The Founding of the EU

The Founding of the EU


In today’s episode we’ll be talking about
early EU History, from the world wars until the European Community. So let’s get to it. When the First World War ended, it was dubbed
‘the war to end all wars’. After this, nobody would even THINK about
fighting ano… world war II happened. It saw the deaths of over 50 million people,
the Holocaust, and millions were left without homes. This war changed world politics: After this
war, all European powers were forced to give up their lucrative colonies over time and
lost their status as world powers, after this war an iron curtain split Europe into two
opposing factions, after this war the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over everybody’s
heads. Europe could no longer afford another European
war or else it might be turned into a smouldering crater. So, how could the leaders of Europe somehow
prevent this from happening again? Winston Churchill came with the answer: create
a ‘United States of Europe’. The first step towards this goals was set
in the Schuman Declaration in 1950. It stipulated a plan to combine Europe politically
and economically, starting with the coal and steel industries. Why coal and steel? Because they were the backbone of war: they
were needed to build tanks, ships, and guns. If these markets were combined between countries,
it would tie your war production directly with that of your enemy. “This made war not only unthinkable, but
also impossible”. And this union, would have to start with the
two biggest rivals of Europe: Germany and France. And so in 1951 they signed the Treaty of Paris
, a treaty that would mark the beginning of the European Union. 4 more countries joined the call of peace. Along with Germany and France there were The
Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Italy, forming the European Coal and Steel Community. The Coal and Steel Community reduced tariffs
on coal and steel, increased the trade of these goods tenfold between the member countries,
and created over 100.000 jobs. But it also had its failures. One of the goals was to create an integrated
energy market, not just one for coal but also to include oil, gas, and nuclear energy but
only achieved collaboration on nuclear. The ECSC wanted to prevent large corporations
from dominating the coal and steel market, as this had helped Hitler rise to power, it
did so by preventing cartels from forming, and while this action did assure lower prices
for its citizens, large corporations still emerged if they were simply more competitive
than their rivals. As the years passed it became clear that the
Coal and Steel Community was becoming outdated and two new ideas sprung up: France wanted
to create an atomic energy community so that the 6 countries could work together to generate
nuclear energy for its citizens. Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands
wanted a common market; where goods, services, and people could be exchanged without tariffs
or border controls. So how did they reconcile these two ideas? Well, they did both of course! The European Atomic Energy Community oversaw
the nuclear energy market. And the European Economic Community, or EEC,
oversaw economic integration. The EEC’s first goal was to create a common
price level for agricultural goods and create a customs union. You might be wondering ‘what the hell is
a customs union?’ Basically, it means that the trade barriers
between the 6 EEC countries would be removed on certain products but if anyone from outside
the EEC wanted to trade with these countries, they would be paying the same tariff in each
country. So, let’s say for example, you are a French
baker who wants to sell your croissants to Germany. Well, just for crossing that border your customer
has to pay an extra tax, a tariff, just for buying a FRENCH croissant. But now that tariff was removed between the
two countries, there would be no extra tax to pay for your croissant and you would pay
as much as you would for a Germany croissant. It also meant that if an English baker wanted
to sell his croissants to either Germany or France, then in both countries the same tariff
would apply, meaning that neither country has an advantage based on import taxes. And thus, making it easier for foreign companies
to do business in the EEC. Over the years Europe became ever closer:
Economies became more interconnected, governments worked together, and trade between the countries
was increasing. But there was one person with whom this development
didn’t sit right: President Charles de Gaulle, the war hero who led the French government-in-exile
during WWII. De Gaulle was a French nationalist and he
believed France was handing over too much of its power to the EEC. You see, up until this point whenever countries
decided for more integration, the 6 members of the EEC would give authority over such
matters to the European institutions, basically creating a sort of European government. This was facilitated by the USA and the United
Kingdom who helped guide Europe towards more integration. And it’s especially this last part that
just did not sit well with De Gaulle: why would the UK, a country in decline who was
losing more and more of its colonies every year, and the USA, a country an ocean away,
determine French affairs? De Gaulle proposed a new course for Europe:
The UK, the USA, and NATO would have no more power Europe. Power would be taken away from the EEC, the
coal and steel union, and the European atomic agency and turned back to the governments
of the member states. And France would retake its role as a super
power in world by dominating this new western Europe. You can imagine how the rest of Europe were
not so eager to replace the USA with France. “uhh yeah, did you notice how half of Europe
is gobbled up by this giant super power right across our borders? WE NEED NATO’S SUPPORT!!! Stop trying to rule Europe!” After years of negotiations President De Gaulle
pulled out of the EEC in 1965, practically shutting it down. The EEC needed a unanimous decision on any
action it took and without France there would always be one vote missing. So, the countries of Europe did what they
do best: compromise. They agreed that France would take their seat
in the EEC again if 1. Any EEC country would be allowed to veto any
EEC plans if it was a ‘very importation national interest’ even if the majority
voted in favour 2. Creating a ‘Common Agricultural Policy’
in the EU that set the prices for fruits, vegetables, sugar, and cereals. And 3. The EEC must ask approval on certain important
topics from the member countries themselves. And so, the idea of a united Europe had overcome
its first obstacle. Come back next time to see how Europe moves
forward and watch as the European Community expands to other nations.

26 comments on “The Founding of the EU

  1. So helpful! I have an exam on European Integration tomorrow, and this is the perfect review for my studies! Thank you so much for this~^^

  2. Europe's nations should be guided towards a super state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.

  3. What was the role of the United States in this? Who was the French diplomat Jean Monnet, and why did he have easy access to the White House throughout the 1950s and 1960s? What part did the CIA play in funding the stages of development of the EU? Why were US president from Roosevelt to Obama pressuring the Europeans to complete the task of integration? Why did the US spend 3-4 million dollars from 1949 to 1960 funding various federalist activities in Europe? Who was the American John McCloy in the Truman administration, and why was he suggesting an international authority for control of all Western European coal and steel? Who was David Bruce, and why was he talking about Europe's coal and steel with Jean Monnet in 1949?

  4. The nations of Europe must merge to become one united people with no national identity, the European state will then have all the combined military powers, Europe can expand to the east and beyond. "No more wars", who are they trying to brain wash? the whole thing is about power corruption and domination. They won't even let one member leave after a democratic vote. The contempt the EU gangsters have displayed to the pathetic British government says it all really. Britain lost it's steel and coal industry because of cheaper European subsidized products deliberately dumped on us and the miners rioted but it made no difference. Hopefully this elitist arrangement will soon fall and we can find a better way of cooperating with each other and remain free of tyranny. Sadly our excepted history is built on lies and propaganda, it's now taught in schools as fact to eager minds who will of course believe everything they are told by equally brainwashed blameless teachers.

  5. Merging over 27 countries into one super state will unlikely be about to happen. So many cultural differences put together will lead to one big explosive tension where Turkey could be the spark to set it off. As proud as they are like many other countries they will never give up their identity. And who will take power over this super state? The romans, ottomans, spaniards, french, germans all ruled europe once and failed because it got too big to control and people felt occupied and suppressed. This same feeling is felt by a lot of people nowadays because brussels is overruling national governments. For example the dutch pulse fishing incident with france. A situation like the war in yugoslavia could very well occur. Therefore we only need to focus on trade agreements and go back to the EEC.

  6. I love the EU. It makes things cheaper, improves education and gives us small European countries a voice on the world stage. Populists just don't seem to understand this

  7. This video is bullshit, the EEC was formed by the steel companies as a cartel to protect their interests. It was not Churchills idea. PURE BS

  8. Don't pretend that the idea of the Union came from Churchill, the European Union was first proposed in the Manifesto of Verona (1943) under the name of "European Community".

  9. When discussing Churchill, the map of Europe is wrong – it includes the UK. Churchill always considered "Europe" as being the contintent, that place over The Channel, that place not the UK, that the UK kept getting dragged into, and Churchill's "United States of Europe" was a specifically contentental/non-UK entity to tie the continent together to stop the continent dragging the UK into its affairs.

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