After the end of WWII the countries that took part in the war understood that a joint effort was necessary to be able to grow again. Another big conflict was no longer an option. Cooperation was the key to the overcome hostilities and to help the international community to move into a new age. The industries have been destroyed, millions of people have been killed, and the economy was hit like never before. The bloody wars and the hatred should belong to the past in order to re-built a stable "status quo";. All countries craved peace and a stable international system after many difficult decades. In those harsh times the biggest International Organizations were founded.
For Europe the first step to this new era was the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950. Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were the founding members. This move was huge if somebody takes into consideration that some of these countries were fighting each other only a decade earlier. Afterwards -seven years later- something even bigger happened. It was the treaty of Rome in 1957. The parties of the treaty created a common market that helped the economy of its members to grow and develop during the 60's. The members rose from six to twelve in the following years including the UK when the Single European Act was signed in 1986. History was running incredibly fast and in 1989; the Berlin wall collapsed and soon it was the Soviet Union's turn to come to an end. The democratic liberal countries won the cold war, giving a great chance for development without the fear of a new clash. It was the time when voices for a federal Europe started to arise even more. The ‘Maastricht’ Treaty on European Union in 1993, which needs the development of a whole book to analyse it, was a big step for the Union in all terms: economics, policy, federation and more. The number of countries grew even further and now after the the Treaty of Lisbon we have twenty eight member-states.
Remarkable progress was achieved with the members and the Union to play a major role in the world. A liberal confederation is a step before it's transformation into the first federation of so many different and historical countries. Furthermore all this progress from the very beginning was a result of democratic negotiations between the members with the establishment of concrete European institutions. The parliament, the council of the EU, the Commission and all the institutions are something that we view in a federation. Making laws, giving solutions to the problems expressed by the European people, and making plans for the future, are some of what the Union does. But if the further integration is something realistic and good, why is there so much euroscepticism across Europe?
Today we are facing multiple crises in the EU; excessive member states debts, illegal immigration, refugee overflow, youth unemployment, low growth rates, and etc. Some people are talking about the end of the Union and the return to the old system of states where every country could do anything without consequences, destroying the balance and the common effort to achieve goals. What would Europe be like? It would possibly look like the period between the first and the second world wars. Countries with less growth would make alliances to overthrow the "status quo" and the strong ones would do anything to retain it. This would be a period definitely worse than this one. A period full of populism,without trust, which would possibly lead to nationalism. These are clearly steps backwards and not forwards - not what the people of the European countries want. So what's the cause of the problems in Europe?
The problem is not that we have too much Union, as some argue. The problem is that the Union does not have the tools to face all these problems that come up. The Union can only do what is written in the papers; nothing more, nothing less. What is important is to give the Union the freedom and the tools to solve the problems. This is something that only the member states can do by cooperating and facing the truth. There is no country in this world which can solve all it's problems. It's something we've agreed from the end of the Second World War. We need to be responsible, throw away the populism and understand that we can only work together in a federal Europe, which will have the authority to do what is the necessary to overcome the obstacles.
Europe has faced difficulties throughout history. The cold war, the Luxembourg Compromise with the empty chair crisis, Margaret Thatcher's policy during the negotiations for the European single market, the crisis in Ukraine and many many more similar cases. All these difficult times for Europe had one thing in common - more action for the Union and further talks to solve the problems. That's what we must do. A federal Europe. The question is not "if" but "when". And the answer is "the time when we realise again that we need each other". Because as Pink Floyd has been singing since 1979 "Together we stand, divided we fall".