Together and apart: the EU since Maastricht In 1946, out of the devastation of post-war Western Europe, Sir Winston
Churchill remarked that Europeans needed a “United States of Europe” to facilitate rebuilding and prevent future conflict. Starting in 1951, six nations, less Churchill’s England, began the process of creating a union: a union that would reject Churchill’s idea in part. The founding states would join together, but not as a federation subsuming state sovereignty under a supranational organization; rather, they formed a union of sovereign states. Since 1993, when the Treaty of Maastricht (also known as the Treaty of the European Union (EU)) came into effect, the question over how far the EU will integrate remains. This paper will evaluate the EU integration process in the postMaastricht era with a focus on the failure to pass a constitution in 2005 even though ideas contained in the draft constitution were accepted four years later in the Treaty of Lisbon. It will be argued that the EU members have chosen to curtail supranational organization in favor of protecting state sovereignty. Moving together: the Maastricht Treaty, 1993 The formation of the European Coal and Steel Committee in 1951 preserved each of the six-member state’s ability to have control over its laws and people, or sovereignty. Integrationists, politicians who wanted a federal form of government lost out to nationalists, those who wanted to protect their own states from a federal union. Thus, integration was limited to economic issues for which the states could “achieve limited and specific results” (George, Frantz, and Birmele1997, 116). According to Boyka Stefanova (2005) the concept of integration contains a key contradiction – the end result of integration is a supranational organization, yet the
process of integration means sovereignty is only gradually and partially turned over (52). Nonetheless, the integration process was furthered in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome. The treaty produced the European Economic Community (EEC) by applying a functional framework that allowed the states to come together on certain issues where coordination was required and agreed upon. Daniel J. Elazar (2002) suggests that the functional approach was possible because collective security was not part of the negotiations; rather, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would manage that area (36). Therefore, the EEC members made treaties in the area of economic union and ignored those areas that were more controversial or required deeper integration. The next major initiative was the 1993 Treaty of Maastricht, which came as a response to the end of communism in Eastern Europe and furthered work started on the Single European Act signed in 1987, the first major revision of the Treaty of Rome. Maastricht rested on three pillars: the European Communities (economic and monetary union); a common foreign and security policy (to be developed); and a European Court of Justice (ECJ). Also, Maastricht outlined three institutions in addition to the ECJ: the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, both with legislative functions, and the European Commission (which sets the agenda). Although the goal remained an economic union, political motivations were important too, as the Treaty also sought to: “strengthen the democratic legitimacy [and improve the effectiveness] of the institutions; develop the Community social dimension; [and] establish a common foreign and security policy” (Treaty of Maastricht on the European Union 2007). Maastricht introduced a new idea, the principle of subsidiarity, which was in essence a nod to sovereignty/nationalists: “in areas that are not within its exclusive
powers,” the principle goes, “the Community shall only take action where objectives can best be attained by action at Community rather than at national level”...