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Malta and the Future of Europe

             In order to identify which path the European Union must take in the future it is important to analyse what EU we have today. Undoubtedly, European integration has made gigantic leaps forward in the past half a century, arriving at a level of unity which would have definitely been unconceivable by many prior to 1945. Today's European Union is a heavily integrated bloc of interdependent states which is about to absorb most of the former Communist part of Eastern Europe, making this Union an entity comprising 27 states by the end of the decade. During the last half a decade Europe has shown remarkable progress in integrating the economies of its member states to the extent that we now have a single European currency. EC legislation has also succeeded in guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as unique environmental and social standards to its citizens. The question is whether Europe has arrived at a saturation point or does the EU still have unaccomplished ambitions which it has to face in this new century?.
             The need for Political Unity.
             The recent split occurred within the EU regarding the war on Iraq shows that in the Political sector, Europe is far from being politically united. The divide is the traditional one between Europeanists and Atlanticists. The former has been described as the "Old Europe- which is led by the Franco-German alliance whilst the latter includes the new axis between London, Madrid and Rome and in an enlarged Europe is bound to include most of the Eastern bloc which have recently joined NATO and have already openly manifested their US sympathies. As said previously, there is nothing particularly new about this divide but the question is whether the most powerful economic bloc in the world can afford to be politically so weak in the international scene permitting the USA to maintain the status quo as the only super power in the world?.
             The situation in the ex-Yugoslavia showed that the European Union does not have the necessary structures to tackle international crises even when they take place on Europe's doorstep.

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