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Supranational Organizations, Sovereignty and International Law

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Rome, 1957; the Rome Treaty is signed, creating the European Economic Community, a predecessor of the European Union. The European Union was the first organization to ever be designated a Supranational union. This new union had a history in multiple ideas, the biggest being the United States of Europe; a concept first described by Philosophers during the 1800s. The basic idea was almost revolutionary, even though it was born out of ideas based on the Roman Empire. This revolutionary organization shall serve as an example of the concept of supranational organizations and their relationship to international law.

The European Union was created slowly, through slow development and Europe wide organization. The legal basis for the European Union was based on multiple treaties all signed throughout the 20th century. These treaties eventually delegated sovereign powers from the states into the organization that would become the European Union. There are three basic categories that describe the stages in the birth of a supranational organization. These are the Initial Collective, the Initial Sacrifice of Control, and the Final Establishment. The three most important treaties in these categories when talking of the European Union were: the London Treaty, the Treaty of Rome, and the Maastricht Treaty

The London Treaty was the treaty founding the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe was an idea brought into popularity just after the end of the First World War. It was considered that it would bring the countries of Europe together and help fight against Nationalism and another war. It was, however, considered too weak an option, which eventually lead to the creation of the European Economic Community and the Customs Union of Europe. This treaty is a part of the Initial Collective category. This initial collectivization of certain decision-making gave a precedent and helped establish the necessary International Law infrastructure (treaties) and political force to bring the next category along.

The Treaty of Rome was the treaty founding the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Customs Union. The Treaty of Rome was particularly important in the creation of the EU as it effectively lowered borders between the countries within the Treaty, which was a massive coup, as countries were willingly giving up Sovereignty over their borders and handing it to the EEC. This treaty is a part of the Sacrifice of Control Category. This step is particularly important as any supranational organization with any seriousness must have power in itself that It can call upon. As innate power over nation-states is not often used in international law without the consent of nations, this stage is made even more important. Without this sacrifice of control, then the supranational organization created is almost irrelevant.

The Maastricht Treaty was the treaty formally establishing the European Union. This treaty is a part of the Final Establishment Category. This treaty is the finalization of our process of construction. The supranational organization is created hs its powers granted and is consolidated into a single organization.

International Law is all about relationships between states, and through them, the peoples of the world. True unity for the Human Race must therefore go through International Law, the existing methods of this world. The dreams of a post-war world that were first heard after the Wars will never be truly fulfilled unless international law and its mechanisms are used to unite, and not to divide. Let us hope for such a world in our lifetime.


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