"The recent introduction of a common currency, i.e. the euro in twelve member states of the European union has been a significant move towards their integration. Consider the pros and cons of such a development."

From a historical point of view, Europe is in a process of unprecedented integration on both an economic and a political level. Far from being clear per se, the European vision seems to be on the verge of its fulfilment. None the less, the implications of the aforementioned statement have yet to be analysed.In the first place, the common legal tender along with harmonised fiscal and especially taxation policies are hoped to encourage free trade links between different member states and promote healthy competition to the advantage of consumers. Goods and services across the euro-zone are expected to be available at relatively affordable prices, for commissions paid to banks for exchange will no longer be required and excise as well as customs duties tend to be curtailed or even altogether abolished. In parallel, possible purchasers have the chance to compare prices instantly from country to country.To continue, reliable financial institutions, such as the Central European Bank, could safeguard stability and sustained growth by effectively controlling interest rates. In the long run, per capita income and living standards in general will be raised. Hence, the peril of recessions may be stove off.However, along with the benefits come the risks and costs, Eurosceptics warn. For instance, less privileged countries with poor infrastructure and small-scale entrepreneurs lacking substantial funds will not be able to catch up with their more developed counterparts and be competitive enough; therefore, they are bound to stagnate. Likewise, no country will be eligible to devalue its currency in order to boost exports and enhance home development. Moreover, the creation and maintenance of an immense, supranational state will pose a heavy burden on taxpayers.Having said this, if national governments decide to relinquish more power to a body of Eurocrats, the democratic accountability of the EU as a whole might be disputed. Secondly, surrendering sovereignty and the right of veto would lead to negligence of particular national interests, since, as experience has shown thus far, larger ethnic groups mostly sideline minorities in a same state. In corroboration of the above, it would be irrational to presume that all EU residents should be levelled regardless of their cultural background and assume that there is a panacea for all the ills of the population irrespective of its diversity.Incidentally, one cannot but notice a paradoxically inverse trend when it comes to the behaviour of certain EU nationals towards other people whose countries do not happen to belong to the EU no matter whether they are part of Europe or not. On sundry occasions, some otherwise fervent supporters of globalisation become perfect segregationists, envisaging a vast European republican oligarchy, as it were, whereby only the ones fortunate enough to have been born in a developed country or one that joined the EU on time are fully entitled to civil liberties whereas everyone else is deemed to be a second-class citizen. On an official level, this tendency manifests itself through prohibitive legislation and bureaucracy as regards groups of people, like asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. On the other hand, ordinary people exhibit regrettable signs of racism or xenophobia.On the brighter side, a strong EU can well be an ideal haven for employment, innovation, culture, security, environmentalism, social justice and many more. More specifically, the dissemination of information on the job market throughout Europe will probably create new career opportunities. Similarly, sharing standardised patterns in technology, science or education will result in important improvements in these sectors at a quick pace. Nevertheless, cultivating Europe’s rich as well as diverse heritage will help Europeans come to terms with each other and promote friendship and understanding internationally. What is more, the co-operation of national authorities in fighting crime (for example, drug trafficking or terrorism) may prove salutary to the public as long as individual freedom is guaranteed. Added to that, protecting the environment and combating pollution are two objectives that could better be achieved on condition that drastic measures are taken and applied internationally rather than locally. Last but not least, EU citizens will enjoy equality before the law. To illustrate this, if Britons have the right to access a private university, so have Greeks, as everyone is to be treated on an egalitarian basis. Besides, citizens will no longer be exposed to state arbitrariness without being able to appeal to a court of human rights upon which the government they sue cannot exercise any pressure.In the final analysis, the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. The EU can establish long-term peace and development for its member states. At the same time, prosperity can be combined with genuine democratic institutions and international co-operation. To that end, it would be advisable for EU enlargement to take place soon. Also, successful types of government in multinational states, like Belgium or Switzerland ought to be emulated in a spirit of open-mindedness, tolerance and respect for cultural diversity. The introduction of referendums on essential issues, for instance, would consolidate future decisions. In any case, it has to be remembered that even the best ideas cannot succeed when they are imposed on people. -