Year XXXIII, 1991, Number 1 - Page 8
Considerations on the European Community and the New World Order
The revolutionary changes which are following one another at ever increasing speed (perestroika in the USSR, the fall of Communist regimes, the unification of Germany, the end of the cold war) are eroding the old world order established after the Second World War. But a new order has not yet materialised. The Gulf War is in fact both an expression of the crisis of the old bipolar order and the lack of a new order. It removes the illusion of progress towards a pacific world order having been already achieved. And it marks the defeat of the two political institutions (the EEC and the UN), which pursued the strategy of solving the conflict through negotiation. However their role shows exactly where pressure should be exerted to create a new world order, in which the force of law prevails over that of weapons.
The complex problems of the transition from the old to the new order raises questions on the characteristics and trends of world politics. In fact, if placed within this context, the very outlines of the political design of European unification take on new significance. In the new era which opened up after the end of the cold war, the European federation no longer appears as a third pole in the world system of states, but rather as the first step along the road to a World federation. In other words, the universal historical function of the European federation is to show that the era of world federalism has started.
On the other hand, the constituent phase of the new world order erodes the old institutions of the cold war (such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact) and develops others (such as the UN and the CSCE) more suited to satisfying the need for co-operation and solidarity of an ever more interdependent world. The assertion of the new world order thus implies a redefinition of the role of all international organizations and of their relations. To get one’s bearings in the new era, the construction of European unity must be set within the evolution of world politics, taking into consideration the role that the European Community can assume by directing the world towards unity.
The European Community as a model and pole of attraction.
The European Community represents the most advanced point of the integration processes taking place in the world economy. Around the central core of the Community a constellation of Eastern and Southern countries has formed, which are seeking from it a way to enter the world market. Through various forms of aggregation, more or less tight according to necessity, the Community has created institutions which have allowed it to form economic ties with the whole world. It therefore constitutes the nucleus of the unification process of the world economy. The Community is at the centre of a series of concentric circles, represented by various international organizations: from the EFTA to the CMEA, the European Council, the CSCE, and the Lomé Convention up to the UN. It represents the most solid circle, the international organization which has developed among its member states the strongest institutional cohesion and has a momentum which tends to make it evolve into a federation. Therefore the Community is privileged ground for experimenting the federal model.
Thanks to these characteristics, the Community is not only a model for other regional areas aspiring to unity and for the world (UN reform), but also a pole of attraction for those countries revolving within wider orbits. All the countries revolving in the orbits closest to the Community (in the first place the countries of the EFTA and those of Eastern Europe belonging to the CMEA, plus Yugoslavia) would like to belong to it. But if the present institutional mechanisms remain unchanged and a process of democratization and strengthening of the Community is not started off, the latter’s decision-making ability will tend to diminish as the number of member states increases. It is quite evident that by doubling the number of member states, each one with its burden of particular problems and ties for common policy, the Community would risk total paralysis and thus dissolution. The experience of widening the Community, above all after the admission of the United Kingdom, clearly shows that this process has slowed down (and continues to slow down) progress towards political unity.
Institutional reform which would confer on the European Community the first instruments of power sufficient to express itself effectively at international level, consists in the creation of a democratic government of European economy. More precisely, it is a matter of transferring to the European level the powers relating to the control of currency and macroeconomic policy, of attributing to the European Parliament legislative powers and greater control towards the Commission, of conferring the role of Community government on the Commission and of transforming the Council of Ministers into a Community Senate, which shares its legislative power with the European Parliament, but is deprived of executive power.
To reinforce this, the Community has adopted the policy of submitting the admission of applications for membership to the unqualified acceptance of the objectives of institutional reform. This theme is now on the agenda, following the summoning of the Intergovernmental Conferences on Economic and Monetary Union, and Political Union. Consequently, only if the Community reinforces its cohesion will it be able to play a leading role in the pan-European process and become the nucleus of the institutional order of the European Common Home. By proving that it is possible to make a union of states exist beyond nations, the creation of the first federal nucleus in Europe will allow the reconstruction of an international order as an alternative to the old and collapsing bipolar system, by now weakened by the decadence of the hegemonic role of the superpowers and eroded by the revival of nationalism.
The European Community and the new world order.
It must be noted that the European Community is a subsystem in the world system of states. Therefore, if it is true that its international influence conditions the developments of world politics, it is also true that it is conditioned by it. In fact, the sudden acceleration which European unification has undergone is not only the product of an internal need (the need to overcome the contradiction of European market unification in 1992 without a currency or a government), but also the result of an external requirement (replying to the break-up of the Communist bloc, to the revival of a strong German state in the middle of Europe and to the reawakening of nationalism).
On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that the stability of the processes of co-operation and of economic integration, and still more those of political unification, assumes that any antagonism of a military nature has disappeared. It is true that, according to the federalist point of view, peace can be irreversibly guaranteed only through a federation. However, it must be acknowledged that the tendency towards the disappearance of war from among the means of the foreign policy of states represents a basic condition for starting any form of integration.
The experience of European unification shows that the formation of a unified economic space has taken place within a framework of precise political conditions: the loss of independence by national states, the convergence of their foreign policy, and the hegemony of the United States over Western Europe.
It is true that on a worldwide scale there is no hegemony which can play the role the United States had in the process of European integration, but there is a new fact, which must be acknowledged and analysed in all its complexity: the crisis of the sovereign state, a form of political organization which has lost its self-sufficiency in the field of security control, protection of the environment and the direction of economic and social development. It is a phenomenon which appeared in Europe some time ago and which constitutes the presupposition for a continental unification process. Today it is beginning to concern the superpowers themselves and, as happened in Europe, it produces a strong drive to cooperation, allowing problems, that the single states are unable to solve on their own, to be faced.
Actually, there is a surprising analogy between the beginning of the new era of world politics, started off by the first agreements on disarmament, and the beginning of the process of European integration after the Second World War: then French-German reconciliation, now collaboration between the USA and USSR after a long period of deep tension.
Underlying the new course of world politics are deep changes in the means of production and in the organization of security. On the one hand, the scientific revolution has made the world more and more closely interdependent, with the result that an increasing number of problems have taken on worldwide dimensions. Hence the need for worldwide solutions and institutions. On the other hand, nuclear weapons and other mass destruction weapons have brought about a crisis of power politics and have paved the way for the exhaustion of the raison d’Etat, through the assertion of the principles of “mutual security” and of “non offensive defence” introduced by the new Soviet strategic doctrine.
All this shows that the new course of world politics is not just generated by good will, but is above all the result of necessity. The cost of the arms race has become intolerable for the United States and the Soviet Union. Not only the destructiveness, but the very cost of arms create a crisis in power politics. The latter is in fact so expensive that it ends up by turning against whoever practices weapons accumulation. In other words, in the era of global interdependence and of mass extermination weapons, might tends to destroy itself.
Consequently the superpowers abandoned the cold war, thoroughly exhausted. They then decided to put an end to military confrontation and to collaborate for survival. And their decline has been accompanied by the ascent of Germany and Japan within the hierarchy of world power. They have become great economic powers precisely because, after being defeated in the Second World War, they lost the role of military powers and did not have to expend their resources in the arms race.
Likewise, the road to European integration was resolutely taken only when France and Federal Germany acknowledged the existence of common interests and derived the conclusion that the reasons inducing collaboration were stronger than those of antagonism. But unfortunately the world starts its unification in much more difficult conditions than the countries of the European Community. The latter in fact were able to found the process of integration on conditions of remarkable homogeneity both concerning the degree of development and political regimes (industrial economies and democratic systems) and on the protectorate of the United States, which eliminated military antagonisms in Western Europe.
The conclusion which can be drawn from all this analysis is that a World government is no longer merely an aim dictated by reason. It is an event in progress. It is a tendency which can undergo slowdowns and pauses (as has lately happened during the Gulf War), but which cannot be stopped.
The problem which arises at this point is that of examining the institutions in which the world unification process is taking place, starting from the European Community. The development and consolidation of the new world order involves a complex process of reorganizing the international organizations created in the post-war period and which therefore bear the mark of the bipolar system and of the cold war. What can be attempted now that we are at the beginning of the process, is the identification of more general tendencies.
The EFTA, which was created on the initiative of the United Kingdom as an alternative to the EEC and which now groups six West European democratic states, most of which are neutral, is moving towards full membership of the EEC, as has already happened for some of the founder states (United Kingdom, Denmark and Portugal). To benefit from the advantages of European market unification, it aspires to renegotiate its commercial relations with the Community so as to create a “European economic space”. Two reasons make EFTA countries the first candidates rightly to become members of the Community. The first reason is linked to the changes in the world order which, with the overcoming of blocs and the end of the cold war, have eliminated the function of neutral countries. The second reason concerns the homogeneity of political and economic institutions and development levels between these countries and the Community.
The Council of Europe.
After representing the political framework in which the process of European integration started and after experiencing a long phase of stagnation, when the direction of the process was taken on by the European Community, the Council of Europe is now characterized by renewed vitality. It has in fact taken on a new role: that of a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, after being for years one of the institutions through which the hostility of Western Europe towards the Communist world expressed itself.
On the one hand, the Council of Europe now gathers together all the twenty-three states of Western Europe. In other words it groups the twelve member states of the European Community and the other eleven that are not part of it. On the other hand, the activity of the Council of Europe has promoted the development of East-West relations and has opened its institutions to the countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The consultative Assembly has in fact created the status of “special guest” to receive the representatives of the parliaments of non member European states, which have started a process of democratic transformation of their political institutions, thus carrying out obligations underwritten in the CSCE. Thus, it has established a transitory institutional link with these countries, meant as a staging-post along the road towards full membership.
The underwriting of the European Convention of human rights represents the completion of the process of democratic transformation of Communist regimes and goes in the same direction as efforts within the CSCE in favour of the respect for human rights and fundamental liberties. The eastward opening of the Council of Europe allows an international guarantee to be offered to the new democratic institutions of the Eastern countries and is a means of consolidating them.
All this emphasizes the need for some form of organic coordination between the “third basket” of the CSCE, which concerns human rights, and the Council of Europe. Once the transition towards democracy in Eastern Europe has been completed, the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties should be entrusted to the European Court of Human Rights.
It has been rightly observed that the 1989 revolutions in Eastern European countries did not bring any new ideas. They were simply inspired by the principles of Western democracy and of the market system. However, on the basis of these principles alone it is impossible to create a new international order as an alternative to the Soviet-American bipolar system, the decadence of which has opened the road to the revival of nationalism, to the dissolution of the power blocs and to the break-up of multinational states such as the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia.
If Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union are overwhelmed by conflicts among nationalities, borders are questioned and once more the tendency towards fragmentation prevails, the whole continent will go back to 1919 with well-known consequences: economic stagnation, authoritarian degeneration of institutions and war. The new democracies of Eastern Europe would be merely ephemeral flowers that do not herald spring.
Federalism is the new idea which can allow the organization of an orderly transition of ex-socialist countries to democracy and a market economy. The example of the European Community, in spite of its serious institutional limits, already clearly shows that the member states can find greater freedom and prosperity in union than in separation and isolation. In fact, in Eastern Europe the idea has widely asserted itself that the European Community represents a reference point and a model for solving economic problems and for the stability of democratic institutions, which could also play a similar role in restraining ethnic conflict.
The old common economic institution, the CMEA, created in 1949 to organize trade among socialist countries, should undergo radical reform to adapt to the changes taking place in the economic systems of the individual countries, unless the tendency to dissolution prevails. And in fact, the difficulties of the Soviet Union and the attractiveness of the Community leave scarce prospects for the renewal of the CMEA.
Instead, the entry of East Germany into the Community, as a result of German unification, has opened up the prospect of Community enlargement to include the other East European countries adhering to the CMEA and Yugoslavia. The speed with which a united Germany has been created shows that the Ecu and the European market could assume in the eastward extension of the Community the same role as the Mark and the West German economy has done in the unification of Germany. The use of the Ecu as a means of payment, an adequate transitory period to allow the convergence of the economies and the intervention of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) to finance investments in Eastern Europe are the indispensable economic factors for extending the Community.
Of course, the institutional premises of this process must first be fulfilled, in other words a single currency, a European bank and a European democratic government system. It is necessary, therefore, to accelerate the transformation of the Community into the embryo of a European federation, to allow the latter to favour economic reconversion and the consolidation of democracy and to contain balkanization in Eastern Europe.
European Community-Soviet Union relations.
The fact that the Soviet Union is a great power, provided with the means to exterminate mankind many times over, places it, even within a context of international detente, in a different category with respect to nation states, which are seeking in the European Union the way to establish a new model of international organization orientated towards the construction of peace. For this reason, the hypothesis of extending the European Community to the Soviet Union would become plausible only in the case of the latter disintegrating. In any case, economic co-operation between the European Community and the Soviet Union is destined to develop very intensely. It is enough to consider the fact that the range of action of the EBRD includes the USSR and that the proposal of the Dutch government, supported by the President of the EEC Commission, Jacques Delors, of a European Agency for energy is an initiative which is destined to develop complementary aspects and integration between the two economic areas.
But the overall evolution of Euro-Soviet relations will depend on the direction taken by the federative processes in progress in the two areas. To use the terminology suggested by Carl J. Friedrich, while in the EEC a “process of integration” is taking place, in the Soviet Union a “process of differentiation” has started. If the two processes settle at an equilibrium of a federal nature and therefore nationalistic impulses are contained and the dangers of disintegration, which threaten the pluralistic unity reached through contrasting ways by the two communities, are eliminated, cooperation between the European Community and the Soviet Union is bound to extend, deepen and experiment with new forms of federalism. But this requires, on the one hand, that the member states of the Community should cross the threshold of the irreversibility of the unification process by creating federal institutions.
On the other hand, the independence of the republics and of the minor territorial entities in the Soviet Union should develop without actually dismembering the state, which is what the republics along the western borders would like to happen.
To contain secessionist tendencies, a wider form of autonomy of the member states could be experimented with, with respect to the one that is normally adopted in federal states. It is in practice a matter of developing an anomalous aspect of the Soviet constitution: the foreign policy jurisdiction of the member states. While in other federal constitutions foreign policy is an exclusive competence of the federal government, in the Soviet constitution it is a concurrent competence. This principle, contained in an amendment passed in 1944 to justify the claim to a seat at the UN by Byelorussia and the Ukraine, has never actually been enforced. The strong centralization of power and the cold war left no room for demonstrations for independence on the part of the republics at an international level. In actual fact, foreign policy has remained an exclusive power of the federal government in the Soviet Union also.
Today the situation has changed dramatically. Under the stimulus of perestroika and with the end of the cold war, the republics have asked to exercise their sovereignty and to re-found the Union on new bases, expanding their powers in opposition to the central government. Therefore the moment has come to transfer some powers to the republics, such as those relating to the maintenance of public order, by creating police forces under the control of the individual republics, or those relating to some non-military aspects of foreign policy, acknowledging the rights of the republics to establish diplomatic relations with other states and to participate in negotiations on international affairs, such as trade, economic co-operation, transport, and protection of the environment.
This autonomy of the republics would allow, on the one hand, the impulse towards centralization to be offset, since it derives from international tensions and, on the other hand, the almost colonial relations of the Russian republic with the peripheral republics to be annulled. Moreover, it could be used not only to stipulate bilateral or multilateral agreements, each with different contents, but also to make valid and true federative agreements with neighbouring states. Finally, the specific requirements of the borderline republics require experimenting with another new aspect of federalism. While in all existing federations member states have equal powers, it can be envisaged that in the Soviet Union single republics might be able to obtain supplementary competences (on condition the others consent to it). This would allow the borderline republics to participate in the work of the international organizations concerning them, to have closer relations with neighbouring states so as to solve common problems together and to be a link between the European Common Market and the Soviet economy.
Another anomalous aspect of Soviet federalism is the right of secession, which is acknowledged for the individual republics. It is a well known fact that it is a principle enunciated and upheld by Lenin. It clashes with that of the irrevocability of the federal pact, which has the purpose of ensuring perpetual peace among the states which have underwritten it, and of replacing force with the rule of law as a means for solving conflicts. However, in the Soviet Union there has never been a proper federal pact among the republics, so from the very moment the latter refounds the Union on the basis of a treaty inspired by the principles of federal democracy, the right of secession (dependent on the observance of certain constitutional procedures) must be considered a further guarantee of the independence of the republics.
It is evident that if nationalism, which is now spreading in Eastern Europe, were to prevail in Europe, there would be no room for the solution proposed. But let us consider the hypothesis that the federative process taking place in Western Europe progressively involves Eastern Europe. In this case, the final arrangement the communities situated along the borders may tend to opt for, due to the tension between impulses to disintegration and impulses to integration, could be to belong to both federations simultaneously.
Thus the borders between the two federations would progressively lose the military characteristic of a line dividing two communities, which develop power relations between them and whose cohesion is based on necessity and fear, and become meeting points between East and West and between the European federation and the Soviet federation. The open and flexible nature of this form of federal organization would allow the antagonism between states to be reduced, until it is eliminated, anticipating political relations which foreshadow those between continental federations within a World federation.
NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
It is obvious that, within the context of the new cycle of world politics, NATO and the Warsaw Pact cannot preserve the structures and functions they had at the time of the cold war. The problem of changing them, of reducing the weight of the military component and of their transformation into political coordination structures is on the agenda.
Of course, the timing of this process is conditioned by the evolution of another process: that relating to the consolidation of pan-European security structures within the framework of the CSCE. After the sudden fall of the Communist regimes, followed by the agreement of the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the Warsaw Pact looks like an institution with no future. But one might wonder what will be the role of NATO after the dissolution of the military organization of the Warsaw Pact. It must be remembered that on November 19th 1990 the Heads of State and government of NATO and the Warsaw Pact underwrote a joint declaration, in which it was stated that the two alliances no longer consider themselves as enemies and offer each other mutual friendship.
The conclusion can be drawn from this that conditions are becoming ripe for a parallel withdrawal of American troops from Europe, even if it is easy to foresee that NATO will survive the Warsaw Pact. Besides, the process has already started. It is predictable, in fact, that the troops, moved to Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War will not set foot in Europe again. This does not imply a break in the links between Europe and America, but rather an evolution, that will tend to diminish progressively the weight of the military aspects of the alliance to the advantage of political ones. At the same time, for geographical reasons and considering the strong economic interdependence between North America and Latin America, it can be foreseen that a pan-American federative process will develop, of which the common market between the United States, Canada and Mexico constitutes a promising start.
The Western European Union.
The Western European Union (WEU), established in 1954 after the failure of the European Defence Community project with the traditional characteristics of military alliances, has once again become topical in relation to the debate over the institutional reform of the European Community. In fact a fusion between the EEC and the WEU has been proposed, to extend Community powers to the military sector.
The creation of an integrated European defence system not only is not possible in the near future, owing to the resistance of the two nuclear powers (France and the United Kingdom), but it does not even seem to be an indispensable element for exerting international influence on the part of the Community, which the world now needs.
In the first place, it must be considered that economic and monetary Union would allow wide powers to be transferred to the European level in a sector, such as that of the economy, which has assumed growing importance in international relations, and will become more and more important as defence gradually loses the central place it has occupied in the past. These powers can represent the basis for considerable foreign policy initiatives by the Community. Moreover, within the CSCE a common security system is developing and the prospect exists of another being created in the Mediterranean, which would associate the Community with the Arab world. In the future, these security systems could perform the task of Community defence within the framework of strengthening the UN role in maintaining peace. The defensive function of the Community could therefore continue to be entrusted to existing institutions, in the first place to NATO, but also to individual states, with the prospect of a progressive decline of the military factor. Consequently, the military competences of the Community could be limited essentially to conferring tasks relating to the participation of Europe in the defence of international order within the framework of the UN. For example: organizing the participation, on behalf of the United Nations, of its forces in operations for maintaining peace, elaborating common positions in the negotiations over disarmament and the control of armaments, and taking part in the control of the weapons trade.
Finally, it must be taken into account that the creation of a European military system would not be motivated by the threat coming from the East, considering the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the tendency towards disarmament. However it would represent a factor of tension with the Soviet Union and would therefore work against the success of perestroika, which requires the shift of resources from armaments to development.
Of course, the hypothesis of a European federation without its own defensive system can take shape on condition that the evolution of world politics consolidates the prospects of détente. But, in turn, this type of European federation would have the requisites to become the driving power of the process towards world unification. The cold war finished with the awareness that power politics is not a means to which the solution of the greatest problems of humanity can be entrusted. The future of the world will depend in fact on the ability to promote a pacific order which effectively checks power politics.
The institutions of the European Community, in spite of their limits, represent an important experiment in the establishment of this order. And they are also the example of an international organization which founds its influence in the world on the attractiveness of its economic cooperation system and not on military power.
A European federation, endowed solely with economic and monetary powers, would differ from all existing states, even from those with limited powers, such as federal states, for its greater power to remain open. For this reason, it would foreshadow the World federation, because, like the latter, it would lack military power.
Relations between the European Community and the Arab world.
Among the most unpropitious prospects disclosed by the Gulf War is that of a conflict between the Arab world and the European Community, as the attitudes of hostility and revenge of the Arab masses towards Europe show. For reasons of geographic and complementary economic characteristics, the greatest responsibility for the solution of the problems of the Mediterranean and of the Middle East lies with the European Community. The multinational force has defeated Iraq and freed Kuwait, but the explosive problems of the region remain. For this reason, the European Community must initiate, as Italy and Spain have proposed, an analogous negotiation mechanism to the one which is at the basis of the Helsinki process, which would allow three interdependent questions to be tackled at the same time: the security of all the countries in the area, economic co-operation destined to reduce the social imbalances in the area, and respect for human rights that would open the way to the development of democratic institutions.
However, the success of this plan requires a stronger Community, such as could be born from the formation of the embryo of a federal government. The inadequacy of the present structures has been emphasized by the failure of Community efforts to find a solution to the Gulf conflict through negotiation. Consequently, a European Community with stronger cohesion among its member states and with adequate international influence would have the political authority and resources to guarantee security and to promote development in the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.
The European Community can play an analogous role, in some aspects, to the one of the USA and the USSR in the CSCE. In other words it could promote the creation of a common security system, which would allow Israel and the Arab countries to live together peacefully and shift resources from armaments to development.
At the same time, the Community could promote a plan for financial and technological aid similar to the Marshall Plan, which: a) makes aid conditional on the elaboration of a regional development plan directing resources according to criteria of international justice; b) creates a Euro-Arab banking institution, which allows the development of the whole area to be financed with European capital and to direct the surplus financial resources of the oil producers to the purchase in Europe of technologies and industrial plants destined for the poorest Arab countries; c) starts off a development process able to contain the huge migratory stream from the Arab countries to the Community; d) favours economic integration, which represents the pre-condition for the development and independence of the Arab world; and this requires a process of aggregation between existing sub-regional organizations (the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab Co-operation Council, which groups some countries of Mashrek and Yemen, and the Gulf Co-operation Council, which groups Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates) with the prospect of reinforcing the Arab League; e) promotes, on this basis, the development of democratic institutions and the political unification of the whole region; f) in this way creates the premises for the formation of an organization of a federal nature, open to collaboration with bordering regional communities, which would enable Arab nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism to be defeated.
The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which groups 34 States (the European states, the Soviet Union, the United States and Canada) was originally promoted by the USSR to guarantee the status quo in Europe and therefore to perpetuate the division of the old continent into two spheres of influence and into two antagonistic blocs.
In the last few years, thanks to the principle of the free circulation of people, information and ideas, contained in the final Act of the Helsinki Conference (1975), it has become the vehicle of a deep transformation of the political regimes of the countries adhering to the Warsaw Pact and for overcoming the division of Europe.
In fact, on the one hand, respect for human rights and fundamental liberties has become a principle which is shared all over Europe. On the other hand, both the creation of a system of common security and economic co-operation have laid the foundations for the establishment of permanent institutions, which Gorbachev calls the European Common Home.
The new security model, based on the principle of “non-offensive defence”, will have to prove its effectiveness as an instrument for overcoming East-West conflict and for dismantling the blocs. Actually, the essential task of the CSCE is the creation of a common security system which has no precedent in history, because it is founded on the principle of the transparency of military activities, on measures of mutual trust, on the control of armaments and on a disarmament process, the effectiveness of which is entrusted to on-site inspections. These are the first forms of mutual limitation of sovereignty, which do not rest on supranational powers. What is really new and extraordinary is the fact that the superpowers themselves promoted this process.
The establishment of the European Common Home marks the start of a new world order and represents the embryo of a “partial World government”. The example of Western European integration shows that the reconciliation between France and Germany marked the starting point of the integration process and that the French-German axis was its driving force. The USA and the USSR are destined to play the same role in the world unification process. But there is another analogy: as European integration, which began with six countries and progressively spread until it embraces twelve, today, forty years from the start of the process, has come to face the problem of the unification of the two halves of the continent, so the unification of the world, starting within the framework of the thirty-four countries joined in the Helsinki process, will gradually tend to involve other parts of the world until it identifies with the strengthening and democratic reform process of the United Nations.
Owing to its interregional dimension, the CSCE will be undermined by a double contradiction. It is in fact at the same time too big and too small. It is too big to become a regional pillar of the World federation. But it is also too small to face great worldwide problems. The disarmament process itself, although it is the pride of the CSCE, will be unable to achieve the goal of eliminating mass destruction weapons unless the problem of the destruction of nuclear and chemical weapons is tackled together with the Third World. But other innumerable problems, such as the Gulf War or huge migratory flows, exist to prove that in an interdependent world the countries of the North cannot allow themselves to ignore the problems of the South, but rather are inevitably involved in them.
Thus it becomes necessary for the CSCE to present itself as an association of states which is not against anyone and above all is characterized by its openness towards the Third World. What would be the significance of disarmament, if the resources thus made available were not used to finance wide economic co-operation projects with developing countries? It is therefore likely that the institutions of the CSCE will unleash a dynamic movement tending to reinforce initiatives for peace, disarmament and international co-operation beyond the borders of Europe. And this not only because the end of the cold war is an event destined to produce beneficial effects on the rest of the world (in the first place causing the UN to escape stalemate), but also because the problems of the CSCE area are closely linked to those of other continents. In other words there is no regional solution to problems which have a worldwide dimension, whether they are of a military, political, economic or environmental nature.
The CSCE Assembly, the institutional organization which is still being discussed, could decide to have a structure open to the participation of Parliamentary representatives of the democratic states existing in other parts of the world (for example India, Australia, Mexico, etc.). The conditions and procedures for being admitted to this Assembly could be those foreseen by the Council of Europe statute, which were successfully adopted to receive the new democracies of Eastern Europe. Besides, a proposal has been made that the Council of Europe itself should house the CSCE Assembly.
In conclusion, if within the CSCE a Parliamentary Assembly were established which would open the doors to the participation of the representatives of all democratic countries and would acknowledge the status of “special guests” to the delegates of states committed to the democratic transformation of their political regimes, the embryo of a World parliament would be born. It would become the seat of debate about UN reform projects and plans to solve the great global problems humanity has to face. The need would then arise to associate all peoples in the discussion of questions that are crucial to their future, through the direct election of this Assembly.
Once the dynamics of the aggregation processes developing within the CSCE have settled, very likely giving birth to a confederation of three federations (those of North America, Europe and the Soviet Union), a process of reorganization on a regional scale will have developed in the rest of the world also. I have mentioned the incipient federating processes in the Arab world and the American continent, but there are tendencies to unity also in Africa and South-East Asia.
The general reference frame work of these processes is the UN, whose highest decision-making body, the Security Council, could become more efficient and democratic if it were the expression of the world’ regions. This is the only way to overcome the inequality between microstates and superstates, which represents one of the most serious problems with UN institutions. The role of the Security Council, in the framework of democratic reform of the UN, seems destined to be that of a second branch of legislative power – in other words of a Senate.
The European Community, which leads the process of the regional reorganization of international relations going on all over the world, possesses the necessary requisites to begin the reform of the Security Council. By putting its own representative in the place of those of France and the United Kingdom, it would open the way to the admission of India (which is a state of continental dimensions) into the Security Council, and then gradually other regional entities. It would be enough if in all those regions where federations have not yet been established, states were to decide to be represented at the UN by the international organization they belong to, taking its presidency in turn. This would allow the unjust distinction between permanent and non permanent members in the security Council to be overcome in a reasonably short time and to eliminate the right of veto, replacing it with a qualified majority vote.
As for the Parliamentary Assembly, its creation in the framework of the United Nations comes up against the obstacle represented by the fact that most of the member states still do not have democratic structures, in spite of the great progress of democracy in Eastern Europe and Latin America in the 1980s. Bearing this in mind, together with the proposal of creating a Parliamentary Assembly alongside the general Assembly, it becomes necessary to explore the hypothesis that the CSCE Parliamentary Assembly to be established might become the first nucleus of a world Parliament. As a matter of fact, after the fall of the Communist regimes, democracy is destined to consolidate within the Helsinki framework.
In conclusion, it can be affirmed that the European Community can play a decisive role in directing the world towards unity. The indispensable condition for this role to be played is the reinforcement of European unity by transferring powers concerning the management of the economy to the Community and by democratizing decision-making procedures. Monetary sovereignty should in fact be considered much more effective than military for asserting Community influence in the world.
This influence can help the Community to: a) complete the federal unification of all Europe; b) favour the extension of the federal model to other areas, through the development of unification processes in those regions that are still divided into nation-states, starting from the Mediterranean area and the Middle East, and the assertion of new forms of federalism in states which have already reached continental size, such as the Soviet Union; c) start off UN reform, beginning with the restructuring of the Security Council on a regional basis.