In this essay, I will present 3 or more reasons, citing textual evidence that answers the essential question, “What forces work for and against supranational cooperation among nations?”, and close with how it relates to today.
First, because the EU is a supranational organization, borders are free for travel, and currency is shared. According to age 213, “The EU is a supranational organization with 28 members as of 2018. Supra is a Latin prefix that means “above” or “over.” The government of the European Union stands above the governments of its members. Because it is supranational, the EU has been able to remove barriers that once made travel and trade between European nations complicated.” This proves that the EU is easy to travel through because it’s easier to travel when there aren’t borders than it is with them. For example, normally, if you travel across countries, you have to go through customs to make sure you aren’t bringing anything dangerous or non-native to the country you’re traveling to. For example, if you travel to another country like Mexico, you have to go through customs in order to get there. You have to use your passport, and wait in line so that the people can make sure you aren’t bringing things like dangerous weapons or non-native plants to that country. A similar thing happens between most countries. However, it’s easier to do this in the EU. Travel between European countries supports the creation of the European Union because it makes it easier to travel through European nations. In the past, people have had to go through customs, learn new languages, and trade currencies to get to other countries, like in other countries, but after the creation of the EU, people living in Europe have been able to easily travel through countries. Now, most nations in the EU speak similar languages and use the same currency, rather than all the nations having different languages and currencies. In the US, it’s really easy to travel between states. If you’re driving, you just have to get in the car and go to the state you want to go to. If you’re flying, you just have to go through regular protocol and put your bags through the machine and make sure you don’t have anything dangerous on you, while in customs for going to other countries, you have to stand in a long line and use your passport. Now, imagine that if you decided to travel to another state in America, you would have to go through customs, learn a new language, and switch currencies. This is how it was in Europe before the creation of the EU. This proves that the EU is important because people no longer have to go through customs, learn new languages, or switch currencies to travel between nations in the EU.
Secondly, EU decisions and independent decisions sometimes contrast. According to pages 220 and 221 in the section Forces Working Against a European Cultural Identity, “Other centrifugal forces work against a shared cultural identity. National pride is one of them, as countries have a hard time putting the interests of all of Europe above their national interests.” This proves that EU decisions and independent decisions sometimes contrast for different nations in the EU because National needs and EU needs are often different. For example, the EU may want to help its lower nations by giving them money. However, the higher nations might not want to help by giving their money because they might be working on projects that require large amounts of it. Imagine if you need to pay a large amount of money for taxes, but at the same time, you have to pay off some of the money you owe for your house or car and things you have bought with your credit card. This would be difficult, because you would have to pay tax to the government and also pay off the money you owe for other things. You can also picture a situation like the US Government. They currently need to fund schools, and help provide for soldiers fighting battles, and they also have large debts to other countries. They also have to fund public buildings, and they are trying to do these things with the taxes we are paying. Similar things are happening in the EU because now that they are all in one union, European nations have to balance the money they are making and spending, and instead of just taking care of themselves, they have to also spend money to assist lower nations. Another reason EU and independent decisions may contrast is because of traditions. For example, there are many things in EU nations that are popular in those areas, but not in other ones. For example, in the book it talks about how in Spain, bullfighting is popular, but in other countries, it’s seen as cruel. The book also mentions that in the Czech Republic, food normally tastes better the next day, but the EU outlawed food being served after a couple of hours. It’s clear that National and EU decisions sometimes contrast, working against the EU because of money and laws.
Thirdly, the EU isn’t always helpful for all its nations. According to page 221, “It works because its member countries have been willing to give up some power. Just how much power remains an issue.” This proves that the EU is a supranational organization because it takes power from its stronger countries to help its weaker countries. It also attempts to encourage all of its nations to work together on issues. If any of their participating nations have problems, the EU encourages them to solve them. For example, if a country is having issues with something, they would all work together to solve that issue. That’s similar to how when early settlers moved here to America, they all worked together to build successful settlements. In the EU, they have this mindset about everything. They have to work together in order to solve their problems. However, it requires that nations sacrifice power to the EU. Consequently, nations are forced to work together if they are facing problems. The EU tries to have control over all its member nations, but that may not be supported by the citizens and governments of Europe. The EU is placed above the individual governments of its countries, so it ultimately has control over all of its nations. There are many potential problems with this. For example, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, EU laws can interfere with the way their nations have been far before its creation, like how laws against having food out for too long interfere with the Czech Republic’s way of making food. If the EU attempts to give itself much more power, they could potentially collapse. For example, in the Revolutionary War, America fought back against England’s monarchy, and broke away. The EU may face similar problems, and because they are attempting to bring together many countries that are different in many ways, they may fall in the future. If the EU doesn’t grow too corrupt with all that power, they may have a successful future, but because they are being given all those countries, it may not take long for them to want more power. Clearly, the EU isn’t always seen as helpful for its nations.
As you can see, there are many forces working for and against the EU, including borders, decisions, and how it’s viewed by its nations. The EU can be seen as negative for taking too much power from its countries, but it can also be seen as a positive change from being the center of conflict in World War One and World War Two. This relates to today because whenever someone is given too much power, they will abuse it. This is one of the reasons the US is in debt and the war in Ukraine is happening. If we, as a species, are given too much power, we tend to push the limits of our positions. This has happened many times throughout history, and is still happening to this day. For example, major companies like Disney are charging more for their products. They recently made Disneyland cost more money, and they also have you pay money to buy Disney Plus. However, there are also examples today of people doing good things with power. For example, the United States of America’s government still represents us, and we have also sent in resources to help Ukraine. Similarly, depending on how you look at it, the EU can be both positive and negative. For example, there haven’t been as many major conflicts since the creation of the EU, and now, nations are more encouraged to help each other. The downside is that nations have to give up their power to the EU in order to do this. If the EU didn’t exist, the countries may have still been in tension and conflict to this day, and they may have been refusing to help each other. However, they wouldn’t be giving up their power to a larger organization, either, which is an example of the EU being both good and bad. It brings peace to Europe, but it also forces involved nations to give up power. Overall, the EU has both helped and hurt the nations of Europe, and though people may disagree on if it’s positive or negative, it has preserved peace in Europe, and it will most likely be here for a long time.