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European Union

History &
Current Issues

What is the EU?

The EU is an organization of 28
European countries that promotes
economic and political cooperation
among its members.
This international organization has
been successful in creating a single
economic market without internal
barriers to trade and investment.

History of EU

The European Coal & Steel Community

After WWII (1945), Jean Monnet, a French
statesman, promoted the idea of gradually
uniting the democratic European nations
The ECSC united its six member nations in a
single common market for the production and
trade of coal, steel, iron ore and scrap metal.
As a result, all trade barriers were abolished
between France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The
Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Success Leads to EEC

European Economic Community

The experiment of the ECSC was so
successful that the six members decided
to apply the same model of cooperation
to their entire economies.
After the EEC was formed in 1957,
gradually new members were added:

Denmark, Ireland & United Kingdom (1973)

Greece (1981), Spain & Portugal (1986)
Austria, Finland an Sweden (1995)

Current EU Member States

United Kingdom


Czech Republic

Pending: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Republic of

Macedonia, Serbia & Turkey

of the

Organizational Structure

The EU has a unique structure; it was created by

and is composed of sovereign countries.
Yet it is more than an international organization
since it has common institutions similar to those
of a national government that can enact and
implement laws throughout the EU territory.
These institutions formulate Europes common
policies on trade, agriculture, transportation
and environment.
All of these economic activities are funded by an
EU budget.

Five Institutions of the EU

European Parliament (EP)


European Commission (Commission)


The Council of Ministers (CM)


The European Council (EC)


European Court of Justice (EU Court)


European Parliament (EP)

Similar to the US House of Rep, over 700

members based on country population
Europe-wide elections: 5 year term
Based in Strasbourg, France and offices in
Brussels, Belgium
Despites its name, it cannot pass laws.
Rather, it debates proposals of the
Commission and advises the Commission
and the CM.
Powers are strongest in budget matters, an area
in which it can sometimes veto a proposal of the
Commission. Also, Parliament can expel the
entire commission by a 2/3 vote.

European Commission

20 commissioners, similar to US minister

or Secretary of affairs
Based on EU portfolio issues: trade,
agriculture, external relations economics
and finance, or environment
5 Year Term, Headquarters in Brussels
Manages the day-to-day running of the
EU. Drafts new legislation, implements EU
policies and sees that EU laws are being
properly applied. Negotiate international
agreements/treaties on the EUs behalf,
and monitors the EUs budget.

The Council of Ministers (CM)

Similar to the US Senate, 27 members

However, the minister for each nation is
not the same for every meeting. Rather,
each nation sends its minister who is most
familiar with the topic at hand (EX defense
minister for foreign policy, Agriculture for crop $)

The Council can adopt laws, can conclude

agreements and take
foreign policy decisions,
& admit new members.
Meets twice a year to
make big decisions
about the EUs future.

The European Council (EC)

EUs Supreme Political Body, establishes its overall goals.

Consists of the heads of state of each EU nation.
The chairperson of the council is the leader of the country
that holds the presidency of the union.
Each member nation serves as president of the union for
six months in rotation.
Issues guidelines for all
EU policies.
The council meets at
least twice a year.
Each meeting is held in
the capital of the country
that holds the presidency,
or in Brussels.

European Court of Justice

The EUs Supreme Court is in Luxembourg

Decides on whether actions of the
Commission, The CM, member.
governments, and private organizations
comply with the rules of the EU.
Courts decisions are final and binding
13 Judges are chosen by unanimous
agreement of the member countries.
Judges serve six-year terms.

Five Main Goals of EU

1. Promote economic and social progress.
2. Speak for the European Union on the
international issues.
3. Introduce European citizenship.
4. Develop Europe as an area of freedom, security
and justice.
5. Maintain and build on established EU laws.

Goal #1

Promote economic & social progress

Help people earn enough money and get
treated fairly.

Goal #2

Speak for the EU on international

By working as a group the EU hopes
that Europe will be listened to more by
other countries.

Goal #3

Introduce European citizenship.

Anyone from a member state is a
citizen of the EU and gets four
special rights.

Four EU Member Rights





Freedom to move between countries of the EU

and to live in any nation in the Union.
The right to vote and stand in local
government and European Parliament
elections in the country you live in.
If you are traveling outside the EU, and your
own country does not have an embassy, you can
go to the embassy of any other EU country.
The right to put your side of the story to the
European Ombudsman if you think the EU has
not acted fairly.

Goal #4

Develop Europe as an area of

freedom, security and justice.
Help Europeans to live in safety, without
the threat of war.

Goal #5

Maintain & build established EU laws.

Make laws that protect peoples rights in
the member countries.

Common Currency: Euro

The Euro replaced EU member currency starting in 1999

and became the official EU currency as of 2002.
Member nations design their own euros to reflect their
nations culture & sovereignty.
The United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark are all
members of the European Union but have not adopted the
Euro. (Switzerland and Norway are not EU members)

Each member
country prints
Euro coins/
paper bills to
reflect their
All euros are
accepted in
countries and
are equal in

EUs Future and Current Issues

Stability of the Euro/Finance

Eastern Europe
Allowing Balkan Countries/Turkey into
the EU
Relations with Ukraine/Russia