The European Union was created to unite Europe after experiences with World War I and World War II. European citizens faced the extreme destruction and violence brought on by the wars. The European Union wanted to bring citizens of Europe together to create a common friendship and bond economically, politically and culturally. However, the European Union has not really accomplished its goal in uniting Europe, but has really caused more division among European countries.
Economic Division of the E.U.
The European Union has divided Europe economically. There is a huge division between Eastern and Western Europe. Mostly, because Western Europe has higher wages and higher living costs than Eastern Europe. The “battle” of capitalism and communism during the Cold War era made the division. The western nations under capitalism were more efficient economically than the eastern nations under communism. The other huge division economically in Europe is which countries joined the euro zone. Not all E.U. countries joined the euro zone. For example, countries like United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark use their own currency even though they are E.U. countries. The E.U. only allows countries with stable economies to join the euro zone. But, United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden didn't join the euro zone by choice, even though they have stable economies. The wealth gap and the euro dilemma make countries cautious about the E.U.
Cultural Division of the E.U.
Not only has the European Union divided Europe economically; it has also divided Europe culturally. The big cultural division of Europe from the E.U. is the communication. With 27 different countries in the E.U. and more than 20 languages in Europe; there must be translation for everyone. For example, the E.U. printed 2 million papers for translation in 2008 alone. The other major cultural division of Europe from the E.U. is each country's daily life. For example, a tradition in Spain is bullfighting. The E.U. does not agree with this sport, though. But, this sport is a custom Spain has taken part in throughout the culture's history. The communication problem and each country's various customs and traditions have caused a huge division culturally in Europe.
Some social scientists might believe that the European Union has actually united Europe because the E.U. lets citizens of the E.U. live and work anywhere in the E.U. However, there are so many different nations and people that lead to less cooperation. There are 294 million people within 27 countries in the E.U. The complete difference of people and nations divides Europe more than it unites it. Again, even though the E.U. allows travel throughout it, it doesn't matter. This does not solve the problem with languages and cultural differences on terms of tradition and customs, mentioned earlier. The travel makes no sense if they can't communicate or if the citizens don't see themselves alike. This is a huge factor that divides Europe.
No doubt about it, the European Union has failed completely, leaving Europe completely divided. Europe is now divided economically, culturally and politically. The E.U has not served its purpose of uniting Europe.
Jake Walters is a sixth-grader at LaRue County Middle School in Jim B. Phelps’ social studies class. He is the son of Tom and Kristen Walters. His favorite subject is math and he enjoys playing and watching sports and hunting.