The movement for European integration

European integration

World War II was undoubtedly most devastating for the European nations. However, from WWII, Western European political leaders realized that there is a greater need for integration and cooperation. To survive, the European countries must allow free movement of goods, capital, and services across borders. There must be greater social, political, and economic exchange for the European countries to survive as individuals states and as a Union in the emerging new world order. The growth of capitalist nations, new political rules made it essential for the European nations to develop treaties, trade laws, and memorandums of understandings, which did not undermine the traditional systems of the individual countries. But at the same time made the nations economically secure and helped them become a part of the advanced nations of the world. Some of the essential features of the movement towards European integration and the subsequent development of the European Union are as follows:

Origin of the European movement

The European movement, which led to European integration, was the immediate result of WWII. The European campaign was first created on October 25, 1948. The objective of the movement was to build greater cooperation amongst the member states. The entire movement was spearheaded by great politicians of that era. The European movement was started by prominent political figures such as Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Harold Macmillan, Paul-Henry Spaak, François Mitterrand, Albert Coppé and Altiero Spinelli. The political leaders had a standard plan, which was greater cooperation was essential to help European nations emerge as superpowers and advanced economies in a fast-changing world. Although the rhetoric for greater integration and collaboration amongst European countries can be traced back to the Roman Empire and Greek Antiquity, yet it did not get a political framework until the First World War. After that, European nations formed smaller alliances based on similar political and social interests, but never emerged as a Union. With the European movement, the political leaders began to identify the importance of greater integration amongst European nations to prevent any threats like WWII in the future. Moreover, European integration would mean that all of the European member nations would be able to progress together and, at the same time, individually emerge as politically and economically stable countries.

The role played by the movement in European integration.

European integration is the development of a comprehensive structure for the formation of a European Union. The idea for a Federal Europe stemmed from the notion of the free movement of labor across the borders of European states. It means that citizens of the European Union are allowed to look for jobs across the European borders. Though this became active after the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the requirement for it was much felt during WWII. This became vital when it became necessary for nurses to move across borders to tend to injured soldiers. Nurses had to move from the United Kingdom to the European mainland to serve the humanitarian effort carried out during the War. However, without proper European integration, this movement became difficult.

Additionally, after WWII, the collaboration became all the more essential because the free flow of capital, goods, and services became essential to make international cooperation a possibility. The European integration also led to the creation of various European associations, trade unions, and academic associations, which has led to greater collaboration amongst member states of the European Union. The European Union has helped strengthen the economies of the individual nations. 

Individual movements in member states

The European movement has led to subsequent changes in member states. For example, these are separate movements in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Ireland, and the UK. Although these distinct movements have developed from the single European movement, these have gone on to build their characteristic features. The European Movement Belgium, for example, is a non-profit organization that strongly believes in public interactions. So it holds rallies, exhibitions, debates, and radio-broadcasts to consolidate public opinion towards developing a successful European Union. It has also helped Belgium become a part of the European Union.

Similarly, the European Movement in Finland, which started on January 31, 1994, was actively involved in deciding whether or not Finland should join the European Union. The movement itself was started ten months before holding the public vote in Finland. Thus, the European Movement in Finland played a crucial role in deciding the participation of Finland in the European Union. The European Movement Germany is also a non-partisan group that is heavily involved in developing academic cooperation amongst member states of the European Union. The European Movement Germany consists of nearly two hundred and forty-seven member organizations of business, educational, political, and other similar institutions. The European Movement Germany is one of the most active subdivisions of the European movement. The European Movement Ireland is a part of the pan-European network whose main objective is to get Ireland a membership into the European Economic Community (EEC). The European Movement in the UK is also an independent group that was created after WWII. Although, it campaigned for Britain to remain a part of the European Union, yet it was unsuccessful in its effort. However, it remains one of the most influential political associations in the United Kingdom. 

The European movement was started with the more significant objective of creating what is now known as the European Union. The European Union is not just a federation of states, but an integration of countries that believes in cooperation. This cooperation consists of political understanding, social communication, trade, and other similar collaborations. One of the most critical collaborations of this is academic collaborations. Student exchange programs and free movement of students between member countries of the European Union also help in strengthening this cooperation. This idea of European integration formed the basis of the European movement. ThereforeEuropean integration, the movement which started as a political association as a result of WWII went on to become one of the most significant collaborations of the twenty-first century.

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1003 Words


Jun 03, 2020


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