Europe was a disastrous place after World War II. Many countries were in agony because of their economy and military. Many feared Germany would rearm and try to take over again, while other feared the big “C”…Communism and the Soviet Union would attack. In order to rebuild the continent, leaders decided on one solution: the unification of Europe. What they couldn’t decide on was which path to take: federalism or functionalism. Federalism, on one hand, is the Big Bang Theory of Europe, the idea to rebuild the continent all at once.
This comes from the notion of popular sovereignty. If there are European people, they can build an European government. This provokes the idea of supra nationalism; going beyond nationalism; something larger the nation states making decisions; this implies the loss of sovereignty as a nation state to a new institution as a world government. No one is French, German or Italian, they are strictly European. Functionalism, on the other hand, believes it is unrealistic to build Europe to its previous standing in a short amount of time.
Functionalism focuses on individual problems such as security and economics. If organizations can be formed to solve these problems, then a unified Europe will follow. The mentality of Europe is should the government or the people be built first? As stated before, many leaders agreed on the unification of Europe, but have disagreed on the path in doing so. Aristide Briand, Prime Minister of France, was one of the first to suggest the idea of a European union under the League of Nations.
The Briand plan reads, “The policy of European policy, towards which must tend the present search for the first link of solidarity between the governments of Europe, implies, in effect, a conception absolutely contrary to that which formerly led to the creation in Europe of customs unions, tending to abolish internal customs barriers in order to erect on the boundary of the whole community a stiffer barrier…”(p. 2, printout, Briand). Two men, Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi, prisoners of Italy, collaborated together and created the “Ventotene Manifesto”. The multiple problems which poison international life on the continent have proved to be insoluble: tracing boundaries through areas inhabited by mixed populations, defense of alien minorities, seaports for landlocked countries, the Balkan Question, the Irish problem, and so on. All these matters would find easy solutions in the European Federation. ” (p. 5, Spinelli and Rossi) Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain calls for the Unites States of Europe, “What is this sovereign remedy?
It is to re-create the European Family or as much as we can of it, and provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of America. ” (p. 8, Churchill) These three articles all promote one thing: federalism. They have chosen to unify Europe through the people. If they can successful unite Europe as a sole institution, each individual nation state won’t have to handle their own affairs and they can have representatives intervene in the decision making. An example of this is the United Nations, which includes most of Europe, US, and USSR.
All countries have to listen to what five main countries in the security council has to say. Robert Schuman, France’s Foreign Minister outlines the plan for the European Coal and Steel Community. “The pooling of the coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the Federation of Europe…” (p. 14, Schuman) Jean Monnet is classified as the father of Europe. He believed in the unification of Europe. Unlike his peers, he believed it should be through economics; and with a striving economy in place, the people will follow. These changes inside and outside Europe would not only have taken place without the driving force of the Common Market. It opens prospects for dealing with problems the solution of which was becoming increasingly urgent. ” (p. 24, Monnet) These two men decided that Europe needed to bounce back from the World Wars and what better way than to fix the economy through an unity and common market. They each believed that fixing individual areas could fall together like a puzzle and unify Europe. Out of the ideas came the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC) which in the end failed drastically.
Charles de Gaulle and Margaret Thatcher were both from countries that like their individual sovereignty and believed that they should be the ones that made the decisions on their own affairs. Neither one believed in federalism or functionalism. Charles de Gaulle was the French president of the Fifth Republic. He believed in the whole European Unity but, of course, not at the course of states’ sovereignty. He liked the idea of an economy community as many functionalist do, but his main cause was to put France back on the map and wanted to make sure that it was France, not another country making its decisions.
All of de Gaulle’s points were made in favor and from the view of France. De Gaulle states in his speech, “To arrange for the regular cooperation of Western Europe in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as that of defense, is an aim that France deems desirable, possible and practical…” (p. 44, de Gaulle) This point of view is why he denied Great Britain admission into the EEC. He didn’t want another superpower to take over and force France to do what they did not want to do. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. She wanted to be an unified community but she didn’t believe in big, single government.
Britain, on many occasions, opt-out of agreements made by the rest of Europe such as of a single currency. Thatcher says “the European Community belongs to all its members. It must reflect the traditions and aspirations of all its members…the European Community is the practical means by which Europe can ensure the future prosperity and security of its people in a world in which there are many powerful nations and groups of nations. ” (p. 51, Thatcher) As long as each individual country could keep its own identity then the community as a whole could survive.
European unification has come a long way. Over the past sixty years, Europe has involved from the European Coal and Steel Community to what is now the European Union. These ideas never died, they were just revamped into something new, something that could work. The unification progress started out as federalism working its way through functionalism and what could possibly be federalism again. Jacques Delors best said, “Europe has always been the continent of doubt and questioning, seeking a humanism appropriate to its time has come to return to ideals, to let them penetrate our lives.
Let us continue to consider, in everything we do in the field of politics, economics and social and cultural life, what will enable every man, every woman, to achieve their full potential in an awareness not only their rights, but also of their obligations to others and to society as a whole. ” It is possible for each country of Europe to maintain their individual sovereignty while being a part of something bigger. Let it be known that smaller jobs should be reserved for the smaller institutions and the bigger jobs for the bigger institutions. If this is so, then the European Union will prevail.