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The Birth of the European Union: US and UK Roles in the Creation of a Unified European Community

15 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2009  

Bruce Carolan

Dublin Institute of Techhology

Date Written: April, 24 2009


The United States jealously guards its national sovereignty. This has been reflected in reluctance to participate fully in international agreements or organizations with a 'supranational' flavor, such as the International Criminal Court or the Kyoto Protocols. It is therefore surprising to find that the United States was one of the principal architects of the supranational characteristics of what has developed into the European Union. Specifically, the earliest stages of European integration, which is embodied in the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty, were heavily influenced by US insistence on creation of supranational institutions that could exert dominance over sovereign European governments. The United Kingdom, one of the leading European powers after the end of the Second World War, sought to undermine efforts to create a 'supranational' Europe. The UK feared that being part of a more deeply integrated Europe might undermine its 'special relationship' with the United States. Ironically, its stance in opposition to deeper European integration annoyed US authorities and damaged its relationship with the US. This paper traces the respective roles of the US and the UK in the creation of the European Coal and Steel Commmunity, and reveals a US role often overlooked in legal treatments of the early steps towards the modern European Union.

Keywords: European Union law, European Union history, international relations, international law, European integration, Schuman Plan, European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC, Marshall Plan, Organization for European Economic Cooperation, OEEC, Truman Doctrine

Suggested Citation

Carolan, Bruce, The Birth of the European Union: US and UK Roles in the Creation of a Unified European Community (April, 24 2009). Tulsa Journal of Comparative & International Law, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Bruce Carolan (Contact Author)

Dublin Institute of Techhology ( email )

Aungier Street
Dublin, 2


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