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The integration and fragmentation of Europe and its implications.

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Introduction

The integration and fragmentation of Europe and its implications Throughout history, the shape of Europe has been changing. For as long as there have been borders that separate the different countries, there have been people who have been trying to change these borders for one reason or another. Since the end of World War II however, Europe has experienced two contradictory processes, that of integration and fragmentation. Integration is the act of combining or to form as a whole whereas fragmentation is the opposite, to break into fragments. After the defeat of Germany in World War II it was decided that the USSR should control the East of Germany whilst the Western allies (UK, USA, France etc), should control the West of Germany. It was also decided that, as the capital of Germany, Berlin, was in the East of the country and so fell in the USSR's territory, then it too would be split into East and West and be controlled by the two sides independently. This was the first fragmentation of a country after World War II and it would prove to be the most influential fragmentation of a country in the 20th century. ...read more.

Middle

All of the infrastructure in East Germany would need to be replaced or improved mainly at the expense of the old West Germany. The financing for this came in the form of a special 'reunification tax' which was levied on those living in the West. What happened, and is still happening in Germany, echoes what is happening all over Eastern Europe at the moment. With the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR, many East European countries are moving away from communism and towards the Western values of democracy and free trade. Many of the former Soviet states that are now seen as independent countries, are very eager to join the EU in order to strengthen their own economies and to encourage Western investment. As the integration of Germany began at the beginning of the nineties, so too did the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. The former country of Yugoslavia was a federation consisting of six republics-Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (often referred to as just Bosnia), Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Josip Broz Tito headed the country's Communist government from 1945 until his death in 1980. After Tito died, a rotating presidency took effect, with a representative from each of the major ethnic groups taking turns as head of government. ...read more.

Conclusion

If as expected the newly formed countries will wish to join the EU then it is going to take a massive international investment to bring them up to the economical requirements and this may well take quite a long time. Both fragmentation and integration of countries requires a huge amount of investment from foreign countries in order to help make the newly formed countries successful. The integration of 12 European countries to form the EU was a successful step towards increasing the economies of all the member states and showed that although countries were sharing the wealth, it was mutually beneficial to do so. Most integration that occurs between countries happens because it is beneficial for both parties to do so. These integrations usually increase trade, and strengthen ties between the parties involved and so are seen as a positive move towards a united Europe. A further step towards a single European state was realised earlier this year with the introduction of the Euro, the single European currency adopted by some countries in the EU. This is seen to of great benefit for trade relations as it does away with the need for currency conversions and so the fluctuations that constantly affected trade beforehand would not affect the countries, which adopted the Euro as their currency. It also ...read more.

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