The Maastricht Treaty


One of the ways that Europe became more united in the last decade of the 20th century was by  The Maastricht Treaty.  This conference was held in the Netherlands in 1991 and one of the things that were agreed on was a single currency called a “Euro” (Shubert, Goldstein, 2012).  The countries in the European Union felt that this single currency would be beneficial for travelers and financial transactions.  Although the idea of the “Euro” was great and it was beneficial to many of the countries in the union, it wasn’t all peaches and cream as it relates to economic status in Europe.  A few years after the financial housing crisis in the U.S. (2008) Europe found itself in a crisis of their own.  “Soaring deficits in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal led to sovereign debt crises in 2010 and 2011, as creditors feared that these countries would be unable to repay their loans” (Shubert, Goldstein, 2012).  The economic crisis in Europe was likened only to the Great Depression in the United States. Additionally, this treaty set guidelines for the health and safety of workers, and immigration and crime prevention policies.  Some of the political issues that the newfound unity encountered was trying to live with new forms of government, often unproven government.  The fall of communism was rapid for the most part, but trying to find a political party to successfully fill its place was a different story.  Political parties were popping up everywhere, and most didn’t know how to choose between them.  Social issues that arose included the migration of millions of people into different countries in the European Union.  Many of the immigrants were not initially welcomed, as there was still a sense of different classes within the people, including being better than the immigrants.  Although the influx of immigrants was not large during the end of the 20th century it was beginning and grew to extraordinary numbers in the first decade of the 21st century.  Although nations in Europe were on a new track there was still a learning curve and there was a great deal of transformation that needed to occur.  One of the major ways that the Cold War contributed to the division in Europe was that so many of the nations basically needed to pick a side to be on, either the Soviet Union in eastern Europe, or with the United States in western Europe.  Many of these nations were not especially interested in having to choose because of all of the devastation they had already encountered.  The role of nationalism  was a great thing in general in European countries except for the realism that they had to share the country with immigrants with which they did not necessarily see eye to eye with, and possibly felt that they were on a different social class.  Genocide was a common thing because there was still the same thoughts that many other people were not capable of the same intellect or prosperity, and that having them in the same country was actually bringing the country down.  So, just as in previous years, many people were murdered or starved to death.  The fall of communism had its positive effects on Europe especially because of the European Union that was created, essentially banding them together against future violence against each other.  However, trying to figure out a single unit of currency, unemployment and poverty because of it, and several other factors was still something that much of Europe was still learning to deal with. 


Shubert, A. & Goldstein, R.J. (2012). Twentieth-century Europe [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

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