Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Those of you who have been here all day have heard some people that really understand what is going on in Eastern Europe, people from those countries, and experts in those subjects. I am going to take a little different approach. I am going to talk about Europe, and why I think it is at the real leading edge of global change today as we know our economic and political systems. There are four things happening in Europe today, any one of which would have an impact, or will have an impact, on the future as you young people know it. The drive toward the unified market at the end of 1992, of which you are all aware. The reunification of the Germanies. The winding down of the cold war or you could say, really, the destruction of the Soviet Union is probably a better way to say it today. And, of course, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, which probably I know better than the other subjects. I will leave it to last, and be a little brief. I do have an office there, and I think I can talk about it as a business man.

As I said, each one of these subjects would be a major topic. I am going to just hit a few high points to remind you of what is going on there in some of these areas and tell you why I think they all have an effect on what is happening in Eastern Europe. Europe 1992, Fortress Europe, Europe without borders, whatever you want to call it, is really moving ahead more rapidly than most thought. They have talked about this for over thirty years, and then finally in 1985 they came out with a white paper that talked about great things they were going to do in Europe. And then finally in 1987, an Act was passed that really put 285 changes, directives, into motion. Today, a good many of those have already been passed by the Commission itself, and the Parliament has passed over sixty percent of those directives. So they are moving ahead. The fact is, that Europe, as we know it today, will not be the same ten years from now--not only in Eastern Europe, but all of Europe.