Ever closer union? : an analysis of the Treaty on European Union (1992)
On 10 December 1991, at the Dutch town of Maastricht, the members of the European Council signed the Treaty on European Union. This can be seen as a significant development in the move towards "ever closer Union" set down in the Treaty of Rome in 1957. This thesis describes the process which led to the signing of the treaty and explains the effects which the treaty will have, both for the European Community and for European integration in general. As integration can be understood in many ways, this thesis establishes a model against which organizations and states can be compared and matches the European Community, throughout its development, to this model. The model establishes a federal spectrum stretching from complete unity to complete disunity with the perfect federation lying at the centre. The principal distinction with respect to the European Community is seen to be between intergovernmental and federal style integration.
From this analysis it is concluded that, although the European community began with the potential to become a strong federal organisation, thirty-five years of Member State influence has enhanced the intergovernmental nature of the Community. The Treaty on European Union can be seen to continue this trend and create an intergovernmental Community where the Member states are paramount. The events which have followed the passage of the treaty give further evidence of this conclusion and, what is more, they demonstrate that a new factor is becoming significant in the process of European integration; popular opinion. These conclusions are significant in that they give some indication as to the direction and scope of European integration in the future. They show that the goal of the Community's founders to create a federal European superstate, may be little more than a dream.
KeywordsTreaty on European Union--(1992); European federation
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