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In association with Bro Don Pearce (Rugby UK)  Keep up to date with Bro Don’s Snippets – Email Don at Snippets@MilestonesUK.org  Just put in the subject line ‘Snippets Request’ state if you would prefer word doc or pdf format. ( If not stated, both will be sent as samples so you can decide) It’s that easy!

Here is an EXTRACT from the latest Snippets…

Looking Back at Europe’s Last Big Overhaul

The Maastricht Treaty — which fundamentally defined European integration as it is understood today — was signed Feb. 7, 1992, in the Dutch city of the same name. It entered into force Nov. 1, 1993, and to this day stands as the most profound overhaul of the Continental bloc since its creation in 1957.

The treaty established the European Union and its three pillars: a community component by which member states cede national prerogatives to supranational institutions and two intergovernmental components under which national governments retain authority but must make decisions unanimously. The community pillar focuses mostly, but not entirely, on economic questions, while the two intergovernmental pillars focus on foreign policy, justice and home affairs.

The treaty also laid the foundations for the eurozone and introduced economic requirements for membership in the currency area. European citizenship, which is held alongside national citizenship, was also instituted, bestowing its holders with the right to move, reside, and work freely anywhere in the European Union, as well as the right to vote and to run for EU and municipal office.

The Maastricht Treaty is a product of its time. The collapse of communism and Germany’s reunification forced European leaders to reform the Continent politically and economically. The eurozone, for example, was constructed to bind countries more closely together — particularly Germany and France — in a political, financial and monetary union to reduce the chances of another war in Western Europe. Meanwhile, refigured European institutions would rejuvenate the bloc and attract new members from the former Soviet periphery.

Yet many of the treaty’s premises have been called into question over the past decade. Countries in Southern Europe have critiqued fiscal requirements, arguing they stifle growth during economic crises. Euroskeptic groups want their countries to leave the eurozone altogether, while others want to limit the ability of EU citizens to live and work freely within the bloc. In addition, many governments and political forces want to weaken Brussels’ control and give back many decision-making powers to national governments. 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, but it is also the year when many of the document’s principles will be challenged. Nationalist political forces are preparing for general elections across the European Union, vowing to reform, or even abolish, many of Europe’s institutions if they win.

 

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