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What is the Purpose of the European Union as a Financial Entity?

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As fundamental problems put a serious question mark to the feasibility of the European Union existing as a financial entity, many question its purpose and continued existence.

There is no question that the 1999 adoption of a single currency--designed to abolish barriers to trade between member nations and ultimately to result in stronger economic prosperity for all--has muddied the waters to what was until then a clean experiment in multinational “kumbaya.”

As troubles get seemingly more and more insurmountable, what will bind European nations together? Is there will among the richer (and more responsible countries), like Germany, to pick up the slack for the less disciplined (like Italy and Greece) looking to squat on the its deep pockets?

Two factors weigh on the likelihood of the commitment of the stronger EU members to push for the sustainability of the union: the avoidance of repeating history, i.e. the two world wars that ravaged the continent in early 20th century; and the promotion of regional stability amid epochal political change.

Skeptics would gain a better understanding on Germany's commitment to bet its strong economy on the health of the union by revisiting the continent's history, especially for the first half of the twentieth century. The nation carries over significant guilt over the destruction brought forth by two world wars which was the main culprit. Germany appears determined to put its pocket where its guilt is to ensure certain painful episodes of its past never have the smallest chance to appear again in the future. Tying interests in mutual stakes among former allies and enemies seems just the recipe to assure sustained peace.

The European Union's path to stability is a fresher argument to its importance. Far before the United States took on the role of spreading democracy to the freedom-lacking Middle East, the European Union was instrumental in assisting eventual member nations rid themselves of their own dictatorial pasts.

Another important wave is currently taking place in the world history in the shape of the Arab spring (and now, the Arab winter). Several nations are expected to emerge with new freedom, with a new need and newly-found will for guidance on where to go from where they are. The European Union's role as an educator and example on co-existence is as important as ever.

 

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