Why has European integration occurred? Specifically, why has it evolved at different speeds and to different extents in different areas? Which seems like the most dominant trend - the "blending" of national identities into a greater whole, or the resilience of those different identities in the face of pressures to conform? Does Europe's current debt crisis genuinely threaten the EU's future, or is it more likely a mere deviation on the path to further integration?
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Why has European integration occurred?
I would imagine that whole books have been written on this subject. However, there are some basic ideas that can be discussed in this short essay.
Throughout most of the second millennium Europe was embroiled in military conflicts of one kind or another. The Crusades, the Moorish invasions, religious wars between Protestants and Catholics, nationalist expansion and ideological strife all served to decimate the population, weaken the economies of the various countries and resulted in instability. The First and Second World Wars and the Cold War were the tipping point in this progression of violence, instability and chaos. Following World War I and II European nations began forming alliances and organizations that would serve to unite Europe and prevent future bloodshed and chaos.
The various European nations are a blend of nationalities rather than they are pockets of distinct cultures. They share ethnic, religious, political and cultural similarities. Hundreds of years ago the royal families of the various nations intermarried on a frequent basis in a futile attempt to maintain peace. This intermarriage further blended the people of the various countries and established a shared desire for peace rather than war.
There are few natural boundaries that truly isolate certain parts of Europe from others. The English Channel is the most formidable barrier and has served to keep England distinct from the rest of Europe. Iceland is an island and is likewise somewhat unaffected by events in Europe. The Pyrenees hinder land travel between the Iberian Peninsula and Europe but air and sea travel are unaffected. Scandinavia is somewhat isolated since it is a peninsula and Switzerland was rather isolated due to the Alps. Because few natural ...
This solution examines the phenomenon of European integration in the past and present. The EU, the debt crisis, multiple nationalities and ethnicities and types of government are all taken into account in this process. Over 1,100 words of original text with links to key resources for additional research.