The united states of Europe could become a reality in 1993, if plans to unify the European marketplace take force, according to Elder Jacob de Jager of the First Quorum of Seventy, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder de Jager, who worked for Philips Electronics Corp. in the Netherlands before his call as an LDS general authority, also told BYU students on Wednesday that the roots of a unified Europe go back to just after World War II."There are still, at this point, 285 regulations to be put into practice to eliminate the borders, to have a harmonization of currencies," he said. "How can you have a common market where people and goods flow freely if you have to change money all the time?"
Europe likely will have a currency called the Ecu that will be exchanged throughout the Western European community.
The idea of a unified Europe is not just a monetary issue however, according to Elder de Jager, it is a highly political and military concern.
Opening borders and establishing harmonious taxes likely will be ongoing issues as the Europeans prepare for their day of unification.
A case that went to the highest European court involved the exportation of a blackberry liquor from France to Germany. The court ruled that goods should be allowed to be imported as long as they aren't a threat to public health and morality.
The aftermath of that decision was the invasion of foreign insurance companies. The same court ruled that foreign insurance companies could insure major enterprises but not private individuals.
Despite that bit of resistance to foreign intervention, Elder de Jager said, the stage is being set for global marketing. The U.S.-Canada free trade agreement is one step on the way to a free-trade world. Other elements include multinational and multiregional companies.
All this activity had its beginnings in the era directly after World War II. The Marshall Plan stipulated that European countries must be part of an organized, common agreement to receive assistance from the United States.
In 1958, West Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy formed the European Economic Community. Great Britain was prohibited from joining the organization. "President Charles de Gaulle from France single-handedly stopped the entry of Great Britain into that European community because of old animosities between the countries," he said.
Great Britain then helped form the European Free Trade Area with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.
The turning point for Great Britain was the death of de Gaulle. France's new leadership allowed Great Britain to join. Today there are 12 member nations of the EEC. Switzerland and Austria are not members, but Austria appears willing to join, and many think Switzerland will be by 1992.