Political Development of European Integration


The title of the lecture was: “Political Development of European Integration”, in which Mr. Franco addressed many crucial topics regarding the European Union such as, reasons for integration, mechanism for integration and actors of the integrative process. The main idea of the lecture was to illustrate the numerous treaties which led to the creation of the European Union and to present the economic and political integration of the EU which is currently facing many challenges. The main question posed in this lecture was: Is European integration to be explained by vision or by necessity? Mr. Franco then illustrated the political and economical status of Europe post World War II, and stated that integration was used as a means to overcome the trauma that befell Europe after World War II. After World War II Europe sought to reestablish democracy and moral values, as well as promoting political and economic cooperation so as to avoid another devastating war. And that’s when the idea for establishing the European Union came forth.

Mr. Franco went on to describe the many institutions that emerged in Europe post World War II such as the Council of Europe, the European Coal and Steel Community, the West European Union, and the European Economic Community. He also presented an overview of the history of treaties which resulted in the foundation of the EU, particularly the Treaty of Rome (1957) which contains an open-ended, long term ambition. The aims of the Treaty of Rome are: the establishment of a common market, free movement of persons and cargo, services, capital etc. Mr. Franco illustrated the dialects of integration including: the actors, mechanisms, economic integration, political integration and European citizenship. The economic integration of the EU revolves around the harmonization of economic legislation,  stabilization of exchange rates, and the need for stronger coordination of economic (and social) policies. The political integration of the EU is constituted of justice, home affairs, external policy, in addition to security and defense policies. 

Mr. Franco likewise stressed European citizenship with reference to the charter of fundamental rights, which is coherent with International Human Rights conventions, and which deals with universal values of human dignity. It also incorporates fundamental social and economic rights. Mr. Franco ended the lecture by addressing the various challenges the EU faces such as overcoming the democratic deficit, crisis of the Euro-Zone, insufficient convergence of socio-political models, diversity of socio-political models, the “social contract” between member states based on historical differences, lack of political union and absence of fiscal union.

Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 11