EUROPEAN UNION: THE HISTORY OF FOUNDATION
For centuries, Europe was the scene of frequent and bloody
wars. In the period 1870-1945 France and Germany fought each
other three times, with terrible loss of life. A number of European
leaders became convinced that the only way to secure a lasting
peace between their countries was to unite them economically and
politically. That’s why in 1950 the French Foreign Minister Robert
Schumann proposed integrating the coal and steel industries of
Western Europe. As a result in 1951 the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC) was set up with six members: Belgium, West
Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. The
power to take decisions about the coal and steel industry in these
countries was placed in the hands of an independent international
body called „The High Authority”. Jean Monnet was its first President.
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was such a
success that within a few years the above mentioned six countries
decided to go further and integrate other sectors of their economies.
In 1957 they signed the Treaties of Rome, creating the European
Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and the European
Economic Community (EEC). The member states set about
removing trade barriers between them and forming a "common
In 1967 the institutions of the three European communities
were merged. From this point on, there was a single Commission
and a single Council of Ministers as well as the European Parliament.
Originally, the members of the European Parliament were
chosen by the national parliaments but in 1979 the first direct elections
were held, allowing the citizens of the member states to vote
for the candidate of their choice. Since then, direct elections have
been held every five years.
The Treaty of Maastricht (1992) introduced new forms of co35
operation between the member state governments – for example
on defense, and in the area of "justice and home affairs". By adding
this intergovernmental cooperation to the existing "Community"
system, the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union
Economic and political integration between the member
states of the European Union means that these countries have to
take common decisions on many matters. So they have developed
their policies in a very wide range of fields – from agriculture to
culture, from consumer affairs to competition, from the environment
and energy to transport and trade.
In the early days the focus was on a common commercial
policy for coal and steel and a common agricultural policy. Other
policies were added as time went by, and as the need arose. Some
key policy aims have changed in the light of changing circumstances.
For example, the aim of the agricultural policy is no longer
to produce as much food as cheaply as possible but to support
farming methods that produce healthy, high quality food and protect
the environment. The need for environmental protection is
now taken into account across the whole range of EU policies.
The European Union’s relations with the rest of the world have
also become important. The EU negotiates major trade and aid
agreements with other countries and is developing a Common
Foreign and Security Policy.
It took some time for the Member States to remove all the
barriers to trade between them and to turn their "common market"
into a genuine single market in which goods, services, people and
capital could move around freely. The Single Market was formally
completed at the end of 1992, though there is still work to be
done in some areas – for example, to create a genuinely single
market in financial services.
During the 1990s it became increasingly easy for people to
move around in Europe, as passport and customs checks were
abolished at most of the EU’s internal borders. One consequence
is greater mobility for EU citizens. Since 1987, for example, more
than a million young Europeans have taken study courses abroad,
with support from the EU.
In 1992 the EU decided to go for economic and monetary union
(EMU), involving the introduction of a single European currency
managed by a European Central Bank. The single currency
– the euro – became a reality on 1 January 2002, when euro notes
and coins replaced national currencies in twelve of the 15 countries
of the European Union (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain,
France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal
The EU has grown in size with successive waves of accessions.
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973
followed by Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986 and Austria,
Finland and Sweden in 1995. The European Union welcomed
ten new countries in 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Bulgaria and Romania expect to follow in 2007; Croatia and Turkey
are beginning membership negotiations in 2005.The insurance
that the enlarged EU was still efficient needed a more streamlined
system for taking decisions. That is why the Treaty of Nice lays
down new rules governing the size of the EU institutions and the
way they work. It came into force on 1 February 2003. It would be
replaced, in 2006, by the new EU Constitution – if all EU countries
to convince – переконувати(ся);
to vote – обирати шляхом голосування;
joint – спільний, загальний;
to merge – об’єднувати;
consumer – споживчий, торговий;
circumstances – обставини;
range – ряд;
to negotiate – домовлятися, вести переговори;
to abolish – скасовувати;
consequences – наслідки;
currency – валюта, гроші в обігу;
accession – вступ, приєднання;
efficiently – продуктивно, ефективно.
Read the following statements and decide whether they
are true or false:
1. In the period 1870-1945 France and Germany fought each
other three times, with terrible loss of life.
2. A number of European leaders decided that the only way
to secure a lasting peace between their countries was to unite them
3. In 1951 the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
was set up with six members: Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg,
France, Italy and Great Britain.
4. In 1957 the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)
and the European Economic Community (EEC) were
5. Since 1967 there has been a single Commission a Single
Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
6. In 1967 the first direct elections to the European Parliament
7. The Treaty of Maastrict (1992) created the European Union
8. Some key policy aims of EU have changed in the light of
9. Since 1992 more than a million young Europeans have
taken study courses abroad with support from the EU.
Read the text and answer the questions using your own
knowledge of history and the information given:
1) What was the reason for the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC) foundation?
2) What countries formed the ECSC in 1951?
3) When and why were the European Atomic Energy Community
(EURATOM) and the European Economic Community
4) When was the European Union formed?
What do you know about further merge of the Union?
5) What was the importance of the treaty of Maastricht?
6) What are the key policy aims?
7) What does „Common market” mean?
8) What was euro, the common currency, created for?
9) Which countries joined the EU after 1973?
10) What can you tell about your native country attitude towards
3. Complete the sentences:
1. For centuries, Europe was the scene . . .
2. That’s why in 1950 the French Foreign Minister Robert
Schumann proposed . . .
3. The power to take decisions about coal and steel industry
in these countries was placed in . . .
4. In 1957 they signed the Treaties of Rome . . .
5. The Treaty of Maastricht introduced new forms of cooperation
. . .
6. . . . that these countries have to take common decisions on
7. . . . but to support farming methods that produce healthy,
high quality food and protect the environment.
8. . . . as passport and customs checks were abolished at most
the EU’s internal borders.
9. . . . involving the introduction of a Single European currency
managed by the European Central Bank.
Compose a chronological table according to the facts
And dates given.
a single Commission
a single Council of Ministers
the European Parliament
Creation of the EU
the Single Market
5. Points for discussion in micro groups:
1. The history of foundation of the EU.
2. New forms of cooperation between the member State
3. Key policy aims of the EU.
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