IN WHAT WAYS WAS EUROPE UNITED IN THE LAST DECADE OF THE 20TH CENTURY?
In what ways was Europe united in the last decade of the 20th century?
Europe became unified through both economic and cultural means in the final decade of the 20thCentury. One of the most important efforts for unification was the European Union (EU), “replacing the European Economic Community as the primary political and economic institution for cooperating European countries” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). The efforts to unify Europe were further advanced in the last decade of the century by the extensive use of communications and information technologies in a technological revolution that saw a transformation that also brought people around the world into closer and quicker contact than ever before” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012).
What were the political implications of European unity?
Many of the countries in Eastern Europe began to adopt new democratic systems of government with elected leadership and new reforms to adjust to free market systems. Likewise, a multitude of new political parties formed, coinciding with an influx of private book publishers, which became greater opportunities to spread new ideas. The political parties that remained communist chose to do so while changing their platforms to include more democratic ideas and distance themselves from the atrocities of Soviet communism, while still advocating for more government control of economic matters. However, a few exceptions still remained, such as Belarus, “which in 2011 remained a command economy under the 17-year dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012).
What were the social implications of European unity?
As a result of the new efforts to unify, Europe saw a massive influx of immigration which worked to create a much more diverse population than ever before. Additionally, those who were used to the economics of communist governments had to make “adjustments in their cultural lives that were almost as difficult as those in their economic and political lives” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). There were also issues regarding religion in the new Europe with many such as Pope John Paul II arguing that the EU needed to invoke an acknowledgment of Europe’s Christian roots in the proposed draft of an EU constitution. “The debate died out when the constitution failed to be approved in France and the Netherlands, although the idea that Europe is a ‘Christian’—or Judeo-Christian—place continues to be held by many and informs some of the anti-immigrant political movements that have gained prominence in the 21st century, discussed in further detail later in this chapter” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012).
What were the economic implications of European unity?
“The collapse of Communism and the end of the protected trading bloc COMECON left the economies of the former Soviet Union and its former satellites exposed to entirely new conditions” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). One of the approaches to solving the issues that arose after introducing a subsidized socialist society into a free market capitalist system was the ‘shock’ or ‘big bang’ approach which “included such measures as ending price controls, abolishing subsidies for companies, and privatizing state-owned businesses” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). The unemployment numbers took a hit as well during the 1990’s in Eastern Europe in many places that had guaranteed lifelong positions for many before the collapse.
In what ways was Europe divided in the last decade of the 20th century?
Along with concerns over the inclusion of Judeo-Christian values, “immigration, and especially the presence of growing numbers of Muslims, provoked many expressions of concern that ‘European values’ were being threatened” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). These concerns only worked to create greater lines of division among the new European countries and the efforts of the European Union as well as concerns over the new possible threat of globalization. Globalization is “the increasing integration of the global economy, as measured by international trade, investment, and manufacturing, made possible by the political predominance of policies favorable to the free operation of market forces” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). In essence, globalization was the unforeseen aftershock that followed the collapse of communism and the unification of Europe, which in itself presented the world with a whole new line of contention and controversial ideologies.