Cooperation Amongst the European Union States

The European Union as an organization is built upon the idea of communication and agreement. Taking place in the years following World War II, the six countries that would form the beginnings of the European Union via the signing of the Treaty of Rome decided that the only way to move forward beyond the bloodshed and war that had caused so much strife for so long is to communicate with each other. Thus the European Union was founded, with the four freedoms at the forefront of its philosophy: freedom of movement of goods, people, services, and capital.

However, all of the history shared between these countries cannot be forgotten immediately just because of a cooperative effort between them. There are still fundamental differences between the various cultures of the now twenty-eight European Union member states. To overcome those, and to promote the heart of the four freedoms, the Schengen Agreement was signed, initially only between France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in 1985.

The Schengen Agreement, signed in the city of Schengen, Luxembourg, aimed to create a single, unified European area wherein the internal borders are not subject to passport checks, allowing citizens of the European Union to move freely throughout.

The Schengen Area has been a source of great accessibility amongst European Union members, it is now causing distress among some of the member states, as the European migrant crisis has unprecedented amounts of refugees passing into the European Union.

The Schengen Area is only one of the major policy upon which the members of the European Union disagree on. Within the Maastricht Treaty, signed in 1992, the basis for the euro came into existence, and by 2002 all previous currencies for countries within the Eurozone were replaced by the it. The euro, similar to the Schengen Area, has had its share of critics and advocates, with the critics lambasting the foundation upon which the euro was introduced, and the advocates hailing its benefits as a singular link for trade.

It is clear that the members of the European Union do not agree on many things, and they have many reasons not to, but the European Union has come far along, finding compromises and dialogue where previously there was disagreement and war. And like all political systems, civil discourse should be expected, and solutions are not immediate, but the only way to solve problems short of dictatorial suppression or genocide is through communication, and in that regard the European Union is well on its way toward solving its problems.

3 thoughts on “Cooperation Amongst the European Union States

  1. Matthew German

    There’s a lot of overlapping between this topic and mine, which is the stereotypes that Europeans hold towards each other, and how that affects the face of the European Union. In your research, did you come across any indication of how this cooperation between the various states might have impacted these stereotypes and caricatures on a smaller level? Do the citizens of each individual country see each other in a more positive light than they did a decade ago? More interestingly, have any new stereotypes arisen as a response to this constant mingling and cooperation?

    1. William Tingley Post author

      My research didn’t take me into the in depth interactions within member states and cultures, but there is definite evidence that because the Mediterranean states have so many refugees and are overwhelmed, the Northern states see them as unruly and poorly enforced, leading some Northern states to reinstitute border controls. So in that regard, then there’s definitely a reinforced stereotype that the Mediterranean states can’t handle themselves.

  2. Brian Zhang

    The nine South American countries that the Amazon can be found in haven’t quite gotten to the same level of cooperation as the EU. There is no formal treaty that unites those countries like there is for a majority of the European countries. In my case, the ideology they don’t believe in is how to best use the Amazon. Brazil takes a more conservative approach when creating policies that affect the Amazon, while countries like Ecuador and Peru have little regards to the Amazon when creating policies. I think the communication that is found in the European Union is necessary for these nine countries as well. Otherwise, we could see the Amazon completely disappear if every country does their own thing with the Amazon. I do agree that finding a compromise may take a while, even if they do talk, but that first step needs to be taken.


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