Post a substantive written response to 2 other classmates’ threads. Your response must identify specific weakness(es) as well as note the strengths of the post. By identifying a weakness (content based, not a spelling/grammatical aspect), you display the critical thinking skills required in a graduate course. Refrain from making statements like “I really couldn’t find a weakness to your thread but the assignment required it . . . ’’+ an insubstantial critique, as this is your chance to help your peer write stronger in their future threads. You should put as much time into your reply phase as you do your thread. The strongest scores on that portion are reserved for those replies that incorporate specific evidence rather than making opinion-based statements. Please maintain the proper tone in your critique by addressing the issues instead of attacking the person.


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The European Union is perhaps the most integrated regional trade agreement in history. It was born from the ashes of World War II and nurtured by the willingness of the European continent to put aside hundreds of years of nationalism and violence, and unite in a shared vision for the future.

When World War II ended, German socially conservative liberals and conservatives, eager to prevent the rebirth of fascism, banded together to form the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). This new political party, along with it affiliate, the Christian Social Union (CSU), was instrumental in promoting the ideas that laid the groundwork for the EU. One of the fundamental beliefs of the CDU-GSU alliance was that Europe would only be peaceful if it was integrated. The CDU-GSU won stunning victories in 1949 and was instrumental in providing the proper climate to nurture European integration (Christian Democratic Union (CDU), 2017).

In 1950 a man named Robert Schuman developed a plan for Germany and France to collaborate on steel and coal production. His thinking was that solidarity in production would make war between the two countries not only unlikely, but impossible. Schuman’s vision matured into the Treaty of Paris in 1951 which established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The agreement was signed by six nations, and started the ball rolling towards deeper European integration. Jean Monnet, the first high commissioner of the ECSC was instrumental in establishing the direction of further economic integration by way of supranational institutions(Lynch, 2010, p.160).

It wasn’t until 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty that the present-day European Union was created. The treaty laid out the groundwork to adopt a common currency among Euro-zone members by 1999 and also established 3 distinct pillars of integration (The three pillars of the European Union (Maastricht, 7 February 1992), 2017).

The first pillar was to combine the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community in to one supranational entity known as the European Community (Rutherford, 2013).

The second pillar was to have a common foreign and security policy. This goal has been difficult to implement and has remained a long-term objective for the EU.

The third pillar was to have cooperation across Europe in the field of justice and home affairs.

Today, there remain many points of disagreement among EU members. The future of the union, the financial burdens of the poorer members, and changing demographics are all issues that the member countries must agree to resolve to preserve the union.


Christian Democratic Union (CDU).(2017, February 19). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica Academic:

Lynch, D. (2010). Trade and Globalization. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Rutherford, D. (2013). European Communities. London, UK: Routledge. Retrieved from

The three pillars of the European Union (Maastricht, 7 February 1992). (2017, February 18). Retrieved from http:// Board

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     Trade agreements can be anything from very underused, lowly developed trade agreements, or on the other end of the spectrum they can be large andimpactful for their region. No better example can be given for a big and powerful trade agreement than the EU. Being signed into effect in 1952 the “ECSC [European Coal and Steel Community] was supranational over a limited set of issues (Lynch, 2010,p.160)”. Among the original members of the ECSC are France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Other institutions that would later make up the EU, the European Economic Community, was established in 1958, and the Euratom in 1957. Later in 1967, the “ECSC, EEC, and Euratom officially form the European Communities (EC) (Lynch, 2010, p. 163)”. This same EC, had “many disagreements and crisis that developed between the member states from 1962 to 1966 prevented the rapid political development (Vauchez, 2008)”. Despite this, the EC continued to develop, forming a Customs Union in 1968. The same year that Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark joined the EC (1973), “the first EAP [Environmental Action Programmes] was decided upon (Hey)”. From here the EC continued to gain momentum, by adding Portugal and Spain in 1986 and by officially becoming the EU in 1993. In 1998 the European Central Bank is established, and similarly the EU’s currency (the euro) replaced all the smaller currencies in eurozone countries within the EU. As the EU is expanded, it finally ends up with 27 members, 16 of which are in the eurozone (Lynch, 2010, p. 164). Finally, as the 2009 hit basically the enter world, EU member Greece was hit particularly hard with them being very close to bankruptcy. 

      Close to the same time as the beginning of the earliest parts of the EU, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was “Founded in 1945 (The Democratic Society)”. Throughout the development of the EU, the CDU has been, among other things, a driving force for increased integration in Europe. The CDU has been seen in many countries in Europe as a party of stability and modesty. Another major role the CDU played in the time frame of the EU was the opposition to communism, which helped it to organize many people to their support. After the fall of Soviet Russia though “Christian Democratic parties witnessed a major loss of support in the 1990’s (Duncan, 2006)”. Even with this decline in popularity, the CDU has been back up again since around 2005. 


Duncan, F. (2006, September 21). A Decade of Christian Democratic Decline: The Dilemmas of the CDU, ÖVP and CDA in the 1990s. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

Hey, C. (n.d.). EU Environmental Policies: A short history of the policy – EEB. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

Lynch, D. A. (2010). Trade and globalization: an introduction to regional trade agreements. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Terry, C. (2014, April 02). Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http:// A. (2008). ‘Integration-Through-Law’: Contribution to a Socio-History of EU Political Commonsense. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

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