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European Union Overview

European Union Overview

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The European Union Market and Institutional Actors
The European Union Market and Institutional Actors

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Published by: EU Chamber Of Commerce in Canada-West on Oct 31, 2012
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The European Union Market and the Institutional actors

Mattia Dalle Vedove

The EUROPEAN UNION

The European Union (EU) is unique. It is not a federal state like the United States of America because its member countries remain independent sovereign nations.

Nor is it a purely intergovernmental organisation like the United Nations because the member countries do pool some of their sovereignty — and thus gain much greater collective strength and influence than they could have acting individually.

The EU institutions

European Council (summit)

European Parliament

Council of Ministers (The Council)

European Commission

Court of Justice

Court of Auditors

Economic and Social Committee

Committee of the Regions

European Investment Bank

Agencies

European Central Bank

The 3 main actors of the legislative process

The European Parliament – Voice of the Citizens
The Council of the EU – Voice of the Member States

The European Commission – promoting the European Interest

The European Commission – promoting the common interest

27 independent members, one from each EU country
4 Proposes new legislation 4 Executive organ 4 Guardian of the treaties 4 Represents the EU on the international stage

The European Parliament – voice of the people

4 Decides EU laws and budget together with Council of Ministers 4 Democratic supervision of all the EU’s work
Number of members elected in each country (January 2012)
19 22 Finland

Austria Belgium
Bulgaria

13 74 99 22
22 12 73

Latvia Lithuania
Luxembourg

9 12

Romania
Slovakia

33
13

France
Germany

18 6 22
13

6 6
26 51

Slovenia Spain
Sweden

8 54
20

Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia

Greece Hungary
Ireland Italy

Malta Netherlands
Poland Portugal

United Kingdom 72 Total
753

6

22

The European political parties

Number of seats in the European Parliament per political group (January 2012)

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe 84 Greens/European Free Alliance 58

European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) 271

Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats 190

European United Left - Nordic Green Left 34

Total : 753

European Conservatives and Reformists 53 Europe of Freedom and Democracy 33 Non-attached members 30

Council of Ministers – voice of the member states

4One minister from each EU country 4Presidency: rotates every six months
4Decides EU laws and budget together

with Parliament 4Manages the common foreign and security policy

Council of Ministers – number of votes per country

Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom Spain and Poland
Romania

29 27 14 13 12 10 7 4 3
345

Netherlands
Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Portugal

Austria, Bulgaria and Sweden Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Finland Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia Malta
Total:

“Qualified majority” needed for many decisions: 255 votes and a majority of member states From 2014: 55% of the Member States with 65% of the population

How EU laws are made

Citizens, interest groups, experts: discuss, consult

Commission: makes formal proposal

Parliament and Council of Ministers: decide jointly

National or local authorities: implement

Commission and Court of Justice: monitor implementation

THE THREE MAIN TYPES OF COMPETENCES

Exclusive competences: the EU alone is able to legislate and adopt binding acts in these fields. The Member States’ role is therefore limited to applying these acts
Shared competences: the EU and Member States are authorised to adopt binding acts. However, Member States may exercise their competence only in so far as the EU has not exercised, or has decided not to exercise, its own competence; Supporting competences : the EU has no legislative power in these fields and may not interfere in the exercise of these competences reserved for Member States.

EU as a Trade Player

Trade Policy
Trade policy is an exclusive power of the EU – so only the EU, and not individual member states, can legislate on trade matters and conclude international trade agreements. The scope of EU's exclusive powers covers not just trade in goods, but also in services commercial aspects of intellectual property and foreign direct investment. The EU has exclusive powers in some other areas which may also be relevant for trade policy, such as transport, capital movements, etc. Commissioner for TRADE Policy Mr Karel De Gucht

The EU in the negotiating process - HOW
The European Commission (via the Directorate General for Trade) negotiates - On behalf of the 27 Member States - Regular reporting to the Council and the EP

The Council (EU governments) co-decides - Directives for negotiations - Follows the negotiation process - Council approve the results of the negotiation (generally by qualified majority) – sometimes MS ratify as well

The European Parliament (EP) co-decides - EP co-decides with the Council on trade legislations (except negotiating directives) - EP gives consent on agreements

The EU – a major trading power

Share of world trade in goods (2007)

Share of world t rade in services (2007)

EU 17%

EU 28.5%

Others 53.2%

United States 14.5%

Others 40.6%

Japan 5.8% China 9.5%
China 5.9% Japan 6.8%

United States 18.2%

EU trading partners

Source DG TRADE European Commission

Enlargement: from six to 27 countries

1952

1973

1981

1986

1990

1995

2004

2007

The European Union: 500 million people – 27 countries

Member states of the European Union
Candidate and potential candidate countries

The sub-national level (NUTS)

23 official languages

Candidate and potential candidate countries

(1000 km²) Croatia; EU member 2013
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Area

Population
(million) 4.4
3.8

(gross domestic product per person) 15 200
7 400

Wealth

56
51

Montenegro Iceland
Kosovo under UN Security Resolution 1244

13 100
11 25

0.6 0.3
2.2 2.1

10 500 28 100
: 9 100

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Albania
Serbia Turkey The 27 EU countries together

27
77 770

3.2
7.3 73.7

6 500
8 300 13 000

4 234

502

25 200

EU population in the world

1215

1354

500

318 35 143

EU

Canada

USA

India

China

Russia

The EU GDP in the world

The Single Market

The single market is all about bringing down barriers and simplifying existing rules to enable everyone in the EU – individuals, consumers and businesses – to make the most of the opportunities offered to them by having direct access to 27 countries and 500 million people.
The cornerstones of the single market are the 4 FREEDOMS:

the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

Individuals: the right to live, work, study or retire in another EU country Consumers: increased competition leading to lower prices, a wider choice of things to buy and higher levels of protection Businesses: much easier and cheaper to do business across borders

External dimension of the Single Market Policy

Virtually all Internal Market policies carry to some degree an “international dimension” ex. financial services, intellectual property, public procurement, postal services, professional services. All these policies, including the underlying Internal Market principles, need adequate and consistent consideration in the negotiation of international agreements, notably in the context of enlargement and in regulatory dialogues with third countries both at bilateral and multilateral level.

EU industries – the role of SMEs

EU policy for SMEs

The current package of directives on public procurement is designed to reduce the administrative burden and costs related to tendering, make procurement systems more transparent and easier for SMEs (in particular) to access, and to encourage the use of information technology systems (e-procurement) to simplify the process.
New Directive Proposal currently under negotiation art. 44: the division of the contracts in lots is encouraged in order to facilitate the access of the SMEs

SMALL BUSINESS ACT
Adopted in June 2008, the Small Business Act for Europe reflects the Commission's political will to recognise the central role of SMEs in the EU economy and for the first time puts into place a comprehensive SME policy framework for the EU and its Member States. It aims to improve the overall approach to entrepreneurship, permanently anchor the 'Think Small First' principle in policy making from regulation to public service, and to promote SMEs' growth by helping them tackle the remaining problems which hamper their development.
An SME Test for new pieces of legislation in different sectors is performed in order to assess the impact on the Small Business.

New Multiannual Financial Framework

The Commission has proposed an overall ceiling of €1 033 billion under five headings: Smart and inclusive growth: 48% Sustainable growth: natural resources: 37% Global Europe: 7% Administration: 6% Security and citizenship: 2%
The commitment ceiling amounts to 1.08% of EU gross national income (GNI) compared to 1.12% for the 2007-2013 MFF.

The ceiling for payments equates to 1.03% of EU gross national income (GNI) compared to 1.06% for 2007-2013.
From Customs, VAT and Countries Payments.

MFF Breakdown 2014 -2020

Agriculture and rural development – total proposed budget: €386.9bn Economic, social and territorial cohesion – total proposed budget: €376bn Employment and social affairs – total proposed budget: €88.3bn

Research and innovation – total proposed budget: €80bn
External action – total proposed budget: €70bn Infrastructure – 'Connecting Europe' facility – total proposed budget: 40bn Education and culture – total proposed budget: €16.8bn Health and consumers – total proposed budget: €2.75bn Competitiveness and SMEs – total proposed budget: €2.4bn Environment (LIFE+ programme) – total proposed budget: €2.4bn
In the EU funding programmes ad hoc thresholds for SMEs participation are set.

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