International Integration theory tries to explain the reason in which states choose supranational institutions to replace national ones, which is the shifting upwards gradually of sovereignty from state all the way up to global structures. The ultimate goal and expression of integration in the world would be the merger of different states coming together as one to form a single world government.
In order for this single world government to happen, it would mean that some version of federalism would have to take place. This would entail states recognising the power of the central government whilst still having certain power for themselves. The process of integration hasn’t ever really, apart from a few exceptions, gone past an unequal share of power between states as states have not been keen to give up their exclusive claim to sovereignty limiting power to institutions such as the UN.
The most successful attempt at integration is the European Union.In the early half of the 20th Century, Europe was left in ruins decimated by two World Wars. The European Union (EU) was formed as a result of these wars as an attempt to allow a bit of transparency with other states created a trust between states. Since its creation in 1945, the EU has gone through several waves of expansion with the EU today now housing almost 500 million citizens and surpasses the US economy in GDP. During the early formation of the EU, as a result of war, most of the first decade of this Union was spent recovering with aid from the US through the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was an American initiative in which they gave over $13,000,000,000 to the EU to help rebuild European economies.
The goals of this for the US were to help modern industrialisation, remove trade barriers and help prevent the spread of communism at the time making Europe appetising once more.Whilst the Marshall Plan was in place, the French foreign minister in 1950 proposed the merging of the French and German steel and coal industries into a single framework allowing both resources in each country to be used most efficiently. Coal and steel were imperative to european recovery and growth at the time. This was the first modest step being taken in european integration at the time.
Schumans’ plan hatched in 1952 to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), in which France and Germany were joined by Italy, the third largest industrial country of Europe at the time, along with Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. These countries worked through the ECSC to reduce trade barriers in coal and steel and to coordinate their coal and steel policies. These same six states took integration further via the Treaty of Rome.The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 by the same six countries that formed the ECSC and out this agreement spawned two new organisations. One of these organisations was Eurotom, the European Atomic Energy Community. This organisation was formed to pool research into nuclear power development, investment and management still continuing to this day with an expanded membership to all EU members at this moment in time. The second organisation created by this Treaty was the European Economic Community (EEC) which was later renamed the European Community.
This community allowed there to be free trade areas created which meant lifting tariffs and restrictions on the movement of goods across borders which was done some time after 1957. A custom union was set up by 1969 and this is a form of trade agreement between two or more countries in which they decide not to impose tariffs on each other’s goods and agree to impose common external tariffs on goods from countries outside their customs union. A common market builds on the customs union allowing member states allowing labour and capital to flow across borders freely. Despite the fact that the Treaty of Rome proposed this fifty years ago, it still hasn’t been fully achieved.The Treaty of Rome has led to many benefits free trade such as the increase in competition in European markets. With no import tariffs, companies from all over the world can compete on an equal footing which gives the consumers in the market more choice within the market which in turn can reduce prices as there is more competition so companies reduce prices in order to lure new customers in with other companies following suit benefitting the consumer. Companies moving into the free trade areas also allow for the creation of jobs which would increase many peoples income in turn increasing their disposable income which they would invest back into the economy increasing the GDP of the country.
The common market also is beneficiary to countries and incentivises states to join as it allows the free movement of people across different states. This could bring in skilled labourers into markets bringing growth as new ideas and thoughts are implemented to allow growth and allow the countries economy again to grow and incentivise other companies to move into the state creating even more jobs. The UK voted to leave the EU which leads to less of these advantages in the future. One of the benefits that spawned from being in the EU was Eurotom. According to a guardian news article, many things that involve this organisation are at risk and we could lose a few benefits by departing, having a knock on effect for the UK nuclear industry. A departure from eurotom without a replacement may mean that british power stations may not be able to source nuclear fuel if it can’t be legally transported across borders. The use of isotopes for medical use such as treating cancer and cancer treatments is also said to be at risk due to the UK choosing to leave.
This could seriously harm the advancements of medical treatments in these fields and mean that R within the country could fall behind with other countries such as Germany. If we aren’t able to get these fuels into the country, it would also mean a loss of jobs within the industry which would lead to more people unemployed meaning the GDP of the UK would decrease.However, remaining in the EU has its downfalls especially for wealthier countries within the EU such as Germany. In 2010, Greece had an economic crisis as they had previously admitted falsifying economic data in order to be admitted into the eurozone.
After the global recession, the greek economic crisis brought more attention to EU economic woes. Germany and France tried to decide who would help bail out the Greeks and the economic minister at the time said that Germany, “would not offer Greece a cent”. But eventually, Germany decided to bail Greece out of their crisis with the Greeks receiving a massive bailout. However, although Germany has spent a lot of money in the short run bailing Greece out, an article published in Handelsblatt Global suggests that over the course of 10 years that Germany have profited over $1,000,000,000 as a result of this bailout. This means that Germany have gained more money which they could then use and reinvest back into the economy to improve infrastructure or invest into new industries increasing the GDP of the country.Another downfall of the EU is being involved with the single monetary policy that many of the EU nations have decided to take on.
The interest rates that are set by the European Central Bank (ECB) may not be suitable for the whole of the eurozone. A common monetary policy involves having a common interest rate for all of the eurozone area. However, the interest rates that are set by the ECB might not be at an appropriate rate for countries or regions that are growing faster or slower than the average in the eurozone.
An example of this would be in 2011 when the ECB increased interest rates because of the fear of inflation in Germany. But at this time, southern members within the eurozone were finding themselves on the path to recession due to austerity packages. The higher interest rates that were set by the ECB weren’t suited for countries such as Portugal, Greece and Italy. You could argue that the ECB favours the bigger economies at the sacrifice of others in order to keep the bigger economies such as Germany in order for them to remain as a big player in the world economy.I feel that integration of such organisations and groups such as the EU hold many benefits such as the free movement of people allowing skilled labourers in fields to move to other countries where they may not be as strong allowing growth for one country. Fielding R resources together means that technology among other things will advance allowing for increased infrastructure of countries which would benefit all of the EU and allow greater transparency among states.