The 1985 Schengen Agreement (implemented by 7 nations in 1995) first floated the idea of free passage between nations of the smaller Europe of the time.
Almost all of these states wished to become a part of a liberal democratic European ideal.
This opened up the ‘stable’ region of Western Europe, which had been neatly defined and organised within clear boundaries between the Atlantic and the Iron Curtain, to a now unknown border of ‘greater’ Europe and the potentially volatile East (Wallace 1992, p.40).
Whilst Europe had been divided by the ‘Iron Curtain’, and the much less metaphorical Berlin Wall, during the Cold War period, reunification and the subsequent process of integration has brought its own controversies and divisions.
This essay will explore some of these issues, compare their significance to Cold War divisions and, ultimately, make a conclusion as to whether these new dilemmas can be measured on a similar scale of those from the 1950s to 1980s.
Many required serious investment to bring them up to Western standards and some would need ‘propping up’ with Western funds.
The idea of free movement between European nations made this more difficult as many of the fit and capable workers in the East sought to emigrate to richer states.
They have representative government and value freedom. As well as this, these states also have similar global objectives and agendas due to their geographical proximity and shared international concerns.
This shared ideology was similarly a factor during the Cold War and served to unite the West against the USSR.
This kind of social cohesion was almost unfathomable during the Cold War period as the world was so clearly divided.
A long history of conflict and friction between the now closely linked European nations meant that few could foresee a single, united social policy. One of the key divisions in the modern European Union is between ‘interventionists’ like the French and ‘free-traders’, like Germany.
How do you rebuild an economy when all of its workers are leaving?