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Social Europe: European Parliamentary Elections 2009 - Time for a new Direction (by Martin Schulz)
Europe has been a fascinating idea of peace, stability and social justice. After decades of unstable balance of power systems, disastrous conflicts and two World Wars, a new era in Europe's history began when the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established. The idea `to create peace through integration' became a reality. Following decades of war, battlefields and deep wounds, the peace project `Europe' arose. Overcoming the fear of war and opening borders between Europe's nation states was the dream of millions of people, which came true. Through the voluntary transfer of sovereignty from nation states to a supranational institution, an integration process started which over the years has evolved further and further. From the 1950 Schuman Plan - the beginning of the integration process - to the 1958 Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundation stone of the single market, and eventually to the single currency, the `monetary non-aggression community' reached a degree of integration, which, if one pauses for a moment, is amazing.

The number of member states has expanded from the six founding states - France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - to currently 27 member states. Core principles like peace, freedom, democracy, prosperity and social development were extended to Spain, Portugal and Greece after the fall of their dictatorships; later, after the end of the Cold War, these principles were also adopted by the former Warsaw Pact states. The eastern enlargement of the EU eventually ended the artificial division of Europe through the `Iron Curtain'. A war between the EU member states is unthinkable today.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Apr 13th, 2009 at 08:13:29 AM EST
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