The Success of the European Union – Part 2
Part two into our exploration into the successes of the European Union looks at how it won a Nobel Peace Prize, also how it banished the death penalty and how a million-ton butter mountain suddenly appeared. In the previous blog of the successes of the European Union we looked at how the Union gave freedom to half a billion people and how it created one of the world’s biggest markets.
The Nobel Peace Prize
In 2012 the EU was honored by the Nobel committee for its commitment to the prospering of peace, democracy, reconciliation and human rights over a sixty-year period in Europe. To join the European Union three criteria must be met:
- Legal – accepting all EU laws and practices
- Political – stable government with strong institutions aimed at democracy
- Economic – to have a market economy that functions correctly
These three criteria changed a number of former dictatorships and previous failing ex-communist states into peaceful successful states. This is the reason why the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Banishment of the Death Penalty
A milestone arrived in 1983, when the European Convention on Human Rights had an update, which ended the death penalty. The EU played an important role in the formation of this ban within Europe. No country is allowed to join the EU unless it has first banished capital punishment.
The Big Butter Mountain
When the European Union unleashed the Common Agricultural Policy it let loose a highly contentious policy that was extremely difficult to put into practice successfully. The basic premise of this policy was to guarantee minimum levels of production. The idea behind this is that there will always be enough food for the population of the EU. The EU guaranteed subsidies and prices for goods for struggling farmers, what it achieved was an over production of many goods such as wine and butter. Great lakes and mountains of excess produce were left to rot and poor farmers outside the EU simply could not compete. This was not so much a great success as a failed attempt to help farmers and the community as a whole, but the intentions of the policy were for the good.
Today the European Union has the largest active program of environmental legislation on the globe. Which includes wide reaching standards for swimming water, which in turn made communities tackle their own sewage problems at beach resorts. The EU has a powerful voice in global terms of trying to reduce many global environmental problems such as climate change, reducing emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy. As one large voice and not twenty-eight individual small ones, the EU has been able to establish the first carbon market, and has cut through much red tape in climate negotiations with countries outside the Union.
Whether you are a fan of the EU, and if you agree with all its policies, there is no doubt that the European Union has been a success in many areas it set out to achieve. Because of the complexity of what it is trying to achieve it will never be 100% completely correct but that is a small price to pay for the overall good.