The Evolution of Europe

According to some scholars Europe received its name from the Phoenician Wrab (west) indicating reference to Asia. The etymology of the word ‘Europe’ reveals a term of both  great antiquity and considerable uncertainty, indeed it has two entries in Lamprière’s Classical Dictionary, – Europe was the daughter of Agnor, King of Phoenicia, who was seduced by Jupiter in the shape of a bull, and it was also one of the ‘three grand divisions’ of the earth, ‘superior to the others in the learning, powers and abilities of its inhabitants’: These learned inhabitants of Europe had, apparently for a long period of time, entertained thoughts of some sort of European unity. Some authors suggest that the Europe prior to the period of nation states, (between 800 and 1450) was a ‘rather close-knit, cultural community’.[1] Others suggesting that Europe has at least twice been loosely untied since the late Roman period, ‘first in the Holy Roman Empire and then in the Concert of Europe’[2]. Throughout European history there have been a number of proposals for the effective organization of Europe into a European Political Community, including the notable Sully, Henry VI’s minister, (1610) and the keen intellectual Immanuel Kant, in On Eternal Peace (1795).  The European dream has been shared by thinkers of different ilk including such men of letters as Dante, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Saint-Simon, Jeremy Bentham through to Garibaldi. ‘Europe should clearly evolve one common will, speak with one clam , majestic voice, have a clear idea of its identity and goals, cultivate and defend its economic prosperity and pursue a single foreign policy in its own interests (and the world’s). It should, therefore, forget its trivial disputes and rivalries, put its own house in order, set up authoritative common democratic institutions, arrange its financial affairs according to more or less uniform criteria, adopt one currency and set up one redoubtable defense establishment’[3]. It has been suggested that Europe ’is a task at once magnificent and necessary. The difficulties which lie on the way are in proportion to the goal to be achieved’[4].

The European Union is about government.  The art of government, or specifically, the management of collective political economic affairs, originates with opinion and opinion is a product of thinking. The present day convergence of European thinking, – from the older smaller regional state, – to the larger continental embracing meta-state, requires a completely new focus, essentially a totally new comprehensive dialectic.  Some peoples in Europe are making rapid progress developing this new focus of thinking, others are not. [5] Within the context of this new comprehensive dialectic is found a wealth of social, cultural and political-economic topics that, when considered in its totality, provide an understanding of the contemporary integration process being played out before us.  This new thinking is extremely multifaceted, – anything less than complete holistics creates a biased outcome.  Thus our point of departure with this web attempt is to create an ongoing dialect, a forum for things European. Realizing that understanding Europe, – a small portion of the peoples of the earth, –  will ultimately help in understanding the process of globalization. After all a greater knowledge of others leads ultimately to a deeper understand of self.


[1] C.J Friedrich, (1969) Europe: An Emerging Nation?, New York, Harper & Row, p.2

[2] G.Liska,(1964) Europe Ascendant: The International Politics of Unification, Baltimore, Maryland, John Hopkins Press

[3] I. Barzini, The Impossible Europeans (1983) Weidenfeld & Nicholson p.23

[4] P.Van Zeeland (1957) in C G Holms edited European Integration, Baltimore, Maryland John Hopkins Press

[5] For a development of concepts see of Alan Ertl, Toward an Understanding of Europe, Boca Raton, Universal Publishers, ps.x-3

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