The European Union is at a crossroads. The Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU) has set April 30, 1998 as the date at which the Union’s members will reach a decision as to whether to extend the current cooperation on internal market affairs to aggregate monetary policy and if so, which countries will be allowed to participate in this new Economic and Monetary Union and the conversion rate for national currencies into Euros. At issue will be each of the three decisions which define a federal constitution: the number of participating governments, the assignment of policy responsibilities to the new Economic and Monetary Union, and the representation of local interests in, and the decision-making rules for, the new European Monetary Union (EMU). The final choice of the EMU’s constitutional form will involve an inevitable balancing among the three potentially competing objectives of the federal form of government: protecting rights, encouraging political participation, and promoting economic efficiency.

The Road to Maastricht’. Beginning with the 1951 Treaty of Paris between France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, to the 1957 signing in Rome of the European Economic Community Treaty (Treaty of Rome), to the Luxembourg Compromise in 1966, to the entrance of Denmark (1973), Ireland (1973), United Kingdom (1973) and Greece (1981) into the Community, and finally to the further addition of Spain and Portugal and the signing of the Single European Act in 1986, the nations of central Europe have been moving steadily, albeit slowly, towards an integrated economic and political union. The central driving force both historically (Bulmer 1994) and to this day (Bednar, Ferejohn, and Garrett 1996) has been the desire of France and Germany to avoid military conflict on the continent. Integrated economies are seen as one crucial means for ensuring political stability in Europe.