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

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

7

Attitudes Toward European Integration:
Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions

Andreas G. Kourvetaris

George A. Kourvetaris

On September 5, 1929, the French Prime Minister Briand, speaking before the assembly of the League of Nations, proposed a European federation. While his nascent idea of a united states of Europe was received favorably by more than two dozen European nation-states, both the worldwide economic crisis of the 1930s and the onset of World War II postponed the notion of European integration. The idea was again revived with the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and subsequent treaties for the creation of the European Economic Community. Previously, in 1950, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman had already proposed the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community. This became the predecessor of the European Economic Community (EEC), which later became known as the Common Market. The actual formation of the EEC in 1958, however, represented a radical departure from the more limited concept of the European Coal and Steel Community. The architects of the Treaties of Paris and Rome believed that it was desirable to replace nationalism and national competition in Europe with an integrated industrial and commercial European entity which, in the long run and in theory, would strengthen European economic competitiveness vis-à-vis other world economies. The ultimate goal of integration for the "new" architects of the EEC was, as Prime Minister Briand had proposed twenty-nine years before, to transform the nation‐ states of Europe into a politically united Europe, akin to the United States of America.

Even a cursory examination of recent studies on European integration reveals that emphasis has been primarily on economic issues and secondarily on political issues. Furthermore, while many surveys of EU (the EEC has since evolved into the European Union—EU) member nation-states depict attitudes toward economic and political integration as positive and desirable, this does not

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