Economic co-operation. The European integration process, initiated after the World War II aimed at supporting reconstruction of European countries and introduction of new order on the Old Continent. European integration started with reconstruction of economy of Western Europe countries. The foundation for it were international agreements from the late forties of the 20th century and international organisations called into being at that time – The Benelux Customs Union, The Treaty of Brussels, The Organization for European Economic Co-operation, as well as the American reconstruction plan for Europe, called The European Recovery Program. For several dozen of years economic co-operation was the main ground for co-operation of European communities’ member countries The European Coal and Steel Community, The European Economic Community, The European Atomic Energy Community. The European Union, called into being in 1993, significantly expanded joint action of Western European countries to new, extremely important for the communities as well as for integration itself, fields such as foreign and safety policy as well as justice administration and internal affairs.
Considering the future of the integration process in Europe and the European Union’s future we concentrate in a special way on the economic integration and in particular on the creation of modern communal economy, which will have impact on the future of the European Union’s international position. Other dimensions of the integration, equally important, about which we cannot forget, are still a problem and the reason of dissonance in the European Union, which compels Europeans to work out effective ways for their realisation. Close economic and monetary integration and creation of modern and competitive communal economy are the most reliable ways of assuring the European Union the successful future. Achieving full integration of European countries will be a difficult task requiring uncompromising attitude to the integration by all member states of the Community. In the face of the economic and financial crisis we can better see its members’ determination in this sphere. Extremely essential for the future of United Europe and the European Union’s prosperity is the implementation of resolutions of accepted in 2009 the Treaty of Lisbon as well as the new strategy of the Community’s development “Europe 2020”, the aim of which is to improve the functioning and to facilitate quicker development of the European Union in changing conditions of the contemporary world.
What integration model? The question about the most appropriate integration model for Europe is still valid. Should federalism or maybe confederacy be regarded as the most appropriate? Would functionalism be a sufficient solution at the current state of integration? On the European forum mainly supporters of the first two concepts clash. Regardless of the accepted model of integration, the majority of the participants of this process agree to the fact that the hitherto economic co-operation, in spite of difficulties, is an enormous achievement of Europeans and that it should be continued for the good of all members of the Community. Changes taking place in the world and connected with them threats to the prosperity of the western world, including Europe, among others the increase of the economic meaning of Asia with intensifying economic expansion of China, international terrorism, negative demographic trends, natural dangers, cause the fact that European countries are doomed to each other and to closer integration.
Opening to Russia. Russia can play an important part in the process of European integration. This country, which has an enormous and unquestionable contribution to the creation of common cultural heritage of Europe has so far been standing aside from the integration process due to its long-lasting involvement in the communist ideology and connected with it a totalitarian governing system and exaggerated imperial aspirations. The size of Russia, its potential and interests and a challenge for Europe which still needs Russia. Similarly, today Russia needs Europe and the European Union. The changes which Russia has undergone since Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika result in the fact that its larger than before share in the integration process is becoming possible and even advisable. If we want Russia to engage in the European integration process in a constructive way, it is necessary to change the hitherto relations between Western Europe, the European Union and Russia and to base them on new foundations. Russia itself also has to overcome its prejudice against the West and some of its neighbours. The relations should be based first of all on a sober economic and political calculation and on the consciousness of possessing, against widespread conviction, common interests shared to a large extent. Establishing of this sort of co-operation between Russia and the European Union, co-operation based on the principles of partnership and mutual trust, can be beneficial for both the Community and Russia. In our opinion Poland should play an important role in building up of these relations.