chapter  21
21 Pages

The rise of a new Europe: the history of European integration, 1945–2007

However, while internationalist dreams of a move towards enlightened world governance were dashed on these rocks, a new path began to emerge in the post-1945 era – the emergence of continental or regional supra-governmental


organizations that aimed at the development of economic, social and even political integration. The most successful of these experiments in the pooling of sovereignty took place in Europe with the birth of the European Economy Community (EEC) in 1958 and its evolution into, first, the European Community (EC) and, finally, the European Union (EU). The fact that the EEC was able through economic integration to transform war-torn Western Europe into a zone of peace and prosperity not surprisingly inspired statesmen in other parts of the globe to try to follow suit. They were to do so with mixed results. Some regional organizations, such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), echoed the achievements of the EEC by also bringing economic and political cohesion to previously troubled regions. Others though, such as the largely abortive calls for integration in East Asia, have been less effective. In these cases, however, the reasons for failure, such as the fear of the consequences of pooling sovereignty and the lack of strong political incentives underpinning the integration process, are still important to study, for ironically they help to highlight the causes of success in Europe and South-East Asia.