The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state. [279] The European Green Capital is an annual award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy efficiency, and quality of life in urban areas to create smart city. It was created after World War II as a way to ensure peace between European nations. In 1992, having negotiated the structure and procedures of a currency union, the member states signed the Maastricht Treaty and were legally bound to fulfil the agreed-on rules including the convergence criteria if they wanted to join the monetary union. [108], Besides the 24 official languages, there are about 150 regional and minority languages, spoken by up to 50 million people. [201], Switzerland was called to vote on whether to end the agreement with European Union on the free movement of people, in September 2020. (German version pictured), A European driving licence card (Croatian version pictured), A European passport, displaying the name of the member state, the national arms and the words "European Union" given in their official language(s). They also signed another pact creating the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for co-operation in developing nuclear energy. To achieve this, it preserves the free movement of … [78] A referendum in the UK on its membership of the European Union was held in 2016, with 51.9% of participants voting to leave. They are most often used in competition law, or on rulings on State Aid, but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. Kiljunen, Kimmo (2004). [135] Generally speaking, they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures (regulations) and those which specifically require national implementation measures (directives).[136]. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the European Communities, the predecessors of the present Union, in 1986. Furthermore, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, as well as the source of law for the Charter of Fundamental Rights are created by the Council of Europe. Formed in 1949, the Council of Europe is completely separate from the European Union and much larger, with 47 members compared to the EU’s 28. The European Union (EU) consists of a group of countries that acts as one economic unit in the world economy. The political system is a Federal Parliamentary Rep… [195] The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. 65,993 km (41,006 mi) coastline dominates the European climate (Natural Park of Penyal d'Ifac, Spain), Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU, The Danube (pictured in Budapest), is the longest river in the European Union, Repovesi National Park in Finland, where there are some 187,888 lakes larger than 500 square metres (5,382 sq ft), Nuorgam, a village in the Utsjoki municipality, is the northernmost point of the European Union, Including the overseas territories of France which are located outside the continent of Europe, but which are members of the union, the EU experiences most types of climate from Arctic (north-east Europe) to tropical (French Guiana), rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. "[177], In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. [56] This community helped to economically integrate and coordinate the large number of Marshall Plan funds from the United States. [15] Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of … Competence in scrutinising and amending legislation is shared between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, while executive tasks are performed by the European Commission and in a limited capacity by the European Council (not to be confused with the aforementioned Council of the European Union). These legislative instruments are dealt with in more detail. Similar to how the U.N. was organized, in order to ensure a peaceful and more harmonious world, the Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) are two distinct bodies that were created for Europe and its member nations to prosper. [54] The 1948 Hague Congress was a pivotal moment in European federal history, as it led to the creation of the European Movement International and of the College of Europe, where Europe's future leaders would live and study together.[55]. [173] Because of the doctrines of direct effect and supremacy, many judgments of the Court of Justice are automatically applicable within the internal legal orders of the member states. Financing European development cooperation: the Financial Perspectives 2014–2020. Lobbying at EU level by special interest groups is regulated to try to balance the aspirations of private initiatives with public interest decision-making process.[141]. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council. [281], In 2017, the EU emitted 9.1% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. In the Elections to the European Parliament in 2019, the green parties increased their power, possibly because of the rise of post materialist values. The currency union represents 342 million EU citizens. [247] The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone, and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. [129] [216] The European Development Fund (EDF, €22.7 billion for the period 2008–2013 and €30.5 billion for the period 2014–2020) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight. [58] These men and others are officially credited as the founding fathers of the European Union. [130], The EU's population is highly urbanised, with some 75% of inhabitants living in urban areas as of 2006. [229], The European Union has concluded free trade agreements (FTAs)[230] and other agreements with a trade component with many countries worldwide and is negotiating with many others. These first established the European Community and the EU, and then made amendments to those founding treaties. [49] His ideas influenced his contemporaries, among which then Prime Minister of France Aristide Briand. The European Constitution in the Making. [322], The MEDIA Programme of the European Union has supported the European popular film and audiovisual industries since 1991. The monetary policy of the eurozone is determined by the European Central Bank. [67] In 1986, the European flag began to be used by the EEC[68] and the Single European Act was signed. This is reflected in the fact that the member states remain the 'masters of the Treaties', retaining control over the allocation of competences to the Union through constitutional change (thus retaining so-called Kompetenz-kompetenz); in that they retain control of the use of armed force; they retain control of taxation; and in that they retain a right of unilateral withdrawal from the Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. and Upper Silesian area (Katowice, Ostrava et al.). Demographic transition to a society of aging population, low fertility-rates and depopulation of non-metropolitan regions is tackled within this policies. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally. [185], Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs; initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. Examples of such alliances include the Visegrad Group, Benelux, the Baltic Assembly, the New Hanseatic League, the Weimar Triangle, the Lublin Triangle, EU Med Group and the Craiova Group. In higher education, the policy was developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. It convenes at least four times a year and comprises the President of the European Council (currently Charles Michel), the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state (either its head of state or head of government). MEPs are elected on a national basis and they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. [165][166], EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. [y] By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.[z]. The largest groups were nationals of Morocco, Albania, India, Turkey and Pakistan. The budget may still be approved if Hungary and Poland withdraw their vetos after further negotiations in the Council and the European Council. Such regions are primarily located in the states of central and southern Europe. "[328] However, R. Daniel Kelemen argues that the EU has proved beneficial to leaders who are overseeing democratic backsliding, as the EU is reluctant to intervene in domestic politics, gives authoritarian governments funds which they can use to strengthen their regimes, and because freedom of movement within the EU allows dissenting citizens to leave their backsliding countries. EU is not the Council of Europe, the 47-member grouping that includes all EU countries and is Europe’s leading human rights organisation The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions. In some policies, there are several member states that ally with strategic partners within the Union. The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. The 705 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. [105] The three official alphabets of the European Union (Cyrillic, Latin, and modern Greek) all derive from the Archaic Greek scripts. The non-EU member states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union. [131], Several overseas territories and dependencies of various member states are also formally part of the EU. (Slovak version pictured). The President of the European Parliament (currently David Sassoli) carries out the role of speaker in Parliament and represents it externally. [183] Any EU citizen or entity may appeal to the ombudsman to investigate an EU institution on the grounds of maladministration (administrative irregularities, unfairness, discrimination, abuse of power, failure to reply, refusal of information or unnecessary delay). [45] The term United States of Europe (French: États-Unis d'Europe) was used at that time by Victor Hugo (1802–1885) during a speech at the International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849: A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood ... A day will come when we shall see ... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas. International recognition of sustainable development as a key element is growing steadily. [324], The European Union has contributed to peace in Europe, in particular by pacifying border disputes,[325][326] and to the spread of democracy, especially by encouraging democratic reforms in aspiring Eastern European member states after the collapse of the USSR. The UK’s membership of the Council would be unaffected if it left the EU. In 2007, member states agreed that, in the future, 20% of the energy used across the EU must be renewable, and carbon dioxide emissions have to be lower in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels. The EU has also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The EU has also sought to coordinate the social security and health systems of member states to facilitate individuals exercising free movement rights and to ensure they maintain their ability to access social security and health services in other member states. [142] It is actively involved in the negotiation of treaty changes and defines the EU's policy agenda and strategies. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty. It has been described by some as the Union's "supreme political authority". News. 21–26. Originally confined to western Europe, the EU undertook a robust expansion into central … The European Union creates stability because all of the nations belonging to the agreement (or NATO) work together for their mutual good. [292] A directive on cross-border healthcare aims at promoting co-operation on health care between member states and facilitating access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare for European patients. [299] Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 seven-year programme,[299] the European Cultural Month event,[300] and orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra. Schmitter, Comparative Politics: Its Past, Present and Future (2016), 1 Chinese Political Science Review, 397, at 410, "European Union is the most complex polity in the world". [280], Proposals to reach a zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 were suggested in 2018 - 2019. It consists of an, EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing. [159] The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions. There is a strong dependence on Russian energy that the EU has been attempting to reduce. [77], From the beginning of the 2010s, the cohesion of the European Union has been tested by several issues, including a debt crisis in some of the Eurozone countries, increasing migration from Africa and Asia, and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU. More than half (56%) of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. Theresa May rebukes Boris Johnson as UK welcomes Biden era. [222], The European Union is the largest exporter in the world[226] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services. In 2010 the estimated network covers: 75,200 kilometres (46,700 mi) of roads; 78,000 kilometres (48,000 mi) of railways; 330 airports; 270 maritime harbours; and 210 internal harbours.[256][257]. The Parliament is the final body to approve or reject the proposed membership of the commission, and can attempt motions of censure on the commission by appeal to the Court of Justice. [311] Christians in the European Union are divided among members of Catholicism (both Roman and Eastern Rite), numerous Protestant denominations (Anglicans, Lutherans, and Reformed forming the bulk of this category), and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Social security main legislation is found in the Equal Treatment in Occupational Social Security Directive 86/378, the Equal Treatment in Social Security Directive 79/7/EEC, the Social Security Regulation 1408/71/EC and 883/2004/EC and the Directive 2005/36/EC. The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union between 27 European countries. In 2012, its budget amounted to €874 million, 51% of the budget went to Africa and 20% to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, and 20% to the Middle East and Mediterranean. At the same time, the union provides an external constraint that prevents soft authoritarian regimes from progressing into hard dictatorships. [163] The European Commission estimated in 2009 that the financial effect of irregularities was €1,863 million. The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. This lacuna has been addressed by the recently passed Directive on services in the internal market which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services. [245] According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised. [73][74], In 2012, the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize for having "contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe. The Lisbon Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions. "[48] During the same decade, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first to imagine of a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. In 2002, the currency was fully put into place, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone, which by then consisted of 12 member states. [175] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law. Almost all member states supported that goal at an EU summit in June 2019. [218] If considered collectively, EU member states are the largest contributor of foreign aid in the world.[219][220]. [207], Since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, France is the only member officially recognised as a nuclear weapon state and the sole holder of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The commission has named one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. an international organization made up of the voluntary association of 28 Member States with 23 official languages. [233], 19 member states have joined a monetary union known as the eurozone, which uses the euro as a single currency. 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