The formation of the European Union is considered a remarkable achievement that has far-reaching consequences in world politics, economy, and balance of global power. The emergence of two superpowers, namely the erstwhile Soviet Union and the USA, had resulted in an imbalance of power with regard to European nations. Another factor was that the twentieth century had seen two major World Wars in which the greatest suffering was received by countries in the region. Subsequently, the collapse of communism and the unification of Germany also had their ramifications in the region. The main reason behind the formation of the European Union was to remove the imbalance of power and to create an atmosphere of peace, political stability, and growth for all countries associated with it. The Union was formed through the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. (Ocana). But its formation and subsequent administration have had their share of problems. This paper will deal with the political obstacles that are faced by the Union at present.
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Obstacles faced by the European Union
There are some countries that are seeking membership in the Union. But the process is blocked by the refusal of some member states for this process to take place. An example would be Turkey who has been trying for full membership for the past decade. But certain political issues have resulted in member countries like France, Germany, Greece, and Armenia objecting to the membership. In this regard, individual member countries can create obstacles for new members even if the majority of the other members do not object to it. For example, “The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France has dealt a further blow to Turkey’s hopes of becoming the European Union’s first predominantly Muslim member. Mr. Sarkozy has repeatedly said Turkey does not belong in Europe.” (Turkey’s EU Membership Hopes Dim with New French President). Personal interests of members can cause blocking of entry of new members. It can be said that there is no consensus among members in many areas of policymaking. Another problem is the wide disparity of the level of development in member countries. For example, Armenia is very underdeveloped in comparison with other member states in Europe. This will result in additional aid going towards the country, which might not be acceptable by many contributors. Since the EU is now perceived as a single entity, terrorism will also affect the region as a whole. Moreover, free movement within the Union will also be helpful in the spread of terrorist activities across borders. “Europe is both a target and a base for such terrorism.” (A Secure Europe in a Better World: Terrorism). The Union is also faced with increasing levels of organized crime because some member states may have lower control of law and order within their borders. Again the free movement allowed within member states will help the spread of such activities from its country of origin. The formation of the Union has made it attractive for immigrants from poorer economies around the world, and they arrive in the hope of getting citizenship in any of the member countries. “The European Union member states have been faced by the problem of immigration with the influx of citizens from former soviet states and their former colonies and have long tried to curb this influx.” (Immigration Problems in the European Union). A large influx of immigrants can cause political and economic problems for the Union as a whole and also for individual members. Another problem area is the practice of sending elected members from political parties in individual countries to form the Parliament. In such cases, political parties may give precedence to EU policies bypassing national interests for the sake of getting a seat in the Parliament. (Keegan). Lack of uniformity in statutes (laws) of different countries will also cause problems at dispensing justice at the EU level.
But despite these teething problems, it is expected that the formation of the Union was the right step for a more peaceful and prosperous region which in turn will be beneficial to the world at large.
A Secure Europe in a Better World: Terrorism. EN. 2003. Web.
Immigration Problems in the European Union. Web.
Keegan, Martin. Specific Problems with the EU Draft. 2005. Web.
Ocana, Juan Carlos. The Treaty of Maastricht (1992). Historiasiglo20.org.
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Turkey’s EU Membership Hopes Dim with New French President. Newsvoa.com. 2007. Web.