. Out of these efforts toward a European union, two goals became clear: the need for a European union and the creation of basic institutions and methods by which union could be possible (Tounta-Fergadis, pp. 46-47).

In modem times, the process of European integration has passed through three distinctive stages. 2 The first was the period of the institutional establishment of the so-called European Communities. In 1950 the Frenchmen Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman proposed the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This was established in 1952 and became the predecessor of the European Economic Community (EEC), established in 1958 together with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). All three were originally composed of six member states: Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. This period,

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