The European Union as we currently know it is the result of multiple integration projects designed to enhance the living standards of European people by removing trade barriers and ages-long rivalries. The main driving force behind European cooperation, however, was the collective strive for peace after the devastating Second World War. The first form of the EU was created in 1951, and it was called the European Coal and Steel Community.
Since then, it evolved into different forms after the signing of many treaties which codified and consolidated the legitimacy of the bloc and its institutions. The EU currently has 27 Member States, after the unfortunate departure of the United Kingdom in 2020. However, multiple other countries are either aspiring to become candidate countries or have already been given candidate status.
Overall, the European Union has been an overwhelming success. The standards of living of European Union citizens are much greater than they were before they joined. The elimination of trade barriers and the creation of the Single Market has been of indubitable benefit to both the national economies and to the people of the EU.
The common currency, the Euro, replaced the national currencies of 19 EU Member States, and this led to the relative stability of the economies of these States. It is unimaginable what could have happened to the economies of Member States during the ’08 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic if they still had their own currencies. The freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital has facilitated the lives of many people.
Today, us youth can find travelling to another EU country to be almost as easy as it is to take a ship to our sister island, Gozo. That being said, it is important to note that some EU countries aren’t in the Schengen Zone, and so they still require certain paperwork that isn’t necessary elsewhere in the Union. Due to the elimination of Visa requirements and tariffs, I have personally been to four countries this year because it was so easy to do so. In fact, I am writing this article while on the plane to Brussels, the capital of the EU.
What benefits does Federalism bring to the European table?
- Assures great cooperation in the realm of European Defence
- Provides for a powerful army that can defend the territories from outside threats
- Strategic Autonomy can help to transition Europe from a political infant to a political giant
- Curbs strong dependency on the United States
- Establishes an iron dome and deterrents to nuclear warheads over the territories of the Federation
- Establishes a common foreign, security and defence policy
- Eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy
- Consolidates economic growth and prosperity
- Establishes energy sovereignty and energy independence from illiberal countries.
- Establishes a common energy policy in certain parts of the Federation, whilst supporting different forms of energy in other parts of the Federation
- Consolidates the ‘European Identity and the feeling of togetherness and unity across the Federation
- Transitions the Union from a superpower in terms of international economics into also a superpower in terms of international relations
With all this being said, there is still much to be done. One cannot ignore the reality that is ‘Euroscepticism’. There are still some people who advocate for more sovereignty for nation-states, and some others who even advocate the abolition of the European Union. However, seemingly, Europe has been doing quite well thanks to the existence of the European Union. Will Federalism realistically be the next step? Not right now. Ideally, we would start working on federalising today, but realistically, national governments will not be giving up their countries’ sovereignty just yet. Something big has to happen first. It’s all yet to be seen what that something big will be.
Written by: JEF Malta
This article is being written by the Civic Education Officer of JEF Malta, Karl Pirotta. The contents of this article are representative of his views, and therefore are not an explicit nor direct representation of the views held at JEF Malta.
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