A Changing World: A Changing Union
In recent years the European Union has began taking a new shape, positioning itself as a major competitor in the global market. With economies becoming increasingly integrated and globalization creating a new playing field for trade, new strategies have been necessary to grow with and beyond other world markets. Some of these strategies have included monetary unification, decentralization, enlargement, welfare reform, and social convergence. In the following essay I will address of these strategies and convey my thoughts and concerns surrounding them.
MONETARY UNIFICATION AND THE EURO
In my opinion the introduction of the Single European currency has been a tremendous feat for the European Union. Ten years ago very few would have said it could happen, especially in such a short time. The United States took 53 years to establish its single currency and the EU is doing it in about nine. By using the Euro the Union has been able to eliminate the exchange risk between participating countries. At the same time giving up domestic currencies has been a hard pill for some countries to swallow. Despite the efficiency of a common currency, tradition and pride has kept some nations such as Sweden and Britain from joining the EMU. Others, including candidate nations, are ineligible for the currency.
THE DECENTRALIZATION OF NATIONS
One of the largest barriers for the EU is overcoming the centralized individual governments of European countries. National pride and lack of interest have kept many nations from accepting the idea of giving up power for a greater good. This is especially true in countries that have historically functioned under more socialistic policies. The EU promotes democracy and entrepreneurship, ideas that in some cases scare individual citizens, despite their government’s economic interest. The same problem exists to an extent with ethno-centralism. Pride in culture and history threaten the potential of ever achieving a united states of Europe. A good example of this is the language problem. Inability to decide on a common language has created vast inefficiency in the EU’s proceedings – costing money and time. The EU’s agenda is still to be the world economic leader by the year 2010. Centralized European governments as they stand make this goal impractical and unreachable. Another reason may be skepticism over the future of the EU. To an extent I feel this is why the UK has shielded itself from extended involvement. I think they are waiting for the EU to become more established before giving up any more independence. For them if the EU does not live up to their standards they can always look to the US and Canada for a possible alliance. This is not so far fetched when you consider their roots are more extended to the overseas English speaking democracies than most of their European counterparts. England is also most interested in the well being of England. That is, they will consider their...