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Chapter one

History of the European Union[/vc_column_text][vc_accordion active_tab= »false » collapsible= »yes »][vc_accordion_tab title= »Part 1″][vc_column_text]

Part 1 – information

The origins of the European Union

The aftermath of World War II saw the creation of many international organizations. Established as a remedy to the countless European wars that extreme nationalism had provoked, these organizations sought to improve international relations in a number of different fields. For example, in the area of foreign affairs the United Nations (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were established. Concerning economic matters the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Economic Community (EEC) were created. Finally, in the social field the Council of Europe sought to ensure the respect of human rights through the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 1950.

The countries of Western Europe in particular realized the need for transnational cooperation; not only to avoid future wars between them but also to ensure Europe’s economic and political survival. It should be recalled that by the end of World War II (WW II) the United Kingdom (UK) was nearly bankrupt, Germany was destroyed, France and Italy were no longer economic powers and Spain and Portugal were isolated dictatorships. Further, Central and Eastern Europe now formed part of the Communist bloc. Thus the former great powers of Europe seemed spent. Post World War II, the world was divided into two main political blocks: the United States; and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was in this context that the nations of Western Europe realized that they would have to come together if they were to have the necessary political and economic clout to rival these new powers. The later arrival of Japan as a major economic power only served to reinforce this view.

With the exception of the Council of Europe the process of European integration has mainly occurred in the context of either the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Indeed, to a large extent, European integration can be considered a competition between the respective integration ideologies of these two organizations: the EU methodology involving a partial surrender of national sovereignty creating a truly integrated pan-European supranational organization; and the EFTA approach seeking a less intrusive form of integration based upon intergovernmental cooperation and no real surrender of sovereignty.

The first steps toward union in Europe

As a first step toward integration, the European nations first sought to prevent future European wars through the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). By the end of the 1940s, the Allied powers had begun to withdraw their troops from Germany and as part of this process the coal and steel industries of the German Ruhr valley were to be returned to German control. As coal and steel were the basic ingredients of war many European states were nervous at this prospect. To overcome this, it was proposed to bring the national coal and steel industries of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg under common control. This was achieved by the European Coal and Steel Treaty, also referred to as the Treaty of Paris or ECST, signed in 1951 coming into effect in 1952. Thereafter, in 1957 it was decided to integrate the economies of these states and the European Economic Community Treaty (also referred to as the Treaty of Rome or EEC Treaty) was signed establishing the European Economic Community (EEC).

From the outset, the United Kingdom (UK) chose not to participate in this process as it shared different post WW II geopolitical priorities to the countries of continental Europe. The UK was still at the head of its own crumbling empire, the Commonwealth and thus was less involved in the immediate concerns of post-war Europe. Moreover, as a common law country with its own specific social model, the UK instead sought to reinforce cooperation between it and the United States of America (USA) developing what it sometimes calls the special relationship. This divergence was also underwritten by centuries of animosity between France and the UK and conflicting opinions as to the form future European integration should take. Whilst France and other continental European countries proposed real integration between their national economies, an actual partial pooling of their economic and political sovereignty in pan-national European institutions, the UK preferred an intergovernmental model of integration based primarily upon cooperation and no surrender of sovereignty. Thus, when France and Germany, inspired by the success of the Benelux Economic Union1 decided to create the EEC in 1957, the United Kingdom chose not to participate and instead proposed the creation of an alternative organization, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Different models of European integration

The significance of the newly created EEC was twofold:

  • firstly, it involved a partial transfer of national sovereignty from the individual member states to the newly created Community; and

  • secondly, it provided for separate institutions in which the partially transferred national sovereignty would be vested.

Amended on a number of occasions, the EEC Treaty has now been succeeded by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The scope of the Treaty was very wide establishing common European policies in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, transport etc. Moreover, it established an internal market providing for freedom of movement in the areas of goods, workers, services and capital. Finally, the Treaty established a competition policy based largely on the provisions of the US Sherman Act, 1890 prohibiting amongst other things monopolization and the abuse of dominance by undertakings in a dominant position. The EEC created a complex institutional structure governed by the European Commission, which partly plays the role of an executive branch, a Council and an Assembly responsible for the adoption of legislation and a court to apply its laws2.

However, as we have seen the EEC was not the only attempt at inter-state cooperation that was occurring in Europe at that time. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe coming within the influence of former USSR had already created the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) to promote economic cooperation between them and shortly after the creation of the EEC, EFTA was created at the initiative of the United Kingdom (UK) pursuant to the Stockholm Convention of 1960.

Made up of non-EEC fringe or periphery3 Western European economies4, EFTA created a free trade area between its member states more limited in scope than the EEC single market5. Applying only to trade in industrial goods it involved a minimal surrender of national sovereignty and each of the member states retained a right of veto as regards the adoption of EFTA rules. Moreover, institutionally EFTA was also far less ambitious than the EEC, being governed by only one institution, the EFTA Council. To a certain extent it can be said that EFTA turned out to be less successful than its EEC counterpart and only two years after its creation the UK was already seeking membership of the EEC. Eventually, and only after a protracted struggle the EEC decided to allow the UK, Denmark and Ireland join the Community in 1973. Thereafter, Greece Portugal and Spain joined6 and in the 1990s many of the remaining EFTA members followed suit7. At the turn of the century many of the former COMECON countries8, no longer under Soviet influence also joined the organization. Thus, the EEC was clearly the most successful of the European integration models established after WW II.

The creation of the European Union

In 1992 following the adoption of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) the European Union was created. The activity of the former EEC was incorporated into the newly created European Union and the scope of the new organization was extended beyond economic matters to cooperation in two new areas of activity: foreign affairs and security policy; and justice and home affairs. The TEU also changed the name of the EEC to the European Community (EC).

Thereafter, a number of further treaties were adopted by the member states9 before a new consolidating constitutional treaty was proposed in 2004. However, during the adoption process the citizens of France, the Netherlands and Ireland rejected the proposed treaty. In its place, the Lisbon Treaty was adopted allowing for the establishment of an institutional framework sufficiently flexible to facilitate a European Union made up of twenty-eight member states10. Significant amendments introduced by the Lisbon Treaty include the:

  • conferring of a legal personality on the European Union;

  • alteration of the process providing for the amendment of Treaties in the future;

  • introduction of the possibility of member states leaving the Union;

  • expansion of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice;

  • the suppression of the EC, which is now an integral part of the EU and the rebranding of the EC Treaty as the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Monetary Union

Shortly after the creation of the European Union in 1992 and pursuant to the provisions of the TEU some of the member states established monetary union creating a common currency between them named the Euro11. Although initially successful, the currency fell victim to the diverging economic conditions in place in each of its member states. Not applicable to all the member states, the Euro probably represents the point of no return as regards the establishment of a two-speed Europe; a situation not unlike that in the late 1950s when the EEC and EFTA proposed two competing models of European integration. Once again, although perhaps without the enthusiasm of the past, the German French axis is at the heart of promoting increased European integration. Presumably, as in the past, the remaining non-participating member states (for the most part the former EFTA and COMECON states) will eventually participate should the increased integration prove successful.


Aftermath : conséquences / suites (idée de cause à effet)

Remedy : remède

Countless : innombrable

Provoke (to) : provoquer / engendrer

Improve (to) : améliorer / développer

Field : terrain /domaine

United Nations : organisation des Nations-Unies

North Atlantic Treaty Organization : Traité de l’Organisation de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN)

General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs : G.A.T.T. désormais partie intégrante de l’organisation mondiale du commerce

International Monetary Fund : Fond monétaire international

European Economic Community : Communauté européenne économique

Council of Europe : Conseil de l’Europe

Seek (to) (sought : chercher à

European Convention on Human Rights : Convention européenne de sauvegarde des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales

Transnational cooperation : coopération transnationale

Avoid (to) : éviter

Ensure (to) : assurer / garantir

Survival : survie

World War II : seconde Guerre mondiale

Bankruptcy : faillite / ruine

Isolated dictatorship : dictatures isolées

Communist Bloc : bloc de l’est

Spent : épuisé (être)

Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics : Union des Républiques socialistes soviétiques (U.R.S.S)

Clout : influence / poids

Rival (to) : rivaliser

Reinforce (to) : renforcer

European Free Trade Association : Association européenne de libre échange

Integration ideologies : idéologies intégrationnistes

Truly : véritablement

Intrusive : intrusive (au sens d’une intégration moins complète)

Intergovernmental cooperation : coopération intergouvernementale

European Coal and Steel Community : Communauté européenne de l’acier et du charbon

Withdraw (to) : retirer

Ruhr valley : Vallée de la Ruhr

Ingredients : Ingrédients

Overcome (to) : surmonter / vaincre / venir à bout de

Come (to) into effect : entrer en vigueur

European Economic Community : Communauté économique européenne

From the outset : dès le début

At the head : à la tête

Crumbling empire : Empire éclaté (en voie de disparition)

The Commonwealth : le Commonwealth

Common law country : Pays de Common law

Social model : modèle social

Divergence : divergence

Animosity : animosité

Conflicting opinions : avis divergents / dissidents / conflictuels

Whilst : tandis que / alors que

Propose (to) : proposer

Real integration : réelle intégration

Partial : partiel

Pool (to) (pooling) : mettre en commun / grouper

Pan-national : pan-national (supranational)

Intergovernmental : intergouvernemental

Inspire (to) : inspirer

Create (to) : créer

Transfer (to) : transférer

Vest (to) : assigner à (syn. dévolu)

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union : Traité sur le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne (TFUE)

Goods : marchandises

Services : services

Capital : capital / capitaux

Competition policy : politique de concurrence

Base (to) (something on something): être basé sur / fondé sur (ici, au sens d’être inspiré de)

European Commission : Commission européenne

Council of the European Union : Conseil de l’Union européenne

Assembly/European Parliament : Assemblée / Parlement européen

Council for Mutual Economic Assistance : Conseil d’assistance économique mutuelle

Stockholm Convention, 1960 : Convention de Stockholm de 1960 (instituant l’Association européenne de libre échange ou “A.E.L.E.”)

Fringe : en marge

Periphery : périphérie

Scope : portée / étendue (ici, au sens de compétences d’attribution)

Trade : échange

Right of veto : droit de veto

As regards : concernant

Moreover : de plus

Counterpart : équivalent / homologue

Follow (to) suit : emboiter le pas / suivre

At the turn of the century : au cours de la fin du siècle

Treaty on European Union : Traité sur l’Union européenne

European Union : Union européenne

Justice and home affairs : justice et affaires intérieures (JAI)

Framework : cadre

Sufficiently flexible : suffisamment flexible /souple

Facilitate (to) : faciliter

Fall victim (to) : être victime

Diverging : divergente

Economic convergence : convergence économique

The point of no return : le point de non-retour

Two-speed Europe : Europe à deux vitesses

Competing models : modèles concurrents

Axis : axe

At the heart : au cœur


1. Definitions

Write a sentence explaining each of the following – one sentence per term

  1. Council of Europe

  2. European Free Trade Association

  3. Intergovernmental cooperation

  4. Right of veto

  5. Two-speed Europe

  6. Social model

  7. Bankruptcy

2. Sentences

Write sentences with the following pairs of words. Your sentence should if possible demonstrate your knowledge of the relationship between the words

  1. Two-speed Europe/monetary union

  2. Social model/European integration

  3. Periphery countries/European Free Trade Association

  4. European Commission/Council of the European Union

  5. Commonwealth/United Kingdom

  6. Lisbon Treaty/Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

  7. Competition policy/partner

3. Fill in the missing words

Fill in the missing words using the vocabulary in Text 2

  1. Membership of the European Union involves a partial ______ of sovereignty from ______ to the organization.

  2. The ______ is the body responsible for the adoption and application of the European Convention on Human Rights adopted in ______.

  3. The function of EU competition policy is to prevent companies in a ______ position from ______ their market strength.

  4. The European Free Trade Association was dominated by the ______ countries of Western Europe and was established pursuant to the ______ in 1960.

  5. The creation of the European Union extended European cooperation to areas such as _____ and ______ affairs.

4. Knowledge test

The following questions may be answered in writing or by way of discussion

  1. Is real integration between Europe’s economies possible in your opinion?

  2. Why is it do you think that the EEC and later EU was more successful than EFTA?

  3. Is future European integration dependent on the official acceptance of a two-speed Europe?

  4. Do you believe that over time increased European integration is inevitable?

Answers Chapter 1 – Part I – Text 2 – Exercise 3

a) Transfer, member states. b) Council of Europe, 1950. c) Dominant, abusing. d) Periphery, Stockholm Convention. e) Security, justice and home.


1 Created a number of years earlier by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg establishing a common economic area between their three economies.

2 The Assembly was later to become the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers became the Council of the European Union; and the Court became the Court of the Justice of the European Union. The institutions established under the European Coal and Steel Treaty merged with those of the European Economic Community.

3 Periphery or fringe as they were with the exception of Switzerland and Liechtenstein located geographically at the periphery of Europe and also referred to as fringe or periphery counties because they were also frequently at the edge or outside of political events, countries such as Switzerland prioritizing neutrality.

4 Founding EFTA members were United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Sweden.

5 The free trade area created under EFTA did not involve a customs union as was the case under the EEC single market. At first the EEC single market was referred to as the common market, then the internal market before finally being called the single market.

6 Greece joined in 1981; Spain and Portugal in 1986.

7 Austria, Sweden, Finland in 1995. The remaining EFTA members are Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Previously, EFTA countries had signed the European Economic Area Agreement whereby they acceded to the EC Single Market.

8 Czech Rep. Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta Cyprus in 2004; Romania, Bulgaria in 2007.

9 Amsterdam Treaty and Nice Treaty, see discussion in Chapter 2.

10 To avoid rejection by their national populations, the member states with the exception of Ireland adopted the Lisbon Treaty at national parliament level. Given the choice, the Irish duly voted against the Treaty and were immediately “instructed” to vote again and in the context of the economic meltdown of their economy finally voted in favour of the Treaty (European democracy in action!).

11 Germany, France, Italy, Benelux countries, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland.

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Part 2 – Quick look grammar revision – tips and hints


It is very important in English to know when you should use a capital letter and when you should not.

When should words be capitalized?

As a general rule, the following words should be capitalized.

  1. The first word of a sentence.

Example: Every day John is working harder and harder. He was very cross because he wanted to see the managing partner and he was not allowed to.

  1. The names of people.

Example: I met Frank Abrams, the new client I was talking to you about.

  1. Titles with the names of people.

Example: I saw Dr. Smith yesterday. Is he a doctor of medicine or a doctor of law?

Note: doctor is not capitalized in the second sentence, as it is not used with the name of someone.

  1. Months, days of the week and holidays.

Example: I met the client during December, on a Tuesday, I think. It was Christmas Day.

Note: seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) are not capitalized.

  1. The names of places, streets, cities, states, countries, oceans, rivers, lakes, deserts, mountains.

Example: I live in 68 Griffin Crescent, Chicago, Illinois, in the United States of America. I have sailed on the Pacific Ocean, the Danube River and Lake Erie. I have visited the Sahara Desert and climbed Mount Everest and then went to the Far East.


I crossed the desert/ I crossed the Sahara Desert. I live in a city/ I live in New York City. I climbed the mountain/I climbed Mont Blanc.


I travelled east and then travelled west/ I travelled to the Far East and then to Western Europe



  1. The names of schools/universities, businesses, parks, buildings.

Example: I went to Harvard University and later got a job with the law firm of Hammond and Hammond, the offices of which were located in Trump Tower, opposite Central Park.


I went to university/ I went to Yale University. I got a job with a law firm the offices of which are in a skyscraper opposite the park/ the offices of which are in a skyscraper opposite St. James’s Park.


  1. The names of courses, for example at university.

Example: I am studying Company Law.


I like the area of company law and so decided to take a course entitled Company Law for Lawyers.


  1. The names of languages and nationalities.

Example: He speaks perfect English even though he is American!

  1. The names of religions.

Example: He is a Buddhist monk now, but he was born a Catholic.

Part 2 – Grammar Exercises

1. Capitalization test

Add capital letters where necessary

  1. the law firm where i work is very relaxed; every friday there is a dress down1 day.

  2. do you know frank smith? He is a partner in strawberry & fields, the well-known law firm.

  3. professor smith was appointed of counsel in fake & blake solicitors. he is from boston.

  4. the danube river flows into the atlantic ocean or is it the black sea, or maybe it is some other ocean?

  5. alaska is just north of canada, and sao paulo is in south america, not far from antarctica.

  6. dr smith was called to help a passenger on the plane to new york city but he could not do anything because he is a doctor of law.

  7. canada is an english speaking country but many people there speak french.

  8. frank had a business meeting in the plaza building in chicago; it is located in the south of the city.

  9. james had a meeting in bermuda. it was the wettest july in history and he had a cold when he returned to london city airport.

Answers Chapter 1 – Part 2 – Exercise 1

a) The, I, Friday. b) Do, Frank Smith, Strawberry Fields. c) Professor Smith, Fake & Blake Solicitors, He, Boston. d) The, Danube, Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea. e) Alaska, Canada, Sao Paulo, South America, Antarctica. f) Dr. Smith, New York City. g) Canada, English, French. h) Frank, Plaza Building, Chicago. i) James, Bermuda, It, July, London City Airport.


1 Some firms have dress-down days during which it is not necessary to wear a suit and tie at work.

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Part 3 – audio and Oral – listening and speaking



Listen to the following conversation, make notes of all the relevant facts and then answer the questions below. If you have trouble understanding, follow the conversation while also reading the text.

Discussion between Professor Bob and his student James

James: “Hi Professor, I’m here for my four o’clock appointment. Remember you were going to explain to me how the European Union functions.”

Professor Bob: “Ah yes, so I was, come in James and please take a seat. So what is it you want to know?”

James: “Well I want to understand what is the European Union exactly. I mean is it a country or is it just another international organization?”

Professor Bob: “It is a bit of both I guess. It is certainly more than an international organization and yet the European Union is certainly not a country. Yes it has a flag, an anthem of sorts and its own currency, and so it has many of the attributes of a country.”

James: “But that’s my point exactly; in reality it’s just like a country.”

Professor Bob: “Yes, but the majority of European citizens continue to think of themselves in national terms. Moreover, the Union does not have any tax raising powers of its own. The money that it spends is given to it by the member states. However, although EU law takes precedence over national law, the scope of EU law is limited and so many areas are still governed by way of national legislation, for example tax policy. Finally, the European Union does not have its own foreign policy and does not have the power to declare war; rather it seeks to coordinate the independent foreign policy of each of its twenty-eight member states and believe me, it is not easy.”

James: “Why?”

Professor Bob: “Because different member states have different priorities. The United Kingdom claims to have a special relationship with the United States, whilst France and Germany certainly do not. The interests of the Baltic Republics are obviously very different to the concerns of the Greeks.”

James: “Is there a European army?”

Professor Bob: “Not yet but the French, British and Germans are beginning to pool their resources a little and over time you can expect to see the development of a European army of some kind. However, member states such as Sweden and Ireland, which are traditionally neutral will probably not want to participate in any such developments.”

James: “So it is possible for a member state to choose the European projects in which it wishes to participate?”

Professor Bob: “In principle no, but certain member states have negotiated opt outs for certain activities, such as the euro or the Schengen Agreement. Normally, this is not allowed but sometimes because of a member state’s special circumstances an exception may be made. When this occurs, the situation is referred to as a two-speed Europe.”

James: “Oh OK …. And is it the intention of the European Union to become a unified state?”

Professor Bob: “Well, that is a tough question to answer. Some member states have not hidden their desire for ever-closer union. States such as France and Germany are committed to some form of European Union I believe. However, other states such as the United Kingdom or Denmark are more Eurosceptic1 and probably want to see a union of nation states, where national governments retain sovereignty.”

James: “Are you a Eurosceptic?”

Professor Bob: “I wouldn’t say that I am a eurosceptic but I don’t believe in Union just for the sake of it. Obviously, European countries need to group together if they are to influence events in the world and survive economically. However, there probably are also benefits for each of the states retaining some independence. Certainly, there should be no Union unless national voters are committed to the program.”

James: “So what will happen here in the United Kingdom?”

Professor Bob: “I think that United Kingdom citizens will continue to think of themselves as separate from other Europeans and will probably continue to look toward the United States. Culturally and linguistically the two countries are natural allies. However, I also believe that over time, the differences between the United Kingdom and the US on social and economic questions, which are already present, may become greater. If this occurs, the United Kingdom may have no choice but to throw its lot in with Europe.”

James: “Can you tell me, what does the European Union do?”

Professor Bob: “Oh it does an awful lot; I could not begin to explain all that it does. Well for example it has established the largest trading block in the world made up of twenty-eight different member states. Consequently, a UK firm producing goods in Scotland can market and sell those goods in any one of the other member states, without the imposition of any charges or customs duties. There is a common transport policy promoting the creation of high-speed traffic links between each of the member states. The Schengen Area has been created allowing for free movement of people throughout most of the member states. Legislation has been harmonized in many areas ensuring better protection for employees, the environment, children etc. In fact, the list is nearly endless …”

James: “So the European Union is a good thing?”

Professor Bob: “Yes, it probably is.”

James: “Why is it that people do not like it?”

Professor Bob: “It is not necessarily a question of good and bad. A lot of it has to do with people’s preference. Europe’s past history is founded upon patriotism and centuries of nationalist propaganda. Thus it is natural that some people retain a patriotic stance; moreover, there are the recurrent fears of big government and big business high-jacking the integration process.”

James: “Are not people justified in being afraid that big business and big government will take over the world?”

Professor Bob: “But James, maybe they already have!”

James: “And do you think that as time passes people will probably become more European in their thinking, in the way they see themselves?”

Professor Bob: “Yes, probably and as they begin to cooperate, they will begin to see that their supposed enemies were not their enemies at all. For example, it is now difficult to imagine the French and the Germans going to war, yet prior to the creation of the European Union, they were constantly at war and worse dragged the rest of the world into their disputes. Perhaps the biggest success of the European Union is the relative peace it has brought to Western Europe.”

James: “Thanks Professor Bob, you have cleared up a lot of issues for me.”

Professor Bob: “My pleasure James. Don’t forget to shut the door on the way out.”

Part 3 – Audio Comprehension – Exercises

1. Comprehension

From the notes you have taken of the conversation, answer the following questions

  1. Name some of the things that in Professor Bob’s opinion the European Union has accomplished.

  2. What examples of a two-speed Europe does Professor Bob give?

  3. What is the biggest success of the European Union in Professor Bob’s point of view?

  4. What states does Professor Bob identify as being Eurosceptic?

  5. Does Professor Bob say that there is a European Army?

  6. What are the reasons that Professor Bob gives for justifying his conclusion that the European Union is not a state?

2. Speaking practice

In the following series of conversation couplets, develop suitable responses to the questions asked

  1. Professor Bob: “So can you name any successful programs carried out by the European Union?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Do taxation and fiscal policy come within the competence of the European Union?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What do you think has been the European Union’s biggest success?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Why do you think some member states and their citizens are Eurosceptic?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What does the term Single Market mean exactly?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What do we mean when we talk about a two speed Europe and could you give me an example?”

  1. Professor Bob: “Is there likely to be a European Army in the future?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Is the European Union a country or an international organization?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Can the European Union raise its own taxes?”

James: “______.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Does the European Union have its own flag? If yes, what is it like?”

James: “______.”

3. Speaking practice continued ……

Create five other conversation couplets, using in each couplet at least one word from the vocabulary found in Part 1, Text 1 and Text 2.

4. Speaking practice continued ……

Listen to the suggested replies and repeat

  1. Professor Bob: “So can you name any successful programs carried out by the European Union?”

James: “Yes, for example the Single Market program or the development of the Schengen Area.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Do taxation and fiscal policy come within the competence of the European Union?”

James: “No, the European Union does not have its own power of taxation.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What do you think has been the European Union’s biggest success?”

James: “Well, perhaps the greatest success of the European Union is that it has led to peace between European countries.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Why do you think some member states and their citizens are Eurosceptic?”

James: “I guess that they do not want to share their national sovereignty with other states.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What does the term Single Market mean exactly?”

James: “I guess a single market is a zone in which goods, workers, services and capital can move freely between states.”

  1. Professor Bob: “What do we mean when we talk about a two-speed Europe and could you give me an example?”

James: “A two speed Europe refers to the phenomenon whereby some member states choose to integrate more closely.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Is there likely to be a European Army in the future?”

James: “Probably in some form or other, although it is likely that some member states such as Ireland and Sweden will choose not to participate.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Is the European Union a country or an international organization?”

James: “You could say it has characteristics of each. For example, although it has a flag and an anthem, it does not have many of the powers normally enjoyed by an independent country or state.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Can the European Union raise its own taxes?”

James: “No, it receives its revenue from the member states.”

  1. Professor Bob: “Does the European Union have its own flag? If yes, what is it like?”

James: “Yes, there is a European Union flag; it is blue with twelve yellow stars forming a circle.”

5. Associated questions

Discuss the following questions

  1. Why do you think independent European states decided to create the European Union? What advantages does such an organization bring to its member states?

  2. Why have Eurosceptic European Union member states such as the United Kingdom remained in the organization?

  3. Do you believe that the European Union will eventually evolve into a separate state like the United States of America?

  4. Do you think the European Union is a good thing? Should South American or Asian countries seek to establish the same type of organization?

1 Eurosceptic is the name given to people who do not believe that European integration is a good thing.

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Part 4 – Translation exercises

When carrying out the translations it is not necessary to translate directly word for word; rather the emphasis should be on translating the sense of the text. English and French are not directly interchangeable and so direct translations do not always convey the meaning in the text.

Translate the following texts from English to French

A. Speech by Winston Churchill, Zurich University, 19 September 1946

« I wish to speak to you today about the tragedy of Europe. (…). However, there is a remedy which, if it were generally and spontaneously adopted by the great majority of people in many lands, would as if by a miracle transform the whole scene, and would in a few years make all Europe, or the greater part of it, as free and as happy as Switzerland is today. What is this sovereign remedy? It is to recreate the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe. (…) The first step in the recreation of the European family must be a partnership between France and Germany. »

A .Discours de Winston Churchill, Université de Zurich, 19 septembre 1946.

J’aimerai aujourd’hui vous parler de la tragédie de l’Europe. (…). Cependant, il existe un remède qui, s’il était généralement et spontanément adopté par une grande majorité des personnes dans de nombreux Etats, transformerait comme par miracle toute la scène et rendrait, en quelques années, toute ou partie substantielle de l’Europe aussi heureuse et libre que l’est la Suisse aujourd’hui. Quel est ce remède souverain? Il consiste à recréer une famille européenne, ou le plus que nous puissions, et de lui fournir une structure sous laquelle il est possible de résider en paix, en sécurité et en totale liberté. Nous devons bâtir une sorte d’Etats-Unis d’Europe (…). La première étape de cette reconstitution de la famille européenne doit reposer sur un partenariat solide entre la France et l’Allemagne.

B. The Benelux Economic Union

The precursor to the European Economic Community was the Benelux Economic Union, which first entered into force in 1948. The Benelux Economic Union, made up of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg continues to exist today and was preceded by the Belgium-Luxembourg economic union established in 1921. The Benelux Economic Union is now governed by the provisions of the 1958 Treaty of the same name and is made up of a Benelux parliament, a Benelux Court of Justice and a secretariat, all located in Brussels. Dutch and French are the official languages of the Benelux Union and the Benelux area comprises over 27 million people. The Benelux countries remain independent sovereign nations and are also members of the European Union.

B. L’Union économique du Benelux

Le précurseur de la Communauté économique européenne a été l’Union économique du Benelux qui est entrée en vigueur en 1948. L’union économique du Benelux, constituée de la Belgique, des Pays-Bas et du Luxembourg est aujourd’hui toujours en vigueur et a été précédée par l’Union économique Belgo-Luxembourgeoise instituée en 1921. L’Union économique du Benelux est désormais régie par les dispositions du Traité de 1958 du même nom et est constituée d’un parlement du Benelux, d’une Cour de justice du Benelux ainsi que d’un secrétariat, institutions localisées à Bruxelles. Le néerlandais et le français sont les deux langues officielles de l’Union du Benelux et le territoire de cette Union comprend pas moins de 27 millions de personnes. Les Etats du Benelux restent des nations souveraines indépendantes et sont également membres de l’Union européenne.

C. German history after the Second World War

As a consequence of its defeat in World War II, Germany was split into two separate states. Each state represented one of the two global blocs existing at the time: communism to the east; and capitalism in the west. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was a parliamentary democracy enjoying all the freedoms normally associated with the West. The other state, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was based on the Soviet Union’s system of communism. Indeed, Germany to a certain extent represented a competition between the two systems. West Germany joined the EEC, NATO and became Western Europe’s wealthiest economy. East Germany joined COMMECON and although not as economically successful as West Germany, nonetheless became one of the more successful Soviet satellite countries. In 1990 the East German system collapsed and the country was reunited with the Federal Republic of Germany as a western European capitalist state. United Germany is now the most powerful member state in the European Union.

C. L’histoire allemande après la Seconde guerre mondiale

Résultat de sa défaite durant la Seconde guerre mondiale, l’Allemagne fut divisée en deux Etats séparés. Chacun d’entre eux représentait l’un des deux blocs mondiaux existants : le communisme à l’est ; le capitalisme à l’ouest. La République fédérale d’Allemagne (Allemagne de l’ouest) était une démocratie parlementaire jouissant de l’ensemble des libertés généralement associées au bloc de l’ouest. La République démocratique d’Allemagne (Allemagne de l’est), second Etat, reposait sur le système en vigueur dans l’Union soviétique : le communisme. L’Allemagne représentait donc, dans une certaine mesure, la concurrence existante entre les deux systèmes. L’Allemagne de l’ouest est devenue membre de la CEE, de l’OTAN et l’une des économies les plus prospères d’Europe de l’ouest. L’Allemagne de l’Est est, quand à elle, devenue membre du COMMECON et, bien que pas si prospère que sa voisine de l’ouest, l’un des pays satellites de l’Union soviétique les plus florissant. En 1990, le système de l’Allemagne de l’est s’est effondré et le pays a été unifié à la République fédérale d’Allemagne pour ne plus former qu’un unique pays capitaliste d’Europe de l’ouest. L’Allemagne réunifiée est aujourd’hui l’Etat membre le plus puissant de toute l’Union européenne.

Translate the following texts from French to English

  1. L’Association européenne de libre-échange

L’Association européenne de libre-échange (AELE) a été instituée afin de promouvoir le libre échange et ainsi garantir la croissance et la prospérité des Etats parties. Le développement de l’AELE à la fin des années 1950 est une composante majeure de l’ensemble de l’histoire de l’intégration européenne moderne. Les 7 Etats fondateurs – l’Autriche, le Danemark, la Norvège, le Portugal, la Suède, la Suisse et le Royaume-Uni – signèrent la Convention de Stockholm en janvier 1990 et l’AELE entra en vigueur le 3 mai 1960 ; le Liechtenstein et l’Islande ont rejoint l’Association ultérieurement. Le Danemark et le Royaume-Uni l’ont quitté pour devenir membres de la Communauté économique européenne (CEE) en 1973. Le Portugal devint membre de la CEE en 1986 et l’Autriche, la Suède et la Finlande intégrèrent l’Union européenne en 1995. Initialement centrée sur l’échange des marchandises, le domaine de compétence de l’Association a ensuite été étendu par la Convention de Vaduz signée en 2001et inclut désormais les services, les investissements directs étrangers (IDE) ainsi que les droits de la propriété intellectuelle.

  1. The European Free Trade Association

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was established to promote free trade thereby ensuring greater growth and prosperity for its member states. The development of EFTA at the end of the 1950s is an integral part of the wider story of modern European integration. The seven founding members – Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – signed Stockholm Convention in January 1960 and EFTA came into being on 3 May 1960; Liechtenstein and Iceland joined later. Denmark and the United Kingdom left EFTA to become members of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. Portugal joined the EEC in 1986 and Austria, Sweden and Finland joined the newly created European Union in 1995. Initially centered on trade in goods, the scope of EFTA has since been extended to services, foreign direct investment (FDI) and intellectual property rights pursuant to the Vaduz Convention, adopted in 2001.

  1. L’espace économique européen

Alors que le Danemark et le Royaume-Uni accédaient au statut de membre de la Communauté économique européenne, une série d’accords bilatéraux de libre échange étaient négociés entre les Etats parties de l’AELE et membres de la CEE. En vertu de ces accords, au milieu des années 1970 l’ensemble des droits de douane relatifs aux échanges de produits industriels entre l’AELE et la CEE devaient être éliminés. Ces accords ont mené à l’établissement de l’espace économique européen (EEE) qui est entrée en vigueur le 1er janvier 1994 entre l’Union européenne d’une part et l’Autriche, la Finlande, l’Islande, la Norvège ainsi que la Suède d’autre part. Depuis l’adhésion de l’Autriche, de la Finlande et de la Suède à l’Union européenne en 1995, seul trois Etats de l’AELE continuent de faire partie de l’EEE : l’Islande, le Liechtenstein et la Norvège. En 1992, la Suisse a rejeté, par référendum, son adhésion à cet espace et a, à sa place, établit des relations équivalentes avec l’Union européenne par le moyen d’un accord bilatéral indépendant.

  1. The European Economic Area

In parallel with the EEC accession of Denmark and the United Kingdom, a series of bilateral free trade agreements were negotiated between the remaining EFTA States and the EC. These Agreements ensured that by the mid-1970’s duties on virtually all trade in industrial products between EFTA and the EC were eliminated. This later led to the development of the European Economic Area (EEA) which entered into force on 1 January 1994 between the EU and Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Since the accession of Austria, Finland, and Sweden to the EU in 1995, only three EFTA States have been participating in the EEA: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland rejected EEA membership by referendum in 1992 and has instead established equivalent relations with the EU by way of independent bilateral agreement.

  1. L’EEE en pratique

L’accord sur l’Espace économique européen a permis d’étendre le marché unique de l’Union européenne à l’Islande, au Liechtenstein et à la Norvège. Grâce à sa mise en place, les opérateurs économiques des Etats membres de l’EEE peuvent désormais conduire leurs activités au sein d’un espace juridique unique et sont sujets aux mêmes droits et obligations que les entreprises établies au sein de l’Union européenne. Toutefois, l’accord sur l’EEE ne permet pas l’application des politiques communes de l’Union en matière de commerce extérieur, d’agriculture et de pêche, d’union monétaire ou encore de sécurité et affaires étrangères. Un cadre institutionnel élaboré connu sous la dénomination de système à deux piliers a été institué aux fins de la mise en œuvre de l’Accord.

C. The EEA in practice

The EEA Agreement effectively extends the EU single market to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. As a result of the EEA, economic operators in the EEA states can now conduct their business under the same legal framework and are subject to the same rights and obligations as businesses established within EU. The EEA Agreement does not, however extend to EU’s common policies as regards external trade, agriculture and fisheries, monetary union or security and foreign affairs. An elaborate institutional framework known as the two-pillar system has been established to manage the implementation of the Agreement.

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Part 5 – Advanced Reading

The rejection of the European Constitution and Lisbon Treaty

In 2004 a new constitutional treaty, popularly named the European Constitution, was presented for approval before the populations of the different EU member states. However, it was withdrawn after the traditionally pro-European member states of France and the Netherlands voted against its adoption. In its place the member state governments drafted a replacement treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, and adopted it at parliamentary level, bypassing the need for a popular vote on the issue. However, in Ireland this sleight of hand was not constitutionally possible and, when asked, the Irish people voted No; so sometime later they were simply asked to vote again. This time, under economic pressure, they voted Yes and the European ship of integration steamed ahead into its next iceberg, the Euro crisis.

In the opinion of some commentators, the ratification process surrounding both the European Constitution and its replacement, the Lisbon Treaty, was a travesty of democracy: not just because of the failure by the European authorities to accept the vote of the people but also because of the conditions in which the vote took place. In this regard, the vote concerned documents that nobody really understood. As a result, the pro-treaty campaigns were centred not so much on the Treaties themselves but rather on the grounds that Europe had been very good for the European people and thus, in principle, they should trust their leaders and blindly vote Yes. Incredibly, some of Ireland’s leaders publicly acknowledged that they did not understand the Treaty, admitting that they had not read all of it contents. However admirable their honesty, as an argument to vote Yes, this was hardly convincing. Indeed, over 46% of Irish “No” voters justified their No vote on the basis that they did not understand what they were being asked to vote on. The No vote campaigns were equally disappointing, representing a ragged and sometimes illogical coming together of all sides of the political spectrum, from the extreme right to the extreme left. Reflecting their disparate origins, their arguments against the Treaty were equally disparate and sometimes downright wrong. In Ireland it was claimed by the No vote campaign that the European Constitution would promote the right to abortion; in France it was claimed that it would limit this right; whilst in reality the Treaty was totally silent on the issue.

Then there is the issue of the Irish electorate being asked to vote repeatedly on the question, presumably up until the moment they agreed to vote Yes. The process was described by no less a person than Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as a:“(S)ham, because when the result is not pleasing, the vote is simply ignored and the legislation introduced in another way, or if not possible, this having already been done, the population is asked to vote again with an economic gun held to its head”. Still something had to be done; a small majority of Irish voters could not be allowed to become an Irish tail wagging the giant European Union dog. Expediency won out and they were quite simply steamrolled by the European juggernaut. However, given that 46% of Irish voters voted “No” because they could not understand the Treaty, and the fact that many voters in France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland etc. were also against the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty’s predecessor document, the European Constitution, perhaps it would have been better to address these issues, rather than forcing through the adoption of the Treaty by questionable democratic means. Can we really be surprised that there is a resurgence of nationalist sentiment throughout the EU member states, if this is the approach of our European masters?


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