After the destruction of the Second World War the idea of European integration took root becoming what's known today as the European Union (EU). What began in 1950 as a loose economic confederation expanded into a powerful European body designed to establish European citizenship; ensure freedom, security and justice; promote economic and social progress; and assert Europe's role in the world.1 The EU consists of 15 member states plus 13 eastern and southern European states currently preparing for accession. The EU's expanding role has redefined European national sovereignty by eliminating the absolute power of the nation state. This paper examines the effects of an expanding EU on the national sovereignty of European nations. .
An understanding of the concept of sovereignty offers the key to understanding the changes taking place in Europe. Europeans invented national sovereignty with "The Treaty of Westphalia," in 1648.2 European colonization and power quickly spread this concept throughout the world creating the modern nation state. Nations exercise two kinds of sovereignty, internal and external. Internal sovereignty is the right to make laws, regulate currency, levy taxes and regulate the economy. External sovereignty is the right to engage in foreign policy including the right to negotiate treaties, conducts foreign trade, provide for the common defense, and regulate immigration. The exercise of these sovereign rights has traditionally determined national success. The EU has managed to end this association between sovereignty and success by instituting a system of pooled sovereignty. How is it that the nations that invented the concept of Sovereignty are now rapidly diminishing its importance?.
In 1946 Winston Churchill gave a speech at the university in Zurich in which he Declared "We must recreate the European family in a regional Structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe.