Though the economic and political alliance of the European Union successfully created a single currency for most of its 27 member nations, that very union has recently proven to be divisive.
Simply put, the European Union is unbalanced. For every Germany, which was largely unaffected by the global recession, you have fiscal horror stories such as Greece and Spain, with weak economies and governments that would hand out socialized perks to their citizens like Halloween candy.
But at one point, the concept of the European Union was one filled with hope for the future. The idea of a united Europe was revived in the aftermath of the atrocities of World War II.
A series of attempts to avoid future warfare included combining the steel and coal industries of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany in 1951’s European Coal and Steel Community. The 1957 Treaty of Rome renewed the cooperation in the six countries’ coal and steel industries, while creating a customs union to encourage trade.
With time, the number of members of the customs union grew, but it was not until Feb. 7, 1992 that the European Union was officially created.
The first of three treaties to create the European Union, the Maastricht Treaty, also brought about the euro, a shared currency for many of the member states. In the 1990s, it symbolized hope and peace, just as it did earlier in the 20th century.
Even though the Union’s honeymoon period has ended, as members are attempting to bow out, it doesn’t take a genius to look back and see the good that the Union has generated. After all, the European Union did receive the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
The fiscal policies of the European Union were not the best, but it is undeniable that the Union’s founders were spot-on when it came to its political system. As a rule, the member nations are stable countries.
Looking back into the Union’s creation gives us an insight into the spirit in which it was created. The European Union was formed by thinking ahead and applying lessons from the past in hopes of a better future. And in that way, it is a resounding success.
If you forget about Spain and Greece for a second, the Union seems much better. As with any union, we should embrace its strengths, and take note of its weaknesses for the future. The much more controversial Soviet Union failed in providing consumer goods to its people, but a quick look at the Russian literacy rate says a great deal about its educational legacy.
History is about using yesterday’s mistakes and patterns in hopes of a better future. We can do this — we will prevail.
Moriah Krawec is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Is the European Union a success? Email Moriah at email@example.com.