The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. It has a population of over 447 million people, making it the third-largest population in the world. However, the roots of the EU can be traced back to the coal and steel industries.
In the aftermath of World War II, Europe was devastated both economically and politically. The only way for Europe to rebuild itself was to cooperate and work together. In 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established by six countries – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany – to integrate their coal and steel industries and establish a common market.
The ECSC was the first step towards European integration. It represented a break with the past, where European countries had been constantly at war with each other. It was a symbol of unity, with the six founding countries agreeing to share resources and work together for the common good. The ECSC also established supranational institutions, such as the High Authority and the Common Assembly, which were the precursors to the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The success of the ECSC led to further integration. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed, creating the European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC expanded on the ECSC by establishing a customs union, allowing for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people. The EEC also established a common agricultural policy and a common external tariff.
The EEC was renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993, and in 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed, which established the EU as we know it today. The EU now has 27 member states and is responsible for a wide range of policies, including trade, foreign affairs, and justice and home affairs.
In conclusion, the roots of the EU are in the agreements within the coal and steel industries. The ECSC represented a break with the past and a symbol of unity. The success of the ECSC led to further integration, culminating in the EU we know today. The EU has achieved a great deal in terms of peace, prosperity, and democracy, and the coal and steel industries played an important role in its creation.