Benefits from Pooled Sovereignty in the EU

In formal political groupings, countries yield some autonomy in return for the benefits from pooled sovereignty; the EU is a prime example

Sir Winston Churchill recognised the desirability of forming a political grouping in his speech at the Congress of Europe in 1948:

” It is said with truth that this involves some sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty. But it is also possible and not less agreeable to regard it as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions all of which under totalitarian systems, whether Nazi, Fascist, or Communist, would certainly be blotted out for ever.”

The EU gains the following benefits from pooled sovereignty:

●  It underpins peace in Europe – in contrast to the historical tensions which culminated in the two world wars of the 20th century.

●  It has conferred collective citizenship on its population, whereby people are free to move between member countries without restriction and without losing social benefits – although some people see this as a problem: allowing unrestricted immigration.

●  The increased travel and interaction within Europe have made it less likely that people will regard other countries as hostile.  People became much more familiar with each other – grumbling from time to time, but nonetheless tolerant.

●  Its members can exert more political influence in the world with a collective voice than they would each wield as separate countries.

●  It provides a formal negotiation framework for resolving potential trade frictions between them, which also enables it to gain the economic benefits from free trade within a single market (

●  It extends financial support for the development of less prosperous regions, thereby reducing migratory pressures and social friction.

●  It provides a legal framework (, whose benefits include the enforcement of contracts and the coordination of crime-prevention and law-enforcement.

●  It imposes human rights by law (, as a condition of membership, to prevent politicians from abusing their powers in the way that Hitler did.

These benefits from pooled sovereignty are not immediately felt on a daily basis, though; as described below, there is discontent (  Many people are more aware of the costs and constraints than of the benefits.



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/6651a.htm.