The Concert of Europe was established in 1 815 (the Vienna Congress) to involve the practice f multilateral meetings rather than bilateral diplomacy among the leaders of the major European powers for the purpose of settling problems and coordinating actions. They met over 30 times in the century preceding WWI and constituted a club of the like-minded, dictating the conditions of entry for other would-be participants.Some of their resolutions included the legitimization of the independence of new European states such as Belgium from Netherlands in 1830 and Greece from Turkey (Ottoman Empire) in 1829.
At the last of the Concert meetings, which took place in Berlin in 1878, the European powers divided up the previously uncolonized parts of Africa, extending the reach of European imperialism. The Concert meetings were not institutionalized but they solidified important practices that later international organizations followed.These included multilateral consultations, collective diplomacy and special status for great ‘powers’. As Claude summarizes (196422) “The Concert system was the manifestation of a rudimentary but growing sense of interdependence and community of interests among the states of Europe” Such a community of interest was a ital prerequisite for modern international organizations and broader global governance, even though sovereignty remained intact.The Concert idea of mutual consultations, necessitated by a growing community of interests, can be seen in the contemporary Group of 7/8, and is also the foundation for the UN Security Council where the five permanent members have special privileges and responsibilities and continuously consult with each other in a highly institutionalized setting.
3. 2 public International Unions Public international unions were another important organizational nnovation. Agencies were initially established among European states to deal with problems stemming from the industrial revolution, expanding commerce, communications and technological innovation.These functional problems involved such concerns as health standards for travelers, shipping rules especially on the Rhine River, increased mail volume and the cross- boundary usage of the newly invented telegraph. Many of the issues that emerged due to the expansion of international relations could only be controlled through intergovernmental cooperation. Hence, the International Telegraph Union was formed in 1 865 and the Universal Postal Union in 1874.
These two were instrumental in facilitating communication, transportation and commerce.With the growing levels of interdependence, the European states had found it necessary to cooperate on a voluntary basis to accomplish non-political tasks. Other functional organizations that were established for this objective included the International Chamber of Commerce in 191 9, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in 1923 and the Bank of International Settlements in 1930. This Bank was established following the Versailles Treaty of 191 9 to facilitate reparations imposed on Germany after its defeat in the WWI. These public organizations led to novel procedures in what later became global governance.International Secretariats composed of permanent bureaucrats hired from a variety of member states, the practice of involving specialists from outside ministries of foreign affairs as well as private interest groups, meaning that di plomacy was no longer the exclusive domain of traditional government officials. The public unions began to evelop techniques for multilateral conventions that eventually led to multilateral conferences and treaties. 3.
3 The Hague System The third governance innovation in the 19thC was the emergence of generalized conferences in which all states were invited to participate in problem-solving.In 1899 and again in 1907, Czar Nicholas II of Russia convened conferences in the Hague (Netherlands) involving both European and non-European states to think pro-actively about what techniq ues states should employ to prevent war, and under what conditions should means uch as arbitration, negotiation, and legal recourse be used. The Hague Conferences led to the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, ad hoc International Commission of Inquiry, and the permanent Court of Arbitration.This became a permanent body composed of jurists selected by each state from which members of arbitral tribunals would be chosen. The Hague Conferences also produced several new procedures that became relevant to global governance; this was the first time that participants included both small and non-European states. The Latin American states, China and Japan, were each accorded an equal voice, thereby establishing the twin principles of universality and legal equality of states.
That what had previously been regarded as a European State System, became a truly international system. For the first time again, participants were allowed to elect chairs, organizing committees and taking roll call votes. The Hague Conferences also promoted the novel ideas of common interests of human kind and the codification of international law. 3. 4 Conclusion Despite these three innovations that began in the 19thC and spilled over to he 20thC, the institutional arrangements proved inadequate for preventing war among the major European powers.
The balance of power among the great powers broke down into two competing military alliances at the end of the 19thC, which in turn led to VOVI in 1914, a war triggered by the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, Serbia. The war had two main alliances; Triple Entente of Britain, Russia and France and Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The first action towards the war was the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary against Serbia.Then Germany, an ally of Austria-Hungary, saw an opportunity to settle scores with its traditional rivals, Britain, Russia and France, and joined the war on the side of Austria-Hungary. Apart from the breakdown of balance of power, interdependence and cooperation in other areas of interest proved insufficient to prevent the war especially when national security was at stake. Indeed, the outbreak of WWI pointed vividly to the weaknesses and the shortcomings of these arrangements. Something more adequate was needed to organize the international system.