The political institution I have chosen for analysis is the European Union. My primary focus, area of research, and basic thesis is on the effect that the European Union has had on unity among its member states as well as Europe on the whole. It is my contention, supported by my research, that the inception of the European Union as an institutional system of collective governance of the region has led to a greater unity for member states and throughout Europe. By identifying certain trends I will show that there is reason to believe that the EU will gain a greater significance in both European and World politics, and that the current trends towards unity and integration will continue in the future.
I will begin with some background information on the development of the European Union. The EU was established at the conclusion of the Second World War. The U.S. sponsored Marshall Plan of 1947 is commonly referred to as the precursor for the inter-state cooperation that led to the European Union. The plan was established as a financial aid in rebuilding Europe post World War II, and was also laced with U.S. hopes to create some element of cohesion between the nations of Europe to prevent future armed conflict. It was with this concept in mind that on May 9 1950 France officially proposed to create "the first concrete foundation of a European federation. In response, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France formed the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which resulted in a pool of Europe's coal and steel industries. In my view, this is the first step toward European unity as a result of the forthcoming European Union.
In 1957, the same six nations formed a joint atomic-energy group to create the European Economic Community (EEC) to remove tariff barriers between them-yet another example of early movements toward unity as a result of the soon to be European Union. Ten years later, in 1967