Monthly Discussion



The Evolution of the EU


If the European Union is to ever achieve a state of nationhood, it must follow a natural growth process. The hallmark of a natural growth process is the S-shaped pattern I have amply describe in Predictions. But this smooth pattern that growth in competition theoretically follows, is often distorted in real life. Typical distortions are shown in Exhibit 3.



Exhibit 3. The natural growth pattern often shows deviations from the S-shaped pattern such as precursors, overshoots and catching-up effects, see Predictions.


The origin and real-life equivalent of these deviations are rather evident. Precursors are unsuccessful early attempts, often considered as failures. The quite period that follows a precursor contributes to 菟ent-up demand and results into a period of rapid growth (catching-up effect). Finally, a well-established growth process may overshoot and later fall back and settle at a lower level.

We may expect these phenomena in the growth process of the European Union. In Exhibit 4 I graph all events related in the construction of the EU, as reported in http://europa.eu.int/abc/history/index_en.htm published by the European Union. The chronology includes all kinds of events, important ones, like the introduction of the unique currency, as well as less important ones, like the change of the presidency from one country to another. By putting all events together in one data set we are defining an 妬ndex of activity relating to the formation of the EU. This index has been growing since September 19, 1946 when Winston Churchill first called for a 徒ind of United States of Europe. The growth has been steady and turbulent accelerating sometimes, decelerating at other times. But for obvious reasons, when maturity is eventually achieved, this index must stabilize.




Exhibit 4. The number of events directly contributing to the creation of the EU has followed an overall S-shaped pattern, while going through smaller S-shaped patterns.


As in all sustained growth, the evolution of the number of events that has shaped the EU has followed successive steps. Each step, itself an S-curve, displays the deviations expected in Exhibit 3. In addition, an overall S-curve of large time frame (turquoise line) indicates that the growth process was 82.4% complete on March 1, 2003. One or two more small steps should be expected.

The consequences of Exhibit 4 are far reaching, however, because can help us form a realistic estimate of EU痴 final size. There have been proposals and discussions that could extend EU痴 borders deep into Asia (e.g., with Turkey痴 candidature), and even reach the Pacific Ocean with Russia痴 possible eventual inclusion. How much of his is realistic in view of EU痴 recent failure to present a united policy on the war with Iraq? Voices have been occasionally raised for a 2-speed EU with a few 塗ard core states and many more 都atellite states.



Only 12 European countries have joined so far in all respects, including monetary union. If 12 corresponds to 82.4% of the final number, one estimate for this final number is 14 to 15, a number far below the 26 presently worked on. In this light talk about Turkey痴 and Russia痴 admission to the EU sounds absolutely far-fetched.