The Law of International Institutions

By D. W. Bowett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
EUROPEAN ORGANISATIONS

THE European scene has been remarkable for the growth and development of international institutions in the post-World Was II era; indeed, it has been in Europe, the traditional centre of nationalism and State sovereignty, that experiments in co-operation have been set afoot which involve restrictions on national sovereignty seen nowhere else in the world. The sources of this dynamism are in themselves a complex study, but, at the risk of over-simplification, they may be said to be four: first, the need for co-operation on the practical level brought about by the fact of increased inter-relationships; second, the feeling that the rapid economic reconstruction necessary to make the European economy viable and competitive once more could only be achieved by concerted action; third, the ideological appeal of "European Unity", a kind of "United States of Europe" which would emerge to replace the independent, sovereign States; and fourth, the fear of Soviet aggression against Western Europe which has manifested itself in the formation of Western military alliances. The order in which these sources are put should not be taken as indicating the relative importance which they have had in promoting co-operation.

The institutions which have developed can be broadly grouped according to whether the primary aims are of a general political character, or are limited to matters of defence, or economics. The first covers the Council of Europe and institutions under its aegis; the second NATO, Western European Union, the Balkan Alliance, OECD, and the Communities of the "Six". As will soon be apparent, these organisations can only be said to be political, military or economic by reference to their principal competence or purpose; many of their activities overlap into other fields, thus making the classification one of convenience for the purposes of presentation rather than one of descriptive accuracy.


1. ORGANISATIONS OF GENERAL COMPETENCE

1. The Council of Europe

The idea of the political unification of Europe is by no means of recent origin, but in the immediate past it manifested itself in numerous

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