Yet the Maastricht Treaty is only the next stage in the development of the EU is much less important than the Single European act (Treaty on principles governing European political cooperation, 1989. — ). That is why during the signing of the agreement supporters of European integration talked more about the work that remains to be done.
The British tactic was to try to speed up the pace of EU enlargement in order to decentralize management within the community. Before the start of the British EU presidency in July 1992, [Douglas] Hurd (the Minister of internal Affairs of great Britain. —) said that the priorities of the General government should be the completion of the single market and the beginning of the territorial expansion of the EU.
He’s declared intention in the near future to start negotiations on accession to the EU of Austria, Sweden and Finland. Association agreements with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, according to the Minister, should contribute to these countries ‘ accession to the EU in 2000. Thus, by the end of the twentieth century, the European Union could expand to 20 countries.
What is the Maastricht Treaty?
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 in the Netherlands. The agreement, which was signed by 12 countries that established the European Union. It entered into force on 1 November 1993.
The Treaty established a common monetary system that would govern the European Central Bank. From 1 January 1999, member countries of the EU was supposed to be a common currency — the Euro.
In addition, the participating countries of the agreement have approved the so-called Maastricht criteria, compliance with which would satisfy the conditions of entry into the European monetary Union:
- the state budget deficit does not exceed 3%;
- public debt does not exceed 60% of GDP;
- the state shall, within two years involved in the exchange-rate mechanism and supports the national currency;
- the rate of inflation does not exceed by more than 1.5% the average value of the three member countries of the European Union with the most stable prices;
- long-term interest rates on government bonds do not exceed more than 2% the average value of the respective rates in the countries with the lowest inflation.
The Maastricht Treaty is “a wise balance between ambition and prudence, idealism and pragmatism, solidarity and subsidiarity”, said Prime Minister of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, whose country currently holds the EU presidency. Speaking before the signing ceremony, he said that the agreement was “a political agreement, adapted to the present and projected for the future.” “This is not the final stage. Rather, it is the beginning of a new cycle,” he said.
Referring to the poorer members of the EU, he said that the southern countries are also pinning their hopes on the future of the community: “We can’t disappoint those who see the EU as a conduit for political and human values. It is very important that Europe was not confined to a simple trading partnership.”
The agreement on the establishment of the European Union, signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992
Photo: MARCEL VAN HOORN / ANP / AFP
Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, whose country chaired the EU in December 1991, when it was agreed the contract, said: “We have already passed the point of no return. The agreement is vital”. According to him, in recent years the European community has already shown itself to be an important player on the world stage.
The Minister of foreign Affairs of France Roland Dumas after signing the agreement said that the European Union, which is itself a source of wealth and a factor for peace, will become a center of attraction for countries that are located in the neighborhood with him. “By that I mean all the countries of Eastern Europe,” he said.
Talk about money — it is testing the most solid friendships. The controversy surrounding a new five-year spending plan of the European community will be no exception.
Globally, the costs of the European Union in 1993, are small 66 billion ECUs (European currency non-cash, in 1992 its rate was approximately us $1.3. — ) it is comparable to the GDP of Switzerland. The European Commission was convinced that this amount should increase by approximately 2.5% per year, by 1997 it should be around 87 billion ECU. Poorer southern States are hoping for additional funding that will allow them to reach the economic level of their richer partners.
France, Germany and the UK are the main donors of the EU budget. This means that each country pays into the EU budget more than it receives back in the form of grants and funding development programs. They insist that the total budget should not grow so fast and part of the funds can be saved, for example by reducing the costs of agriculture. This position can support the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Common agricultural policy eats up about 60% of EU spending. Around this situation, there is debate, however, possible reform of the EU agricultural policy will also require significant expenditure.
The European Union is the descendant of the cold war. Since the beginning of the common agricultural policy, the construction of a United Europe was in the shadow of super-power rivalry. European countries have banded together primarily for economic reasons — this is a direct consequence of the fact that the possible deprivation of their sovereignty in the field of defense or foreign policy was perceived by national elites as a threat to the existing world order.
But those days are in the past. Now with the economic integration of the country trying to launch a common political project, but is not very good. The worst is that the exchange-rate mechanism (European Exchange Rate Mechanism, ERM, was designed to stabilize national currencies. – ) and the common monetary policy is able to destroy built a house of cards.
The Maastricht Treaty represents another triumph of Economics over politics. The political Union envisaged in the agreement null and void, and Douglas Hurd were partly right, saying that the idea of the nation state is not threatened.
But was only partly right. Countries that have signed the agreement, effectively pulled the economic straitjacket in an attempt to bring the case to create a single currency zone from 1 January 1999. <…>
In Germany, the growing anxiety that after joining the EU the country will lose part of markets and get growing inflation, it is not surprising that the debate in the German Federal Bank on the validity of accession of the country became public. In the country fear that the tight monetary conditions of the agreement will result in the loss of the country’s positive trade balance. <…>
The main force of European integration must become an intra-European political and social alliances, its objectives — the achievement of minimum common goals in education, training, housing and environmental protection. The European States should be exempt from economic restrictions — only in this case they will be able to direct their funds to achieve those objectives.
The establishment of the Institute of European baccalaureate, which will allow any European student for a year to undergo training in any member country of the EU, will have a much bigger positive effect on the image of the EU than another decade the unemployment level of 10%. And certainly more than the introduction of a common currency.
No sooner had the leaders to put a signature under the Maastricht Treaty, the European community has already started discussions about how the future of the European Union.
The signing of the 189-page contract 12 member countries of the European Union was celebrated in Maastricht with bands, flags and champagne. The agreement, signed by the Ministers of Finance and foreign Affairs, designed to create a new superblock with a single currency market and single voice in the international arena. “This is a historic moment for more than 300 million inhabitants of the European community. We have passed the point of no return,” said the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers.
Thus, despite the fact that the agreement did manage to sign, the debate over what should represent the European Union, do not cease. European Commission President Jacques Delors made it clear that his vision for the future of the Union — a sort of United States of Europe with strong Central authorities. “I can say that a Federal structure is the only option that will allow us to work together to solve existing problems and safely implement the transfer of national sovereignty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UK, last year insisted on banning the use of the word “Federal” in the text of the Treaty, indicates a weak degree of co-operation in relations between EU members. The German Federal Bank on the day of signing of the contract once again stated their concerns about the refusal of Germany from a powerful brand in the common European money. Such statements suggests that a common European space is not yet a reality.
At least two countries — Ireland and Denmark — will hold national referendums to support the Maastricht Treaty by the people of their countries. Some of the poorer EU members, e.g. Spain, can also delay the process of approval of the provisions of the agreement in the national Parliament before the end of the negotiations on the future financing of the European Union. The debate on this bill could begin next week. European Commission President Jacques Delors has already promised to double aid to the poorest regions of the community over the next five years.
The Minister of foreign Affairs of Denmark Uffe Ellemann-Jensen called symbolic statement made on the day of signing of the contract by the Finnish President Mauno Koivisto, who recommended to his government to join the European Union. If Finland really applied for accession to the EU, it will join Sweden, Austria, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, which are already in the queue. According to herd, in 1995 in the EU may receive three to five new members.