INTEGRATION OR DISINTEGRATION OF EU 5
Integration or disintegration of EU
The European Union (EU) was established in 1950 with the sole aim ofincreasing cooperation between the member European countries. Sinceits foundation, the EU has made tremendous efforts in ensuring thatall the constituent states integrate socially, economically, andpolitically. The EU’s aim is to ensure that all the policiesgenerated during the integration process are implemented in allmember states. However, just as any other union made up of autonomousunits, problems of integration are bound to happen in the EU. Some ofthe most common challenges include lack of a common language,different fiscal policies among member states, and growth ofnationalism that threatens the existence of the body. The challengesof integration within the EU have derailed much of its progress andsolutions are needed.
The issue of lingual diversity among European states has been amajor challenge in the quest for integration. Different member stateshave their distinct national languages (Rowntree et al, 2002). Forinstance, Eastern European countries have a completely differentlanguage from their Western European counterparts. The lack of acommon language between all member states explains the reason forthis challenge.
Although the official language for the EU is English, because it hasthe highest number of speakers, many member states are yet toimplement it in their school curriculum. Some states fear that ifthey adopt a foreign language as their daily means of communication,they might end up eroding their identity. For instance, France seeksto achieve attempts of maintaining its language in the wake of aninflux of American and English-speaking African immigrants.
Cultural and religious diversity in Europe has also taken its toll onEU integration. Europe stretches into the Middle East hence thereason for the differing religious beliefs. Countries in EasternEurope such as Turkey are split between secularism, Christianity, andIslam. The free flow of labor from such a country to other parts ofthe EU becomes a problem because not many people will be willing tomove to countries where they are a minority. The prejudice anddistrust that comes with the differences in culture and religion hasalso made it hard for countries to conduct business with each other.The member states with a differing culture and religion have failedto integrate with the rest for the fear of being assimilated intoanother’s culture.
The Geopolitical framework of Europe is also working against thequest for integration by the EU. Calls for separatism have been rifesince the late 20th Century. The two World Wars and theCold war led to the interference of many physical boundaries incountries such as Germany and Yugoslavia (Zielonka, 2004). The fallof USSR led to the separation of many countries and a consequentincrease in nationalism. Meanwhile, Basques and Catalonians weresuccessful in fighting for their autonomy in Spain. Scotland wasseeking to separate from the United Kingdom although it failed. Mostrecently, the UK voted to leave the EU. Such cases of separatism onlyfunction to drift countries away from the rest of Europe, contrary tothe ideals of EU.
The differences in fiscal policies between the EU and its memberstates have also been a challenge. Until the late 90’s, countrieswere able to enjoy their sovereignty by having their own currency.However, in 1999, 11 of the EU member states came together to form acommon currency, the Euro, that replaced many other traditionalcurrencies (Rowntree et al, 2002).
However, it did not take long before the Euro led to an economiccrisis. Weak economies such as Portugal, Greece, and Ireland wereable to get cheap loans courtesy of their membership in the EuropeanMonetary Union. The availability of cheap loans led to an increase inthe expenditure of the Europeans, both the governments and thehouseholds. Before long, there was massive inflation in these weakeconomies that led to an economic crisis.
According to Kuperan and Sutinen (2005), the socio-economic theory ofregulatory compliance states that the severity of sanctions is notenough to institute compliance behavior. There is need forpsychological and sociological motivations in order to enhancemotivation. The EU can use this theory to deal with issues ofnon-compliance due to cultural and religious issues. For instance, itcan offer monetary incentives for countries that are willing tointegrate with others from a different religious background. The EUcan also use economic sanctions when dealing with matters of economicnon-compliance. For instance, stringent measures should be appliedfor countries that fail to keep track of their carbon footprint.
In conclusion, the EU was created in 1950 with the aim of creatingcooperation between various European countries. One of the keychallenges that the EU faces is failure to achieve integration duecultural diversity among member states. The differences in language,religious beliefs, and cultural identity have impaired the free flowof labor and doing business. Issues of separatism and growingnationalism are also threatening the integrity of the EU, now andseemingly in the future. Non-compliance by some member states is alsoa growing concern. The socio-economic theory of regulatory compliancecould help to solve EU’s problems.
Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., Price, M., & Wyckoff,W. (2002). Diversity amid globalization.Prentice Hall.
Sutinen, J. G., & Kuperan, K. (1999). Asocio-economic theory of regulatory compliance. Internationaljournal of social economics, 26(1/2/3),174-193.
Zielonka, J. (2004). Challenges of EU enlargement.Journal of Democracy,15(1),22-35.