The European Union is a supranational government body that is, by definition, changing the traditional role of the nation state and sovereignty in Europe. This Union was formed voluntarily by states with similar goals and is unique in its conception and design to the European continent. Although The EU (European Union) is strengthening Europe economically and politically the states that form it have surrendered considerable amounts of their national sovereignty.
The meaning of sovereignty has evolved over time; however, today there are several clear characteristics that define the concept of sovereignty in relation to the nation state. A sovereign state is defined by its autonomy and independence from foreign powers. Sovereign states have well defined borders and have the power to control, in principal, the amount of goods and people that enter and exit it’s territory. The citizens of such a state have the ability to choose a form of government without foreign interference. A sovereign state and its government are also able to set and conduct domestic and economic policy free from external intervention. These qualities are the main factors that define a sovereign state and its capabilities.
The European states, which have joined the EU voluntarily, forfeited some of these aspects of sovereignty with the goal of creating a stronger more unified Europe. These countries have established a supranational government consisting of several bodies. The European Parliament, the Council Of The European Union, and The European Commission make up the governing forces behind the Union. In addition to these bodies are the European Court of Justice and the Central Bank of Europe. Each state delegates certain amounts of power to the EU central government and thereby surrenders a portion of its sovereignty. As member states they have accepted to open their borders completely to travel and trade coming from within the Union. The majority of the member states have adopted a single currency that is managed and issued by the Central Bank of Europe. The Bank also manages monetary policy for these states. International trade guidelines for the Union’s members are decided on a European level. These are just some of the ways in which these countries have ceded portions of their sovereignty to the EU.
The ability to take such self-limiting steps is unique to Europe. Due to several factors that lie in the history of the European experience as well as certain conditions that existed in Europe during to twentieth century, the EU states were able and willing to commit to a supranational government structure whereas other states in other regions of the world could not and would not do so. The concept of European integration into one all encompassing force can be traced back to ancient Rome. The founders of the EU actually chose Rome as the...