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Regional Trade Agreements in Europe

REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS IN EUROPE 5

RegionalTrade Agreements in Europe

RegionalTrade Agreements in Europe

Thehistory of the European Union.

Thecreation of the EU was as a result of continuous integration since1945. Following the events of the Second World War, there was acreation of a movement to promote unity between Germany and Francelaying the foundation for European Union years later (Hurt, 2010).The formation of EU traces its origin from the European Coal andSteel Community and the European Economic Community formed in 1951and 158 respectively (Hurt, 2010). The aim of the EU was to end thewars between the neighboring countries with the European Coal andSteel Community initiating unity among the European countriespolitically and economically to secure them lasting peace. Thefounding countries were Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium,and Luxembourg (Armstrong, 2016).

The1960s spelled a period of economic growth propelled by the fact thatthe European Union countries were to withdraw custom duty chargeswhen trading with each other (Armstrong, 2016). There was also anagreement of joint control in food production such that each countryhad enough food for consumption with anticipated surplus agriculturalproduce in the near future. The EU Community experienced growth in1973 as Ireland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom became members(Hurt, 2010). The regional policy of the EU became efficient andbegan the transfer of money for job creation and improvement ofinfrastructure in the impoverished regions. The European Parliamentintensified its influence in the affairs of the EU enabling allcitizens to participate in the election of members directly in 1979(Stockemer, 2011). There is an adoption of laws by the Union toprotect the environment as the fight against pollution intensified.

The1980s presented the changing face of Europe. Solidarność became thehousehold name in Europe and the entire world as the Polish tradeunion in 1980. Greece, Spain, and Portugal joined the Union between1981 and 1986 (Armstrong, 2016). In 1986, there was the signing ofthe Single European Act with the provisions of the basis of asix-year program aiming at solving the issues affecting the free flowof trade across the EU members. In 1989, the Berlin wall wasdestroyed opening the border between East and West Germany resultingin the reunification of Germany. The 90s saw the collapse ofcommunism with the European nations becoming closer (Hurt, 2010).There is the completion of the single market in 1993 introducing thefree flow of people, goods, services, and money. The 90s also saw theformation of Maastricht and Amsterdam treaties (Armstrong, 2016).There was also growing concern about the protection of environmentand togetherness in defense and security matters by the Europeans. In1995, EU gained the membership of Finland, Austria, and Sweden(Armstrong. 2016). Millions of young people are able to study inother countries with the support of EU alongside easy communication.

2000-2009saw further expansion with the Euro becoming the new currency formany Europeans with most countries adopting it. The member countriesbegin working more closely together in the fight against crime. Thereis a healing of the political divide between the West and East Europewith more than ten countries joining EU in 2004 (Hurt, 2010). Thereis a worldwide financial crisis in 2008. There is a ratification ofthe Lisbon treaty providing EU with modern institutions and efficientworking methods. The global economy crisis hit hard Europe since 2010to date. There was the establishment of the Banking Union to ensuresafety and reliability of the banks. The EU was awarded the NobelPeace Prize in 2012. There is more membership with Croatia being the28th member to join EU in 2013 (Armstrong, 2016). Climate changeremains a major challenge and a primary agenda of the EU, and thereis agreement by members to reduce harmful emissions. The 2014elections result in more Eurosceptic in the European parliament(Stockemer, 2011). Cases of religious extremism rise in the MiddleEast and other countries resulting in conflict and wars forcingpeople to leave their homes and seek refuge in Europe. The challengefor EU is now how to take care of the refugees amidst being a targetfor several terrorist attacks. There is an alleged breakup of membersas UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016 (Armstrong, 2016).

Therole of CDU in the development of EU.

TheCDU supported the free market economy as well as social welfareprograms during its leadership (Duncan, 2015). This is similar to themandate of the EU, and thus, CDU played a critical role in itsdevelopment. The CDU had a firm believe that the differences betweenCatholics and Protestants resulted in the rise of conflicts and therewas a need to foster unity between the two parties. CDU thusadvocated for the formation of EU since its aim was to promote unityand peaceful coexistence. Most of the members of CDU understood thata free market was crucial for the development of Germany’s economy.The party played a critical role in the creation of the European Coaland Steel Community which is a precursor of the EU (Duncan, 2015).Besides, the CDU supports other initiatives of the EU such as thefight against climate change and the development of the EuropeanArmy.

References

Armstrong,A. (2016). EU Membership, Financial Services and Stability.&nbspNationalInstitute Economic Review,&nbsp236(1),31-38.

Duncan,F. (2015). Understanding the Transformation of Germany`s CDU.&nbspGermanPolitics,&nbsp25(1),155-156.

Hurt,S. (2010). Understanding EU Development Policy: history, globalcontext and self-interest?&nbspThirdWorld Quarterly,&nbsp31(1),159-168.

Stockemer,D. (2011). Citizens` support for the European Union and participationin European Parliament elections.&nbspEuropeanUnion Politics,&nbsp13(1),26-46.