[EDITORIALS]A historic event in the EULeaders of the 25 European Union member countries signed the draft of a joint constitution on Friday in Brussels. This is a historic event. It took place two years after the idea was first discussed in earnest and a half-century after efforts at regional integration were begun.
Europe started out with the expansion of a single economic zone and now it has entered the stage of political integration. Moreover, it was achieved despite the greater diversity of voices that can now be heard within the EU with new members joining in May.
The constitution draft includes articles providing for a president to represent the EU in the international arena and a foreign minister to handle joint foreign policy. It also contains democratic decision-making procedures. It is a far different picture than when the individual national interests of Germany, France, Great Britain and other powerful countries of Europe were the supreme factors in any situation.
Now, all citizens of Europe will be able to cross borders freely and be treated equally, along with using a common currency. Also, with a common constitution, the EU members that had been divided over the war in Iraq will be able to provide a common security policy and maintain a balancing position in a U.S.-led world order.
The constitution that the EU leaders have agreed on will need to be ratified by each member state. This process, of course, is expected to take some time and effort. The summit meeting, while having agreed on the constitution draft, has failed to nominate the next European Commission president, still showing a difference of opinions among the more powerful members. Nevertheless, the historical significance of the ideal of the European region sharing a common goal and establishing a common policy and strategy through democratic procedures becoming a reality should not be underestimated.
This historical decision of the European Union holds great significance for the East Asian region which, tied down by disruption and strife, has not been able to proceed far in regional integration.
The EU decision should be a reminder to us that we need to make more of an effort to solve the situation on the Korean Peninsula and establish peace and security in East Asia.