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SET2 A)The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict. The union’s founding principles, known as the four freedoms; guarantee the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

The European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, resulted in increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.From economic to political union-What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning policy areas, from climate, environment and health to external relations and security, justice and migration.  A name change from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU) in 1993 reflected this.

The EU is based on the rule of law- everything it does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by its member countries.

The benefits of the European Union to member nations:

1. Tax Free Trading among Members- One of the biggest benefits that are offered to the member countries of the EU is that they are free to trade with other members at no additional taxation. This helps to keep prices of goods and food down in these countries.

2. Opens Up More Opportunities- Movement between all of the countries in the EU is completely free and open for all citizens. This opens up many more job and education opportunities for people. Especially for people who are in poor countries.

3. Culture Is Not Lost- The EU has never had an “official language” and doesn’t interfere with the cultural aspects of any country. This helps to ensure that, while you are part of the union, you are also your own country.

4. A Common Currency- All of the member countries of the EU have the same type of currency, the euro. This makes doing business, traveling or moving to other countries, and buying things much simpler. It also creates a sense of unity among the countries.

5. No Conflict between Nations- There are strict guidelines followed for any issues that occur within the EU. This prevents any of these countries from getting into large political or economic problems with one another and promotes peace throughout the continent.

6.Low prices of goods – there exists a ‘Single Market’ for all member countries wherein products are low-priced and there are no charges when it comes to custom tax; custom tax is usually charged when goods are transported or sold between states/countries but this is not applied among member countries
7. Development of deprived regions – some member countries of the EU are economically deprived and through the ‘European Structural Funds’, deprived regions are developed
8. Louder voice – the EU is able to ensure that all their concerns are taken seriously and heard internationally since it speaks in behalf of millions of people
9. Workers are protected – this is made possible through the European Working Time Directive; the directive includes regulations regarding holidays, working hours, breaks, etc.

Member countries of the EU are entitled to these benefits and it can be said that it is truly an advantage to be included in the European Union

SET2 B)Power is central concept in international relations – the central one for the realists – but one that is difficult to define and measure.

Power is often defined as the ability to get another actor to do what it would not otherwise have done ( or not to do what it would have done) . A variation on this idea is that actors are powerful to the extent that they affect others more than others affect them. These definitions treat power as an influence . If actors get their way a lot , they must be powerful.

The logic of power suggests that in wars, the most powerful state shall prevail.  Thus estimates of relative power helps explain the outcome of each war. These estimates take into account the nations relative military capabilities and the support for each one’s government. The total GDP reflects both population size and level of income per person ( also known as the per capital income) . With a healthy enough economy , a state can buy a large army , buy popular support  ( through providing consumer goods) and even buy allies.

State power is a mix of may ingredients such as natural resources, industrial capacity, moral legitimacy, military preparedness and popular support of the government.  All these elements contribute to the actor’s power. The mix varies from one actor to another but overall power relates to rough quantities of elements on which that power is based.

Power resources are elements that an actor can draw on over the long term. The power measure, namely the GDP falls under this category. So does population, territory , geography and natural resources.  These attributes only change slowly. Less tangible long term power resources include the political culture , patriotism, education of population and strength of a scientific and technological base. The credibility of its commitments is also a power resource that a state can nurture over time. So is the ability of one state’s culture and values to consistently shape the thinking of other states ( defined by the power of ideas). Power resources shape an actor’s potential power.

As with power resources, some power capabilities are intangible. The support and legitimacy that an actor commands in the short term from the constituencies and allies are capabilities that the actor can use to gain influence . The loyalty of a nation’s army and politicians to its leader in the short term is in effect a capability available to the leader. Although capabilities come into play more quickly than power resources , they are narrower in scope.

SET2 C)The exercise of power involves two or more parties each trying to influence the other more than it is itself influenced. The mutual attempts to influence others constitutes a bargaining process.

Bargaining may be defined as tactic or direct communication in an attempt to reach agreement on an exchange of value . Bargaining need not be explicit. Sometimes the content is communicated through actions rather than an exchange of words.

A bargaining process has two or more participants. There are also mediators whose participation is normally neutral.  Participants have a direct stake in the outcome and mediators do not.  There are one or more issues on which each participant hopes to reach an agreement on terms favorable to itself . When participants ‘ interest diverge on issues, it creates conflicts. These conflicts define the bargaining space which is a distance between the positions of the two participants concerning their preferred outcome.

The term balance of power refers to the general concept of one or more states power being used to balance that of another state or group of states . Balance of power can refer to any ratio of power capabilities between states or alliances or it can mean only a relatively equal ratio. Alternatively, balance of power can refer to the process by which counter balancing coalitions have repeatedly formed in history to prevent one state from conquering an entire region.

The theory of balance of power argues that such counterbalancing occurs regularly and maintains the stability of the international system. The system is said to be stable in the sense that its rules and principles stay the same , state sovereignty does not collapse into a universal empire . This stability by no means implies peace but it is rather a stability maintained by means of recurring wars that adjust power relations