European integration over the past 60 years has in many ways completely transformed while simultaneously maintaining its core purpose for existence. The EU, or formally known as the European Coal and Steel Community, began as an initiative to ensure that France and Germany could no longer choose war as an option to resolve differences; moreover, the original six signatories of the agreement pursued a united Europe to promote and safeguard peace and security within the region. As the EU began to expand, policies and structures had to transform to accommodate the needs and interests of those states entering the union while standards were formed to qualify entry into the institution. Since enduring the Cold War era, the EU has not only changed in social structures but has since shifted its political goals for hopeful initiates from democratic victory to the quality of democratic governance (Goetz, 4). The political notions of democracy were admirable plights but without the integration of the economies between the member states (i.e. becoming economically bound to one another), the EU would not have sustained for this length of time (Pinder, ch 1: “Economic Strength and Prosperity”).
With the addition of many eastern European states in the early 2000s, the member states would have to decide how to expand or change treaties and whether or not to give the EU more economic sovereignty. As stated in the EU Observer, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pressed the idea of having a “eurozone-only budget helping to level out macro-economic imbalances” (“Germany softens stance on EU treaty change”, 2013) so as to assist small businesses in competing on an even playing field throughout the eurozone. It seems to me that economic changes are occurring quicker than the EU is able to make those policy reforms as influx of states enters the union. Additionally, there is hesitation by member states to put more sovereignty into Brussels to develop new economic policy adjustments for fear of decreasing individual state sovereignty if that process were to occur. Regardless of whether the EU is given more power or not to handle the economic crisis, it is crucial that the progress be made towards overcoming this issue and that the union be adaptable to any shocks that may occur in the future.