Comparative Politics Essay
The European Union was in the past known as the European community and is both an economic and a political party comprising of twenty seven member states - Comparative Politics Essay introduction. It was formed after the treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1993.
According to Barnard (2007), the main reason why the union was formed was to promote peace and social progress among the member states. It also aimed at promoting social integration among the member states of the European Union. To achieve this end, the European Union was well aware that certain laws aimed at war threats elimination and laws to protect the rights of the citizens of the member states had to be enacted. The union therefore enacted laws that ensure that citizens are free to move from one state to the other without any restrictions.
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The European Union comprises of three main institutions namely: the European parliament, the Council and the Commission. The parliament’s work is to share the Union’s budgetary and the legislative authorities with the Union’s council. It has 785 members who are directly elected through universal suffrage and is the only organ of the union whose members are elected directly. The second institution of the union is the council and its work is to make all decisions affecting the union. So it is the custodial authority of the executive and legislative powers. Its presidency is rotated among the member states after every six months. The third institution is of the commission and its work is to draft all the laws concerning the union. Its president is appointed by the union’s council and some of its members are elected by the member states. The union also has non political institutions such as the court of justice which comprises of 27 judges each from the member states and the other institution is the court of auditors whose work is to ensure that the union’s money is spent accordingly. (Peterson and Shackleton 2006)
Therefore, the main reason why the union was formed was to promote peace, security, social integration and progress among the member states.
The union has two types of institutions: political and non political institutions such as court of auditors and court of justice.
Reasons why European Countries want to join the Union.
There are various reasons that prompt the eastern nations to join EU and one of the reasons is to enjoy the benefits of the single market. This single market was launched in 1993 and since then it has brought some significant changes in the market for example, it has improved the employer-employee relationship and to protect the consumers from being exploited by business cartels.
Through the single market, the member states are free to move from one country to another without restrictions. The European Union is the largest single international market in the world in fact it is bigger than that of Japan and US combined. The other reason that attracts the Eastern Europe nations is the well regulated trade with healthy business competition that is regulated by the commission. For example, the commission approves mergers, controls cartel formation and promotes economic liberalization. Another thing that attracts these nations is the fact that the quality of life of the member states is above that of the nations that are not in the union. The regulation of the single market has led to the smooth running of the businesses leading to the increase in Gross Domestic Product and job opportunities and hence the improved living standards. (Bilhartzs and Elliott 2007)
Drawbacks: Because of many structural changes, many industries in the east are unable to adjust themselves appropriately as those in the EU sell their products at more competitive prices. Another problem is the fact that it is hard for all member states to use one single currency as their economic growth differs. Another drawback that is associated with the European Union is that most countries are not as developed as those in the EU so; many people migrate from east to the west where there are more job opportunities. All qualified personnel leave their countries for the Western Union countries thereby destroying the economy of their mother countries. The laws that are passed by the union’s council have some effects on the independence of some countries for example, the law that protects free migration of people deprives countries of their powers to regulate who should enter their country or not. (Economics Help)
Therefore, though the union members benefit a lot by joining the union, there are some drawbacks that they encounter such as lack of independence over their nations but most of them affect the non members.
Two Party System versus Multiparty.
Proportional Representation is a system where two parties form the government and the powers are divided in proportion to the number of votes that each party garners in each constituency and a good example is in Italy. In the two party systems, only two parties dominated but there might be other small parties that are of no political significance.
In the two party systems, the legislature has two parties and the party with the majority of the members is called the Majority party while the other one is called the Minority party and examples of these countries are USA and Jamaica. According to Duverger (1972), multiparty system entails that more than two parties can jointly run the government by forming a coalition. Many of the European nations embrace the policy of proportional representation and a case in hand is of Germany, France and Italy for example in Italy, the proportion representation replaced the additional member system in 2005.
One advantage of the two party systems is that the party supporters come from all over the country unlike in multiparty system where party supporters come from specific regions. In as much as one would say that it is good to deal with a small number than a big one, two party system is not appropriate as it would concentrate power to few hands and this would promote centralism unlike in multiparty system. In two party systems like in US, legislations are easily passed without being shot down by small parties that might be in opposition. (Duverger M. 1972)
One problem with the two party systems is that it demands that voters be aligned in big blocs that sometimes become unmanageable or to reach to a compromise unlike in multiparty where small blocs come together and through a policy of give and take come to a compromise. In two party systems, politicians may preach negative campaigns and yet be elected as there are only two options unlike in multiparty. Thorugh multi party systems like in Italy, those parties that do not reach the minimum set criteria for seats sharing do not get a chance to form the government. (Bilhartz Et al, 2007)
Therefore it is okay to say that multiparty systems have lot of advantages over the two party systems although this view may vary from one person to another.
Bilhartz, Terry D. and Elliott AC. 2007. Currents in American History: A Brief History of the United States. M.E. Sharpe.
Barnard, C. 2007. The Substantive Law of the EU: the Four Freedoms, Second edition. New York, Oxford University Press.
Duverger M. 1972. Factors in a Two-Party and Multiparty System. New York, Thomas Crowell.
Economics Help. Disadvantages of EU membership for Eastern European countries. http://www.economicshelp.org/europe/disadvantages-eu.html
Liiphart A.1999. The Westminster Model of Democracy: Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven, Yale University Press
Peterson, J. and Shackleton, M. Ed. 2006. The Institutions of the European Union
2nd ed. Oxford University Press.