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The History of European Integration
Greece represented an unexpected event
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)     Print Article 
Published 2010-05-12 19:39 (KST)   
Economic integration in Europe began in 1952, on a sectored basis, with the European Coal and Steel Community. From this starting point, many had thought that it would spread to other sectors of energy, transport, and agriculture. But this road was definitively abandoned when the European Economic Community was born in 1958, in favor of an integration that embraced all industries.

The progressive implementation of the customs union was more rapid than had been thought when the EEC treaty was drafted. When it passed without delay (but not without difficult negotiations) the transition period moved to its second stage.

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While customs moved quickly, only minor steps have been taken so far in the common pursuit of other objectives. The economic union -- which implies a common economic policy -- is indeed limited at present to the objectives of agricultural protection and promotion of internal competition.

This delay is not surprising however: the economic union is to be established by the end of the transition period only; and the authors of the treaty have avoided to issue precise provisions in every field because they thought that the policy-makers would see their problems more clearly after some experience of cooperation: a long period of harmonization is thus necessary.

The European Union (EU) replaced the old European Economic Community (EEC). The block, formalized in 1992 by the Maastricht Treaty (and went into effect in 1993), is truly a unique internal treaty, with its own currency (the Euro), which came into force in 1999, and a common financial and banking system. The main bodies of the EU are: the European Commission (executive body), the Council of Ministers (legislative branch) and the European Parliament (consultant and supervisory organ of the laws and the budget.

The Euro zone are the following 27 countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Montenegro and Turkey are expected to join EU.

But what about Greece?

The financial crisis in Greece started in 2007 as a result of the crisis in the USA.

Greece was in heavy debt -- a problem for the other members of the monetary union.

The Euro group suggested that Greece brought its deficit from 14% of GDP to 3% in a period of four years.

Countries that next stand to be impacted most are Spain and Portugal.

©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Alfredo Ascanio

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