European Union is an economic, social and political unison of twenty seven states of the European continent. The roots of European Union go back to 1950 when after the world war the steel and coal industries of Western Europe were integrated to form the European steel and coal community. The success of this community encouraged the nations to integrate other parts of their economies as well which lead to formation of European Economic Community, the membership of countries continued to grow and in 1992 the treaty of Maastricht between the member nations led to the formation of European Union.
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The European Union has developed into a single market place with laws that are uniform and apply to all the nations of the union. Decisions of the Union are based on a combination of super nationalism and inter governmentalism (Britannica, 2009). It has preserved common policies regarding regional and economic development, trade agreements and foreign affairs. In 1999 they even made their monetary unit common by issuing Euros in the world market. Euro is now the common currency of all EU nations except United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark.
To get access as a member nation in EU, a country must meet the requirements specified by the treaty of European Union. These requirements are as follows:
- Political: stable institutions and system of law that guarantee democracy, human rights and minority protection.
- Economic: a well performing market economy that can face competitive pressures and market forces within the union.
- Acceptance of the community Acquis: fulfill membership obligations in all conditions. (EUROPA, 2009)
The benefits attached to becoming a member of the European Union are very versatile. A member country achieves political, economic, social, environmental etc benefits (Pinder, 2008). Countries such as Austria and Cyprus for example which were remote and rural regions have a secured future now by accession in the EU. EU membership offers an aid in agriculture, trade, heritage, natural resources, development of financial & economic indicators etc. The disadvantages on the other hand are not as diversified as the benefits. Countries argue on the issue of losing sovereignty as member nations abide by the European law, what benefits one country might not benefit the other. A lot of structural changes are required as the union grows to adjust new trade patterns (Pinder, 2008). Free movement of capital and labor are another issue as people move in search for higher wage rates from country to country.
Netherlands was amongst the six founder nations of EU the European steel and coal commission was basically made by the countries of Western Europe. As Netherlands was a part of Western Europe, it became a founder nation.
Netherlands has been a strong productive economy of Europe with a GDP of $677 billion recently and the EU has great advantage of having Netherlands at its side. The country plays an important role in forming policies and constitutions of the union as it is a part of the founder nations. Netherlands is an advocator of continuing reforms, vitality and anti protectionism which is why its role in EU has been very significant (Parker, 1998). The country supports openness of economies, the core reason for which EU was formed and enjoys. The country at present is a powerful member of the union. The country now has a strong interest in the European Union. An example of this fact is that three fourth of Netherland’s trade, both import and export, is with the member nations. The port of Rotterdam is also the reason why Netherlands holds a high position in member countries.
Parker, D. (1998). Privatisation in the European Union. Illustrated edition. Published by Routledge.
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Pinder, J. and Usherwood, S. (2008). The European Union: a very short introduction. 2nd Edition. Published by Oxford University Press.
European Union (EU). (2009). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Web.
EUROPA. (2009). Accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria). Web.