Concert of Europe: the Grandfather of the European Union
The Concert of Europe was a real political thing, created almost by accident in the treaties that ended the Napoleonic Wars and arranged the new European reality. The states writing the treaty meant only to guarantee that they held “Great Power” status. They wanted to be able to control international politics in Europe. But by establishing a board of directors, they also established a corporation.
Suddenly, “Europe” had a definition. Certain states were in, certain states were out. It was within this sphere of action only that the Great Powers could wield their wills. It was a political community as well as a geographic one, though, shown by the admittance of Greece and Belgium in 1830 as independent states. And the Concert of Europe had conditions which it expected of its members, and required of admittants. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878 they said Serbia could “enter the European family” only if it recognized the religious liberty of all its subjects, which they thought was one of “the principles which are the basis of social organization in all States of Europe.” In short, there was a proto-EU in the 1800s.