Rising populism of Catalan independence movement EU expansion targets Relationship with Russia over post-Soviet countries “4. Consider the future of the European Union. To what extent does its current situation illustrate general patterns of conflict and cooperation in international affairs? Will the EU still be together in 2050?” European Union – definition and purpose Europe has been over the period of great changes over the last 70 years. After the World War II much of the continent was lest devastated and there was wide spread desire for peace so that Europe would never again witness war on such a scale. The process that started back then let the formation of the common market which then became the European Union. Let me please briefly go over the history of the EU from the World War II to todays European Union as it is important to understand the fundamental ideas of EU to make some assumptions about European Union’s future.
The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 different countries, has around 1.5 billion citizens. The EU we know today works as a single market: free movement of people, goods and services from one country from another. There is a standardized system of laws and most of the EU countries share the common currency. Many of the countries have also signed up for a Schengen agreement which means they no longer have border controls or passport checks between member states. The EU often speaks as one voice representing all its member countries at the UN or World Trade Organization and it has developed a sophisticated tourist structure. The EU we know today is a vibrant community but its origins can be traced back to events that happened in 20 century – the World War II. In 1945 the economic structure was ruined, millions of people were homeless, all of the transportation systems were completely destroyed.
People believed that some form of European integration would prevent the extreme forms of nationalism that caused the war and resulted in devastation. People who decided to create EU wanted to promote more integrated society, where people would not have to fight each other, they promoted the idea of trade since in order to do trading you have to reach an agreement and have a dialogue. The first steps to achieving integration happened at the Potsdam Conference at the 1945. The participants at the Potsdam Conference decided that Germany should be divided into 4 parts which would be controlled by Britain, the USA, France and the Soviet Union. The idea was that if the Germany would be separated into 4 pieces it would not have enough power for another war. The US was at that time the only major economy that was not significantly damaged by the war.
Under the Marshall Plan in 1948 it was set out to remove the European trade barriers, modernize its industry and make Europe prosperous again. Brexit On June 23rd 2016 17.4 million people in the United Kingdom voted to become the first country to leave the European Union. There are many arguments about what caused Brexit. One of the primary arguments was that the UK as the one of the most wealthiest countries at EU was contributing too much money to the EU budget. Another factor that pushed Britain towards the exit was terrorism: a lot of attacks, some were maden by immigrants, for example events in Paris in 2015 November. There was a big migration issue, for example, comparing to 4 other countries – Germany, France, Italy, and Spain- with more than 40 million residents, UK has the highest population density, the US is 6 times less crowded than UK. With 51.9 % vote over 48.1% the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. Great Britain will leave EU on March 29 2019 with a transition period through the end of 2020.
During this period things will remain as it was usual such as trade, migration rights, EU subsidies, it will stay pretty much the same. British taxpayers will have to carry on paying EU bills but after the transition period there are many discussions and theories about what will happen after. Let’s look closer what are possible outcomes of Brexit. There are four possible outcomes that may happen: “no deal”, “hard Brexit”, “softer Brexit”, and “Chequers deal”. “No deal” outcome If an agreement is not reached in time, British laws will be separated with EU laws and tariffs and border checks will occur more often. There may be new policies about migration and trade and some people argue that it may cause problems for British citizens who stay in EU countries and supply shortages because of delays on the border. “Hard Brexit” Since Britain may set its own rules and regulations it may occur in dramatic changes in trade with other countries as with EU it is much easier.
It can be good for British companies which will be more competitive than foreign companies because of new possible tariffs or extra expectations. However, it will be not beneficial for British companies who rely on trade with EU as new tariffs will prevent to buy components from abroad. Also, under the “hard Brexit” the complete freedom of movement within Britain and EU countries will be restricted. “Softer Brexit” There will be much more alignment between Britain and EU that means fewer things will be changed. Some theories suggest that in that case Britain even can stay in a single market and customs union. On the other side, it won’t be beneficial for British companies whose products may become less competitive than import ones in the market, vise versa with British companies who rely on international trade and will not be hit by tariffs and regulations. Under the “soft Brexit” there will not be a significant change in migration laws, maybe only new rules for air travelling.
“Chequers Deal” is named by the prime minister’s country residence suggest that there will be a close alignment with EU relating to trade, for example, common rules of trading which will give an opportunity to avoid tariffs while at the same time Britain will have more freedom in trade with other countries such as US or China.