The European Union (EU) and Western Europe

This paper discusses that history of the European Union and its effect on the region and its member states.

This paper explains that the concept, which years later became the EU, began in 1948 as the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), whose job it was to advance the rebuilding of war-torn Europe and to help distribute American financial aid (Marshall Aid) for Western Europe. The author points out that, while the overall trend is toward greater regionalization in Europe, there is a great deal of variation among countries, with the smaller countries such as Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark demonstrating little change. The paper concludes that all European countries need a more decentralized system that promotes effective and efficient public service, increased transparency, and accountability.
“Basically, Belgium’s commitment to the process of unification after the war has placed it in its current position of power (International Herald Tribune, 2003). At the heart of Europe since the 1950’s, Belgium has embraced most core EU polices, from the creation of a single currency to the abolition of passport controls within the Schengen zone (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain). A stable democracy with a decentralized government, Belgium has low inflation and slow but steady economic growth, forecast to reach 1.8 percent in 2004. The country has grown over the past three decades into a decentralized state, whose power rests with the three regional governments: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south and Brussels as an autonomous region near the center of the country. With one of the EU’s most open economies, Belgium welcomes foreign investment, and its economic policies do not distinguish between domestic and foreign companies.”