In her book, Bridging Divides: The Channel Tunnel and English Legal Identity in the New Europe, Professor Eve Darian-Smith discusses origins, functions, and affects of the European Union (EU). The title of her work is also not accidental. According to Darian-Smith, the EU diminishes borders by building a metaphorical bridge between the participating countries. Countries of the European Union are linked through business, immigration, Drug and Food Administration laws, presently share currency (Euro), and all without exceptions enjoy democracy. Darian-Smith evokes portrayal of the English Channel Tunnel as a phenomenal link between United Kingdom and France, "The Tunnel Link may help us prosper/ Europe now is close to hand/ Trans-Manche in one fell swoop becomes/ The modern Conqueror of our land! (Darian-Smith 117) The Channel Tunnel between England and France and the associated cross-Channel regional development initiatives are here poetically envisioned as a modern day William the Conqueror. However, I use this poetic vision at the start because it highlights the important cultural-political questions of identity, territory and sovereignty that tend too often to be neglected in the regional science and policy-oriented literatures on borderlands, but emphasized in Darian-Smith's book.
In 1967 the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) merged. When the three merged, they formed the European Community or EC. On November 1, 1993, the twelve members of the European Community (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain) ratified the Treaty on European Union. The EC became the policy-making body of the European Union. In 1994 Austria, Finland, and Sweden became members of the European Union. By 1997 more than a dozen countries have applied for European Union membership, but the European Union has had only admitted the three listed above.