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European Union

EU redirects here. For other uses, see EU (disam- and the G-20. Because of its global inuence, the Eubiguation).
ropean Union has been described as a current or as a
potential superpower.[24]
The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic
union of 28 member states that are located primarily
in Europe.[11][12] It covers an area of 4,324,782 km2 , 1 History
with an estimated population of over 508 million. It
operates through a hybrid system of supranational and Main articles: History of the European Union and
intergovernmental decision-making.[13][14] Its institutions History of Europe
are: the European Council, the Council of the European
Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the
European Central Bank, and the European Court of Au- 1.1 Preliminary (194557)
The EU has developed an internal single market through
a standardised system of laws that apply in all member
states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have
been abolished.[15] EU policies aim to ensure the free
movement of people, goods, services, and capital,[16] enact legislation in justice and home aairs, and maintain
common policies on trade,[17] agriculture,[18] sheries,
and regional development.[19] The monetary union was
established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002. It
is currently composed of 19 member states that use the
euro as their legal tender.
The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and
Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic
Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in
1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the
community and its successors have grown in size by the
accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty
established the European Union under its current name in
1993 and introduced European citizenship.[20] The latest
major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU,
the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Robert Schuman proposing the Coal and Steel Community on 9

May 1950.

After World War II, European integration was seen as

an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated the continent.[25] 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 Europes future leaders
would live and study together.[26] 1952 saw the creation of
the European Coal and Steel Community, which was declared to be a rst step in the federation of Europe.[27]
The supporters of the Community included Alcide De
Gasperi, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Paul-Henri

Covering 7.3% of the world population,[21] the EU in

2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP)
of 18.495 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately
24% of global nominal GDP and 17% when measured
in terms of purchasing power parity.[22] Additionally, 26
out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the UNDP. In 2012, the EU was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[23] Through the Common
Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role
in external relations and defence. The union maintains 1.2 Treaty of Rome (195792)
permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and
represents itself at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8, In 1957, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands and West Germany signed the Treaty of


In 1973, the Communities enlarged to include Denmark

(including Greenland, which later left the Community in
1985, following a dispute over shing rights), Ireland, and
the United Kingdom.[34] Norway had negotiated to join at
the same time, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum. In 1979, the rst direct elections to
the European Parliament were held.[35]
Greece joined in 1981, Portugal and Spain following in
1986.[36] In 1985, the Schengen Agreement paved the
way for the creation of open borders without passport
controls between most member states and some nonmember states.[37] In 1986, the European ag began to
be used by the Community[38] and the Single European
Act was signed.
The continental territories of the member states of the European
Union (European Communities pre-1993), coloured in order of

In 1990, after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the former

East Germany became part of the Community as part of a
reunied Germany.[39] With further enlargement planned
to include the former communist states, as well as Cyprus
Rome, which created the European Economic Commu- and Malta, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate memnity (EEC) and established a customs union. They also bers to join the EU were agreed upon in June 1993.
signed another pact creating the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for co-operation in devel1.3 Maastricht Treaty (1992present)
oping nuclear energy. Both treaties came into force in
The EEC and Euratom were created separately from
ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the
Common Assembly. The EEC was headed by Walter
Hallstein (Hallstein Commission) and Euratom was
headed by Louis Armand (Armand Commission) and
then tienne Hirsch. Euratom was to integrate sectors in
nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs
union among members.[29][30]
Through the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France
seeking to limit supranational power. Nevertheless, in
1965 an agreement was reached and on 1 July 1967 the
Merger Treaty created a single set of institutions for the
three communities, which were collectively referred to as
the European Communities.[31][32] Jean Rey presided over The euro was introduced in 2002, replacing 12 national currencies. Seven countries have since joined.
the rst merged Commission (Rey Commission).[33]
The European Union was formally established when the
Maastricht Treatywhose main architects were Helmut
Kohl and Franois Mitterrandcame into force on 1
November 1993.[20] The treaty also gave the name
European Community to the EEC, even if it was referred
as such before the treaty. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and
Sweden joined the EU. In 2002, euro banknotes and coins
replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states.
Since then, the eurozone has increased to encompass
19 countries. In 2004, the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and
Slovenia joined the Union.[40] In 2007, Romania and
Bulgaria became EU members. The same year, Slovenia
adopted the euro,[40] followed in 2008 by Cyprus and
In 1989, the Iron Curtain fell, enabling the union to expand fur- Malta, by Slovakia in 2009, by Estonia in 2011, by Latvia
ther (Berlin Wall pictured).
in 2014 and by Lithuania in 2015.


Member states

Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU.

2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force.

On 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into

force and reformed many aspects of the EU. In particular, it changed the legal structure of the European Union,
merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with a legal personality, created a permanent President of the European Council, the rst of which
was Herman Van Rompuy, and strengthened the position
of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.[41] 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."[42][43] In 2013, Croatia became the 28th
EU member.[44][45][46]

The EUs member states cover an area of 4,423,147

square kilometres (1,707,787 sq mi).[lower-alpha 3] The
EUs highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps,
4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level.[47] The lowest points in the EU are Lammefjorden, Denmark and
Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands, at 7 m (23 ft) below sea
level.[48] The landscape, climate, and economy of the EU
are inuenced by its coastline, which is 65,993 kilometres
(41,006 mi) long.
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 Guyana), rendering meteorological averages
for the EU as a whole meaningless. The majority of
the population lives in areas with a temperate maritime
climate (North-Western Europe and Central Europe), a
Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe), or a warm
summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Northern
Balkans and Central Europe).[49]

The EUs population is highly urbanised, with some 75%

of inhabitants (and growing, projected to be 90% in seven
member states by 2020) living in urban areas. Cities are
Main article: Treaties of the European Union
largely spread out across the EU, although with a large
grouping in and around the Benelux. An increasing perThe following timeline illustrates the integration that has centage of this is due to low density urban sprawl which
led to the formation of the present union, in terms of is extending into natural areas. In some cases, this urban growth has been due to the inux of EU funds into a
structural development driven by international treaties:


Structural evolution

2.1 Member states


Main article: Geography of the European Union

Main article: Member state of the European Union

Through successive enlargements, the European Union
has grown from the six founding statesBelgium,
France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the
Netherlandsto the current 28. Countries accede to the
union by becoming party to the founding treaties, thereby
subjecting themselves to the privileges and obligations
of EU membership. This entails a partial delegation of
sovereignty to the institutions in return for representation
within those institutions, a practice often referred to as
pooling of sovereignty.[51][52]

The 65,993 km (41,006 mi) coastline dominates the To become a member, a country must meet the
European climate (Cyprus).
Copenhagen criteria, dened at the 1993 meeting of the


Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries

and territories and outermost regions.

European Council in Copenhagen. These require a stable

democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law;
a functioning market economy; and the acceptance of the
obligations of membership, including EU law. Evaluation of a countrys fullment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council.[53] No member state has
ever left the Union, although Greenland (an autonomous
province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985.[54] The Lisbon
Treaty now contains a clause providing for a member to
leave the EU.[55]
There are six countries that are recognized as
candidates for membership:
Albania, Iceland,
Macedonia,[lower-alpha 4] Montenegro, Serbia, and
Turkey,[56] though Iceland suspended negotiations in
2013.[57] Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are
ocially recognised as potential candidates,[56] with
Bosnia and Herzegovina having submitted a membership

Viru Bog in Lahemaa National Park in Estonia, a protected habitat under the Habitats Directive

and biotechnology.[63] According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions,
making environmental policy a core area of European
European policy-makers originally increased the EUs capacity to act on environmental issues by dening it as a
trade problem.[65] Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state.[66]
In subsequent years, the environment became a formal
policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was
established with the introduction of the Single European
Act in 1987.[64]

The four countries forming the European Free Trade

Association (EFTA) are not EU members, but have
partly committed to the EUs economy and regulations:
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part
of the single market through the European Economic
Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through
bilateral treaties.[58][59] The relationships of the European
microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the
Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of cooperation.[60] The following 28 sovereign states (of which
the map only shows territories situated in and around Europe) constitute the European Union:[61]



Further information: European Commissioner for the

Environment and European Climate Change Programme
In 1957, when the EEC was founded, it had no environmental policy.[62] Over the past 50 years, an increasingly
dense network of legislation has been created, extending
to all areas of environmental protection, including air pollution, water quality, waste management, nature conservation, and the control of chemicals, industrial hazards

A black stork, a protected species under Regulation (EC) No.


Initially, EU environmental policy focused on Europe.

More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in
global environmental governance, e.g. the role of the EU
in securing the ratication and coming into force of the
Kyoto Protocol despite opposition from the United States.
This international dimension is reected in the EUs Sixth
Environmental Action Programme,[67] which recognises
that its objectives can only be achieved if key interna-



tional agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. The Lisbon
Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions.[68]
EU law has played a signicant role in improving habitat
and species protection in Europe, as well as contributing to improvements in air and water quality and waste
Mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities
of EU environmental policy. In 2007, member states
agreed that, in 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.[69] The EU has adopted an emissions
trading system to incorporate carbon emissions into the
economy.[70] The European Green Capital is an annual
award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy eciency and quality of life in urban areas to create
smart city.


Main article: Politics of the European Union

The European Union operates according to the principles
of conferral (which says that it should act only within
the limits of the competences conferred on it by the
treaties) and of subsidiarity (which says that it should act
only where an objective cannot be suciently achieved
by the member states acting alone). Laws made by the
EU institutions are passed in a variety of forms. Generally speaking, they can be classied into two groups:
those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures (regulations) and those
which specically require national implementation measures (directives).[71]


Constitutional nature

constitutional law has been much debated. It began life

as an international organisation and gradually developed
into a confederation of states. However, since the mid1960s it has also added several of the key attributes of a
federation, such as the direct eect of the law of the general level of government upon the individual[72] and majority voting in the decision-making process of the general level of government,[73] without becoming a federation per se. Scholars thus today see it as an intermediate
form lying between a confederation and a federation, being an instance of neither political structure.[74] For this
reason, the organisation is termed sui generis (incomparable, one of a kind),[75] although some argue that this
designation is no longer valid.[76][77]
The organisation has traditionally used the terms Community and later Union to describe itself. The diculties of classication involve the dierence between national law (where the subjects of the law include natural
persons and corporations) and international law (where
the subjects include sovereign states and international organizations). They can also be seen in the light of diering European and American constitutional traditions.[76]
Especially in terms of the European tradition, the term
federation is equated with a sovereign federal state in
international law; so the EU cannot be called a federation at least, not without qualication. It is, however,
described as being based on a federal model or federal
in nature; and so it may be appropriate to consider it a
federal union of states, a conceptual structure lying between the confederation of states and the federal state.[78]
The German Constitutional Court refers to the EU as
a Staatenverbund, an intermediate structure between a
Staatenbund (confederation of states) and a Bundesstaat
(federal state), consistent with this concept.[79] This may
be a long-lived political form. Andrew Moravcsik claims
that the EU is unlikely to develop further into a federal
state, but instead has reached maturity as a constitutional

3.2 Governance

Further information: Treaties of the European Union

The classication of the EU in terms of international or Main articles: Institutions of the European Union and
Legislature of the European Union
National Parliaments

National Governments

Heads of
state / government

Central Bank

European Court
of Auditors

European Court
of Justice

of Ministers








Enfranchised people (according to the electoral laws of each country)

Legislative branch

elects / appoints / decides on 1: Elections are every 5 years. The right to vote may be dierent depending on the country

Executive branch


Judicial branch


2: State chamber. Convenes in varying composition depending on the policy area.

Each country is represented by one member per department
3: Each country is represented by one member
4: The European Central Bank is composed of representatives of the national central banks.
Its Board is elected by the European Council on the proposal of the Council of Ministers

Political system of the European Union

The European Union has seven institutions: the European

Council, the Council of the European Union, the
European Parliament, the European Commission, the
Court of Justice of the European Union, the European
Central Bank and the European Court of Auditors. 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). The
monetary policy of the eurozone is determined by the European Central Bank. The interpretation and the applica-


tion of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of

Justice of the European Union. The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. There are also
a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specic area.
Institutions of the European Union [81]

Tasks for the President of the European Council are ensuring the external representation of the EU,[84] driving consensus and resolving divergences among member
states, both during meetings of the European Council and
over the periods between them.
The European Council should not be mistaken for the
Council of Europe, an international organisation independent of the EU based in Strasbourg.


over controversial issues and policies. It acts externally as a "collective head of state" and raties important documents (for example, international agreements
and treaties).[83]

European Council

3.2.2 Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union (also called the
Council[85] and the Council of Ministers, its former
title)[86] forms one half of the EUs legislature. It consists
of a government minister from each member state and
meets in dierent compositions depending on the policy
area being addressed. Notwithstanding its dierent congurations, it is considered to be one single body.[87] In
addition to its legislative functions, the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common
Foreign and Security Policy.
3.2.3 European Parliament

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk

The hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

The European Council gives political direction to the

EU. It convenes at least four times a year and comprises
the President of the European Council (currently Donald
Tusk), the President of the European Commission and
one representative per member state (either its head of
state or head of government). The High Representative
of the Union for Foreign Aairs and Security Policy (currently Federica Mogherini) also takes part in its meetings.
It has been described by some as the Unions supreme
political authority.[82] It is actively involved in the negotiation of treaty changes and denes the EUs policy
agenda and strategies.

The European Parliament forms the other half of the EUs

legislature. The 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every
ve years on the basis of proportional representation. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality.
Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into
sub-national constituencies where this does not aect the
proportional nature of the voting system.[88]

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas unThe European Council uses its leadership role to sort der the ordinary legislative procedure. This also applies
out disputes between member states and the institu- to the EU budget. The European Commission is accounttions, and to resolve political crises and disagreements able to Parliament, requiring its approval to take oce,



having to report back to it and subject to motions of cen- 3.3 Budget

sure from it. The President of the European Parliament
(currently Martin Schulz) carries out the role of speaker Main article: Budget of the European Union
in Parliament and represents it externally. The President
and Vice-Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and
a half years.[89]


European Commission

The 2011 EU budget (141.9 bn)[91]

Cohesion and competitiveness for growth and employment (45%)
Direct aids and market related expenditures (31%)
Rural development (11%)
EU as a global partner (6%)
Administration (6%)
Citizenship, freedom, security and justice (1%)
The EU had an agreed budget of 120.7 billion for
the year 2007 and 864.3 billion for the period 2007
2013,[92] representing 1.10% and 1.05% of the EU-27s
GNI forecast for the respective periods. By comparison, the United Kingdoms expenditure for 2004 was estimated to be 759 billion, and France was estimated to
have spent 801 billion. In 1960, the budget of the then
European Economic Community was 0.03% of GDP.[93]
Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker

In the 2010 budget of 141.5 billion, the largest single expenditure item is "cohesion & competitiveness"
with around 45% of the total budget.[94] Next comes
"agriculture" with approximately 31% of the total.[94]
"Rural development, environment and sheries" takes up
around 11%.[94] "Administration" accounts for around
6%.[94] The "EU as a global partner" and "citizenship,
freedom, security and justice" bring up the rear with approximately 6% and 1% respectively.[94]

The European Commission acts as the EUs executive

arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the
day-to-day running of the EU. The Commission is also
seen as the motor of European integration. It operates as
a cabinet government, with 28 Commissioners for dierent areas of policy, one from each member state, though
Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the The Court of Auditors is legally obliged to provide the
Parliament and the Council with a statement of assurEU as a whole rather than their home state.
One of the 28 is the President of the European Com- ance as to the reliability of the accounts and the[95]legalmission (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) appointed by the ity and regularity of the underlying transactions. The
proposals on nancial legisEuropean Council. After the President, the most promi- Court also gives opinions and[96]
The Parliament uses this
nent Commissioner is the High Representative of the
Commissions handling
Union for Foreign Aairs and Security Policy, who is exof
ocio a Vice-President of the Commission and is also
chosen by the European Council.[90] The other 26 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of
the European Union in agreement with the nominated
President. The 28 Commissioners as a single body are
subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.

The European Court of Auditors has signed o the European Union accounts every year since 2007 and, while
making it clear that the European Commission has more
work to do, has highlighted that most of the errors take
place at national level.[97][98] In their report on 2009


the auditors found that ve areas of Union expenditure,

agriculture and the cohesion fund, were materially affected by error.[99] The European Commission estimated
in 2009 that the nancial impact of irregularities was
1,863 million.[100]



EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed

to the European Union. In some areas the EU enjoys
exclusive competence. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation. In other areas the EU and its member states share
the competence to legislate. While both can legislate,
member states can only legislate to the extent to which
the EU has not. In other policy areas the EU can only
co-ordinate, support and supplement member state action
but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising
national laws.[101]
That a particular policy area falls into a certain category of competence is not necessarily indicative of
what legislative procedure is used for enacting legislation
within that policy area. Dierent legislative procedures
are used within the same category of competence, and
even with the same policy area.

The EU has legal personality, with the right to sign agreements and international treaties.[103]
Under the principle of supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states
have ratied, and thus the laws enacted under them,
even if doing so requires them to ignore conicting
national law, and (within limits) even constitutional
provisions.[lower-alpha 8]

4.1 Courts of Justice

The judicial branch of the EUformally called the Court
of Justice of the European Unionconsists of three
courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court, and the
European Union Civil Service Tribunal. Together they
interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the EU.[104]
The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by
member states, the institutions, and cases referred to it
by the courts of member states.[105] The General Court
mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EUs courts,[106] and the European
Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service.[107] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the
Court of Justice but only on a point of law.[108]

The distribution of competences in various policy areas

between Member States and the Union is divided in the
following three categories:

Fundamental rights

Legal system

Further information: European Union law, Treaties of the

European Union and Charter of Fundamental Rights of
the European Union
The EU is based on a series of treaties. These rst es-

The ceremony of the 1990 Sakharov Prize awarded to Aung

San Suu Kyi by Martin Schulz, inside the Parliaments Strasbourg
hemicycle, in 2013.

The Court of Justice, seated in Luxembourg.

The treaties declare that the EU itself is founded on the

values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy,
equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities ...
in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women
and men prevail.[109]

tablished the European Community and the EU, and then

made amendments to those founding treaties.[102] These
are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and
establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to
implement those goals. These legal powers include the In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave legal eect to the Charter
ability to enact legislation[lower-alpha 6] which can directly of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The charaect all member states and their inhabitants.[lower-alpha 7] ter is a codied catalogue of fundamental rights against

which the EUs legal acts can be judged. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by
the Court of Justice and derived from the constitutional
traditions common to the member states.[110] The Court
of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has,
on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.[111]
Although signing the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU
membership,[lower-alpha 9] previously, the EU itself
could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state[lower-alpha 10] nor had the competence to
accede.[lower-alpha 11] The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14
to the ECHR have changed this: the former binds the
EU to accede to the Convention while the latter formally
permits it.
Although, the EU is independent from Council of Europe, they share purpose and ideas especially on rule of
law, human rights and democracy. Further European
Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, the source of law of Charter of Fundamental Rights
are created by Council of Europe. The EU also promoted
human rights issues in the wider world. The EU opposes
the death penalty and has proposed its worldwide abolition. Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU

Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed

The borders inside the Schengen Area between Germany and


its competencies in the area of freedom, security and

justice, initially at an intergovernmental level and later
by supranationalism. To this end, agencies have been
established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol
for co-operation of police forces,[114] Eurojust for cooperation between prosecutors,[115] and Frontex for cooperation between border control authorities.[116] The EU
also operates the Schengen Information System[15] which
provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. This co-operation had to particularly
be developed with the advent of open borders through
4.3 Acts
the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border
The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: crime.
regulations, directives, and decisions. Regulations be- Furthermore, the Union has legislated in areas such
come law in all member states the moment they come as extradition,[117] family law,[118] asylum law,[119] and
into force, without the requirement for any implementing criminal justice.[120] Prohibitions against sexual and nameasures,[lower-alpha 12] and automatically override con- tionality discrimination have a long standing in the
icting domestic provisions.[lower-alpha 6] Directives require treaties.[lower-alpha 14] In more recent years, these have been
member states to achieve a certain result while leaving supplemented by powers to legislate against discriminathem discretion as to how to achieve the result. The de- tion based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual
tails of how they are to be implemented are left to mem- orientation.[lower-alpha 15] By virtue of these powers, the
ber states.[lower-alpha 13] When the time limit for imple- EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in
menting directives passes, they may, under certain con- the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimiditions, have direct eect in national law against member nation.[lower-alpha 16]
Decisions oer an alternative to the two above modes of
legislation. They are legal acts which only apply to specied individuals, companies or a particular member state.
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. Regulations, directives, and decisions are of equal legal value
and apply without any formal hierarchy.[113]

5 Foreign relations

Main articles: Foreign relations of the European Union,

Common Foreign and Security Policy and European External Action Service
Foreign policy co-operation between member states
dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957,
when member states negotiated as a bloc in international
trade negotiations under the Common Commercial pol4.4 Area of freedom, security and justice icy.[121] Steps for a more wide ranging co-ordination in
foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment
Further information: Area of freedom, security and jus- of European Political Cooperation which created an intice
formal consultation process between member states with



the EU is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Aairs and Security Policy who speaks on behalf
of the EU in foreign policy and defence matters, and
has the task of articulating the positions expressed by
the member states on these elds of policy into a common alignment. The High Representative heads up the
European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU
department[125] that has been ocially implemented and
operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of
the rst anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty
of Lisbon.[126] The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry
and diplomatic corps for the European Union.[127]
The EU participates in all G8 and G20 summits. (G20 summit in

Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union, the international inuence of the EU is also
felt through enlargement. The perceived benets of bethe aim of forming common foreign policies. It was not, coming a member of the EU act as an incentive for both
however, until 1987 when European Political Coopera- political and economic reform in states wishing to full
tion was introduced on a formal basis by the Single Eu- the EUs accession criteria, and are considered an imporreform of European forropean Act. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign tant factor contributing to the
This inuence on the
and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.
internal aairs of other countries is generally referred to
as "soft power", as opposed to military hard power.[129]

5.1 Military
Main article: Military of the European Union
The predecessors of the European Union were not

NATO Summit 2006 in Riga, Latvia.

devised as a military alliance because NATO was

largely seen as appropriate and sucient for deHigh Representative of the Union for Foreign Aairs and Security fence purposes.[130] 22 EU members are members of
Policy, Federica Mogherini
NATO[131] while the remaining member states follow
policies of neutrality.[132] The Western European Union,
The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EUs a military alliance with a mutual defence clause, was disown interests and those of the international community banded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the
as a whole, including the furtherance of international co- EU.[133]
operation, respect for human rights, democracy, and the According to the Stockholm International Peace Rerule of law.[123] The CFSP requires unanimity among search Institute (SIPRI), the United Kingdom spent $61
the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on billion on defence in 2014, placing it fth in the world,
any particular issue. The unanimity and dicult issues while France spent $53 billion, the sixth largest.[134] Totreated under the CFSP sometimes lead to disagreements, gether, the UK and France account for approximately 40
such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq.[124]
per cent of EUs defence budget and 50 per cent of its milThe coordinator and representative of the CFSP within itary capacity.[135] Both are ocially recognised nuclear


Collectively, the EU is the largest contributor of foreign aid in the

world. [140] [141]
An A400M military transport aircraft built by Airbus Group SE
(Societas Europaea; Latin: European company)

weapon states holding permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
Following the Kosovo War in 1999, the European Council agreed that the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the
means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in
order to respond to international crises without prejudice
to actions by NATO. To that end, a number of eorts
were made to increase the EUs military capability, notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. After much
discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to
deploy quickly about 1500 personnel.[136]
EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions
from middle and northern Africa to the western Balkans
and western Asia.[137] EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European
Defence Agency, European Union Satellite Centre and
the European Union Military Sta.[138] Frontex is an
agency of the EU established to manage the cooperation between national border guards securing its external
borders. It aims to detect and stop illegal immigration,
human tracking and terrorist inltration. In December
2015 the European Commission presented its proposal
for a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency
having a stronger role and mandate along with national
authorities for border management. In an EU consisting of 28 members, substantial security and defence cooperation is increasingly relying on collaboration among
all member states.[139]


Humanitarian aid

Further information: ECHO (European Commission)

The European Commissions Humanitarian Aid and
Civil Protection department, or ECHO, provides
humanitarian aid from the EU to developing 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 Pacic, and 20% to the Middle
East and Mediterranean.[142]
Humanitarian aid is nanced directly by the budget (70%)
as part of the nancial instruments for external action
and also by the European Development Fund (30%).[143]
The EUs external action nancing is divided into 'geographic' instruments and 'thematic' instruments.[143]
The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the
Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, 16.9 billion, 20072013), which must spend 95% of its budget on overseas development assistance (ODA), and from
the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument
(ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes.[143]
The European Development Fund (EDF, 22.7 bn,
20082013) is made up of voluntary contributions by
member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF
into the budget-nanced instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow
the European Parliament greater oversight.[143]
However, ve countries have reached the 0.7% target:
Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark and
the United Kingdom.[144][145] In 2011, EU aid was 0.42%
of the EUs GNI making it the worlds most generous aid
donor.[146] The previous Commissioner for Aid, Louis
Michel, has called for aid to be delivered more rapidly,
to greater eect, and on humanitarian principles.[147]

6 Economy
Main articles: Economy of the European Union and
Regional policy of the European Union
The ve largest economies in the world according to the
IMF by nominal GDP in 2014.[148]
The European Union has established a single market
across the territory of all its members representing 508
million citizens. In 2014, the EU had a combined GDP
of 18.640 trillion international dollars, a 20% share of

global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).[149] As a political entity the European Union is
represented in the World Trade Organization (WTO). EU
member states own the estimated largest net wealth in the
world, equal to 30% of the $223 trillion global wealth.

of Independent States (TACIS). TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme.
EU research and technological framework programmes
sponsor research conducted by consortia from all EU
members to work towards a single European Research

6.1 Internal market

Main article: Internal market
Two of the original core objectives of the European Eco-

GDP (in PPS) per inhabitant by NUTS 2 regions in 2013.

19 member states have joined a monetary union known

as the eurozone, which uses the Euro as a single currency. The currency union represents 338 million EU
citizens.[150] The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the
world after the United States dollar.[151][152][153]
A standardised passport design, displaying the name of the mem-

Of the top 500 largest corporations in the world meaber state, the national arms and the words European Union
sured by revenue in 2010, 161 have their headquarters given in their ocial language(s). (Irish model)
in the EU.[154] In 2016, unemployment in the EU stood
at 8.9%[155] while ination was at 2.2%, and the current nomic Community were the development of a common
account balance at 0.9% of GDP.
market, subsequently renamed the single market, and a
There is a signicant variance for GDP (PPP) per capita customs union between its member states. The single
within individual EU states. The dierence between market involves the free circulation of goods, capital,
the richest and poorest regions (276 NUTS-2 regions people, and services within the EU,[150] and the customs
of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) union involves the application of a common external tarranged, in 2014, from 30% of the EU28 average to i on all goods entering the market. Once goods have
539%, or from 8,200 to 148,000 (about US$9,000 been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected
to US$162,000).[156]
to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas,
Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the as they travel internally. The non-EU member states of
development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. Such Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland partici[58]
regions are primarily located in the states of central and pate in the single market but not in the customs union.
EU is covered by legislation harsouthern Europe.[157][158] Several funds provide emer- Half the trade in the
gency aid, support for candidate members to transform
their country to conform to the EUs standard (Phare, Free movement of capital is intended to permit moveISPA, and SAPARD), and support to the Commonwealth ment of investments such as property purchases and buy-


Monetary union


ing of shares between countries.[161] Until the drive towards economic and monetary union the development of
the capital provisions had been slow. Post-Maastricht
there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. The free
movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted
equally to non-member states.
The free movement of persons means that EU citizens can
move freely between member states to live, work, study
or retire in another country. This required the lowering of
administrative formalities and recognition of professional
qualications of other states.[162]
The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member
states to provide services on a temporary or permanent
basis. While services account for 6070% of GDP, legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas.
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.[163] According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being


Monetary union

Main articles: Eurozone and Economic and Monetary

Union of the European Union
The creation of a European single currency became an The seat of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. 19 of the
ocial objective of the European Economic Community 28 EU member states have adopted the euro as their legal tender.
in 1969. In 1992, having negotiated the structure and
procedures of a currency union, the member states signed
the Maastricht Treaty and were legally bound to full the
agreed-on rules including the convergence criteria if they
wanted to join the monetary union. The states wanting to
participate had rst to join the European Exchange Rate
In 1999 the currency union started, rst as an accounting
currency with eleven member states joining. 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. The eurozone (constituted by the EU member
states which have adopted the euro) has since grown to
19 countries.[164][lower-alpha 17]
Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve
currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges
reserves being in euro.[165] The euro, and the monetary
policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with
The Eurozone (blue) represents 338 million people. The euro is
the EU, are under the control of the European Central the second largest reserve currency in the world.
Bank (ECB).[166]
The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone, and thus
controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to tional central banks and is controlled by its General Counmaintain price stability. It is at the centre of the European cil, consisting of the President of the ECB, who is apSystem of Central Banks, which comprehends all EU na- pointed by the European Council, the Vice-President of



the ECB, and the governors of the national central banks the uranium, of which less than 3% is produced in the
of all 28 EU member states.[167]
The European System of Financial Supervision is an
institutional architecture of the EUs framework of nancial supervision composed by three authorities: the
European Banking Authority, the European Insurance
and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European
Securities and Markets Authority. To complement this
framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board
under the responsibility of the ECB. The aim of this nancial control system is to ensure the economic stability
of the EU.[168]

The EU has had legislative power in the area of energy

policy for most of its existence; this has its roots in the
original European Coal and Steel Community. The introduction of a mandatory and comprehensive European
energy policy was approved at the meeting of the European Council in October 2005, and the rst draft policy
was published in January 2007.[172]
The EU has ve key points in its energy policy: increase
competition in the internal market, encourage investment
and boost interconnections between electricity grids; diversify energy resources with better systems to respond
to a crisis; establish a new treaty framework for energy
co-operation with Russia while improving relations with
energy-rich states in Central Asia[173] and North Africa;
use existing energy supplies more eciently while increasing renewable energy commercialisation; and nally
increase funding for new energy technologies.[172]

To prevent the joining states from getting into nancial

trouble or crisis after entering the monetary union, they
were obliged in the Maastricht treaty to full important
nancial obligations and procedures, especially to show
budgetary discipline and a high degree of sustainable economic convergence, as well as to avoid excessive government decits and limit the government debt to a sustainable level.
The EU currently imports 82% of its oil, 57% of its natural gas[174] and 97.48% of its uranium[171] demands. Because of Europes dependence on Russian energy the EU
is attempting to diversify its energy supply.[175]
6.3 Energy
Main article: Energy policy of the European Union

6.4 Infrastructure
Further information: European Commissioner for Transport, European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship and European Investment Bank
The EU is working to improve cross-border infras-

Consumed energy (2012)[169]

Renewable (dom. prod.) (7%)
Nuclear[lower-alpha 18] (dom. prod.) (13%)
Coal/Lignite (dom. prod.) (10%)
Gas (dom. prod.) (9%)
Gas (import) (14%)
Oil (dom. prod.) (6%)
Oil (import) (33%)
Other (dom. prod.) (1%)
Other (import) (7%)

The resund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden is part of the

Trans-European Networks.

tructure within the EU, for example through the TransEuropean Networks (TEN). Projects under TEN include
the Channel Tunnel, LGV Est, the Frjus Rail Tunnel, the
resund Bridge, the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Strait
In 2006, the EU-27 had a gross inland energy consump- of Messina Bridge. In 2010 the estimated network covtion of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe).[170] ers: 75,200 kilometres (46,700 mi) of roads; 78,000 kilo270 marAround 46% of the energy consumed was produced metres (48,000 mi) of railways; 330 airports;
within the member states while 54% was imported.
In these statistics, nuclear energy is treated as primary Rail transport in Europe is being synchronised with the
energy produced in the EU, regardless of the source of European Rail Trac Management System (ERTMS),



an initiative to greatly enhance safety, increase eciency

of trains and enhance cross-border interoperability of rail
transport in Europe by replacing signalling equipment
with digitized mostly wireless versions and by creating
a single Europe-wide standard for train control and command systems.

tain minimum price levels. To dispose of surplus stores,
they were often sold on the world market at prices considerably below Community guaranteed prices, or farmers
were oered subsidies (amounting to the dierence between the Community and world prices) to export their
products outside the Community. This system has been
criticised for under-cutting farmers outside Europe, especially those in the developing world.[184] Supporters
of CAP argue that the economic support which it gives
to farmers provides them with a reasonable standard of

The developing European transport policies will increase

the pressure on the environment in many regions by the
increased transport network. In the pre-2004 EU members, the major problem in transport deals with congestion and pollution. After the recent enlargement, the new
states that joined since 2004 added the problem of solving Since the beginning of the 1990s, the CAP has been
accessibility to the transport agenda.[178] The Polish road subject to a series of reforms. Initially, these reforms
network was upgraded such as the A4 autostrada.[179][180] included the introduction of set-aside in 1988, where
The Galileo positioning system is another EU infras- a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn
tructure project. Galileo is a proposed Satellite naviga- from production, milk quotas and, more recently, the
tion system, to be built by the EU and launched by the 'de-coupling' (or disassociation) of the money farmers
European Space Agency (ESA). The Galileo project was receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by
launched partly to reduce the EUs dependency on the the Fischler reforms in 2004). Agriculture expenditure
US-operated Global Positioning System, but also to give will move away from subsidy payments linked to spemore complete global coverage and allow for greater ac- cic produce, toward direct payments based on farm size.
This is intended to allow the market to dictate production
curacy, given the aged nature of the GPS system.[181]
levels.[182] One of these reforms entailed the abolition
of the EUs sugar regime, which previously divided the
sugar market between member states and certain African6.5 Agriculture
Caribbean nations with a privileged relationship with the
Main article: Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the

6.6 Competition
Further information: European Union competition law
and European Commissioner for Competition
The EU operates a competition policy intended to
ensure undistorted competition within the single
market.[lower-alpha 20] The Commission as the competition
regulator for the single market is responsible for antitrust
issues, approving mergers, breaking up cartels, working
for economic liberalisation and preventing state aid.[186]
Vineyards in Romania; EU farms are supported by the CAP, the
largest budgetary expenditure.

long lasting policies of the European Community.[182]

The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural
production, providing certainty in food supplies, ensuring
a high quality of life for farmers, stabilising markets, and
ensuring reasonable prices for consumers.[lower-alpha 19] It
was, until recently, operated by a system of subsidies
and market intervention. Until the 1990s, the policy accounted for over 60% of the then European Community's annual budget, and as of 2013 accounts for around

The Competition Commissioner, currently Margrethe

Vestager, is one of the most powerful positions in the
Commission, notable for the ability to aect the commercial interests of trans-national corporations.[187] For
example, in 2001 the Commission for the rst time prevented a merger between two companies based in the
United States (GE and Honeywell) which had already
been approved by their national authority.[188] Another
high-prole case against Microsoft, resulted in the Commission ning Microsoft over 777 million following
nine years of legal action.[189]

7 Demographics

The policys price controls and market interventions led

to considerable overproduction. These were intervention Main article: Demographics of the European Union
stores of products bought up by the Community to main-



As of 1 January 2015, the population of the European Union is about 508.2 million people.[7] In 2013,
5,075,000 live births were registered and 4,999,200
deaths. The net migration to the EU was +653,100. In
2010, 47.3 million people lived in the EU, who were born
outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4%
of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4 million (6.3%)
were born outside the EU and 16.0 million (3.2%) were
born in another EU member state. The largest absolute
numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany
(6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom
(4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and
the Netherlands (1.4 million).[190]



The EU contains 16 cities with populations of over one

million. Besides many large cities, the EU also includes
several densely populated regions that have no single core
but have emerged from the connection of several cites and
now encompass large metropolitan areas. The largest are
Rhine-Ruhr having approximately 11.5 million inhabitants (Cologne, Dortmund, Dsseldorf et al.), Randstad
approx. 7 million (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague,
Utrecht et al.), Frankfurt Rhine-Main approx. 5.8 million (Frankfurt, Wiesbaden et al.), the Flemish Diamond
approx. 5.5 million (urban area in between Antwerp,
Brussels, Leuven and Ghent), Upper Silesia approx. 5.3
million (Katowice, Ostrava) and resund approx. 3.7
million (Copenhagen, Malm).[191]


ken language in the EU, being spoken by 51% of the

EU population when counting both native and non-native
speakers.[202] German is the most widely spoken mother
tongue, being spoken by 16% of the EU population. 56%
of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a
language other than their mother tongue.[203] Most ofcial languages of the EU belong to the Indo-European
language family, except Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian, which belong to the Uralic language family, and Maltese, which is a Semitic language. Most EU ocial languages are written in the Latin alphabet except Bulgarian, which is written in the Cyrillic alphabet, and Greek,
which is written in the Greek alphabet.[204] These are the
three ocial scripts of the European Union.[205]
Besides the 24 ocial languages, there are about 150
regional and minority languages, spoken by up to 50
million people.[204] Although EU programmes can support regional and minority languages, the protection of
linguistic rights is a matter for the individual member
states. The European Charter for Regional or Minority
Languages ratied by most EU states provides general
guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage.
The European Day of Languages is held annually on 26
September and is aimed at encouraging language learning
across Europe.

7.3 Religion


Main article: Languages of the European Union

Among the many languages and dialects used in
the EU, it has 24 ocial and working languages:
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English,
Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian,
Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish,
Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and
Swedish.[197][198] Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every ocial language.
The European Parliament provides translation into all
languages for documents and its plenary sessions.[199]
Some institutions use only a handful of languages as internal working languages.[200] Catalan, Galician, Basque,
Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are not ocial languages of
the EU but have semi-ocial status in that ocial translations of the treaties are made into them and citizens of
the EU have the right to correspond with the institutions
using them.

Self described religion in the European Union (2012)[206]

Catholic (48%)
Protestant (12%)
Orthodox (8%)
Other Christian (4%)
Non believer/Agnostic (16%)
Atheist (7%)
Muslim (2%)
Other religion/None stated (3%)

Language policy is the responsibility of member states,

but EU institutions promote the learning of other The EU is a secular body with no formal connection to
languages.[lower-alpha 21][201] English is the most widely spo- any religion. The Article 17 of the Treaty on the Func-


Health care


tioning of the European Union recognises the status under national law of churches and religious associations
as well as that of philosophical and non-confessional
The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of
Europe.[207] Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included
proposals to mention Christianity or God, or both, in the
preamble of the text, but the idea faced opposition and
was dropped.[208]
Christians in the EU are divided among members of
Catholicism (both Roman and Eastern Rite), numerous Protestant denominations, and the Eastern Orthodox
Church. In 2009, the EU had an estimated Muslim population of 13 million,[209] and an estimated Jewish population of over a million.[210] The other world religions of
Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism are also represented in
the EU population.
According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is
the largest religion in the European Union, accounting for Erasmus Programme logo, representing the European student exchange.
72% of the EU population.[206] Catholics are the largest
Christian group, accounting for 48% of the EU population, while Protestants make up 12%, Eastern Orthodox life.[214]
make up 8% and other Christians make up 4%.[211]
There are now similar programmes for school pupils and
Eurostat's Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 teachers, for trainees in vocational education and trainthat 52% of EU citizens believed in a God, 27% in ing, and for adult learners in the Lifelong Learning Prosome sort of spirit or life force, and 18% had no form gramme 20072013. These programmes are designed
of belief.[212] Many countries have experienced falling to encourage a wider knowledge of other countries and
church attendance and membership in recent years.[213] to spread good practices in the education and training
The countries where the fewest people reported a reli- elds across the EU.[215][216] Through its support of the
gious belief were Estonia (16%) and the Czech Repub- Bologna Process, the EU is supporting comparable stanlic (19%).[212] The most religious countries were Malta dards and compatible degrees across Europe.
(95%, predominantly Roman Catholic) as well as Cyprus
and Romania (both predominantly Orthodox) each with Scientic development is facilitated through the EUs
about 90% of citizens professing a belief in God. Across Framework Programmes, the rst of which started in
the EU, belief was higher among women, older people, 1984. The aims of EU policy in this area are to
those with religious upbringing, those who left school at co-ordinate and stimulate research. The independent
15 or 16 and those positioning themselves on the right European Research Council allocates EU funds to European or national research projects.[217] EU research and
of the political scale.[212]
technological framework programmes deal in a number
of areas, for example energy where the aim is to develop
a diverse mix of renewable energy to help the environ7.4 Education and science
ment and to reduce dependence on imported fuels.[218]
Main articles: Educational policies and initiatives of the
European Union and Framework Programmes for Re7.5 Health care
search and Technological Development
Basic education is an area where the EUs role is limited to supporting national governments. In higher ed- Further information: Healthcare in Europe
ucation, the policy was developed in the 1980s in pro- Although the EU has no major competences in the
grammes supporting exchanges and mobility. The most eld of health care, Article 35 of the Charter of Funvisible of these has been the Erasmus Programme, a uni- damental Rights of the European Union arms that
versity exchange programme which began in 1987. In its A high level of human health protection shall be enrst 20 years, it has supported international exchange op- sured in the denition and implementation of all Union
portunities for well over 1.5 million university and college policies and activities. The European Commission's
students and has become a symbol of European student Directorate-General for Health and Consumers seeks to


Acropolis and Colosseum, symbols of the GraecoRoman world
Cultural co-operation between member states has been
a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community
competency in the Maastricht Treaty.[226] Actions taken
in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000
7-year programme,[226] the European Cultural Month
event,[227] the MEDIA Programme,[228] and orchestras
such as the European Union Youth Orchestra.[229]

European Health Insurance Card.

(French version pictured)

The European Capital of Culture programme selects one

or more cities in every year to assist the cultural development of that city.[230] 53 EU cities have been part of this
initiative up to 2016.

align national laws on the protection of peoples health,

on the consumers rights, on the safety of food and other
Health care in the EU is provided through a wide range
of dierent systems run at the national level. The systems
are primarily publicly funded through taxation (universal
health care). Private funding for health care may represent personal contributions towards meeting the nontaxpayer refunded portion of health care or may reect
totally private (non-subsidised) health care either paid out
of pocket or met by some form of personal or employer
funded insurance.
All EU and many other European countries oer their citizens a free European Health Insurance Card which, on a
reciprocal basis, provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries.[222] 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

8.1 Sport

Main articles: Sport policies of the European Union and

Sport in Europe

Sport is mainly the responsibility of the member states or

other international organisations, rather than of the EU.
However, there are some EU policies that have had an
impact on sport, such as the free movement of workers,
8 Culture
which was at the core of the Bosman ruling that prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on
Main articles: Culture of Europe, Western culture and foreign players with European citizenship.[231] The Treaty
Cultural policies of the European Union
of Lisbon requires any application of economic rules to
take into account the specic nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity.[232] This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International
Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over
the application of free market principles to sport, which
led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs.[233]
The EU does fund a programme for Israeli, Jordanian,
Irish, and British football coaches, as part of the Football
4 Peace project.[234]
Association Football is the most popular sport in almost
all EU countries. Club teams from the EU are the highest paid in the world. Other team sports like rugby, ice
hockey, basketball, cricket, handball, volleyball and water
polo are also popular in some member states.





Main article: Symbols of Europe

Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on
ocial occasions.[237]
Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythological
gure of Europa has frequently been employed as a
personication of Europe. Known from the myth in
which Zeus seduces her in the guise of a white bull, Europa has also been referred to in relation to the present
Union. Statues of Europa and the bull decorate several
of the Unions institutions and a portrait of her is seen on
the 2013 series of Euro banknotes. The bull is, for its
part, depicted on all residence permit cards.[238]
Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne (Latin:
Carolus Magnus) and later recognized as Pater Europae (Father of Europe),[239][240][241][242][243] has a
symbolic relevance to Europe. 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 unication.[244] Since 2008, the organisers of this
prize, in conjunction with the European Parliament, have
awarded the Charlemagne Youth Prize in recognition of
similar eorts by young people.[245]

8.3 Media
Main articles: Media freedom in the European Union
and Cinema of Europe
Media freedom is a fundamental right that applies to all
member states of the European Union and its citizens,
as dened in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as
well as the European Convention on Human Rights.[246]:1
Within the EU enlargement process, guaranteeing media
freedom is named a key indicator of a countrys readiness to become part of the EU.[247]
Clockwise from top left: The European ag seen at the
occasion of the 2004 enlargement; the reliquary bust of
Charlemagne (c. 1350); Europa and the bull, depicted as
the personication of Europe in a 1700 map.
The ag of the Union consists of a circle of 12 golden
stars on a blue background. The blue represents the West,
while the number and position of the stars represent completeness and unity, respectively.[235] Originally designed
in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the ag was adopted
by the European Communities, the predecessors of the
present Union, in 1986.
United in Diversity was adopted as the motto of the Union
in the year 2000, having been selected from proposals
submitted by school pupils.[236] Since 1985, the ag day
of the Union has been Europe Day, on 9 May (the date
of the 1950 Schuman declaration). The anthem of the
Union is an instrumental version of the prelude to the
Ode to Joy, the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's
ninth symphony. The anthem was adopted by European

9 See also
Future enlargement of the European Union
Outline of the European Union
Foreign relations of the European Union

European Union Wikipedia book

10 Notes
[1] Not including outermost regions.
[2] .eu is representative of the whole of the EU; member states
also have their own TLDs.


[3] This gure includes the extra-European territories of

member states which are part of the European Union and
excludes the European territories of member states which
are not part of the Union. For more information see
Special member state territories and the European Union.
[4] Referred to by the EU as the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia.
[5] On 3 October 1990, the constituent states of the former
German Democratic Republic acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany, automatically becoming part of the
[6] See Article 288 (ex Article 249 TEC) of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union, on
[7] According to the principle of Direct Eect rst invoked
in the Court of Justices decision in Van Gend en Loos v
Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen, Eur-Lex (European Court of Justice 1963). See: Craig and de Brca,
ch. 5.
[8] According to the principle of Supremacy as established
by the ECJ in Case 6/64, Falminio Costa v. ENEL [1964]
ECR 585. See Craig and de Brca, ch. 7. See also:
Factortame litigation: Factortame Ltd. v. Secretary of
State for Transport (No. 2) [1991] 1 AC 603, Solange
II (Re Wuensche Handelsgesellschaft, BVerfG decision of
22 October 1986 [1987] 3 CMLR 225,265) and Frontini
v. Ministero delle Finanze [1974] 2 CMLR 372; Raoul
George Nicolo [1990] 1 CMLR 173.
[9] It is eectively treated as one of the Copenhagen criteria, It should be noted that this is a political
and not a legal requirement for membership. Archived 26
June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
[10] The European Convention on Human Rights was previously only open to members of the Council of Europe
(Article 59.1 of the Convention), and even now only states
may become member of the Council of Europe (Article 4
of the Statute of the Council of Europe).
[11] Opinion (2/92) of the European Court of Justice on Accession by the Community to the European Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms 1996 E.C.R. I-1759 (in French), ruled that the
European Community did not have the competence to accede to the ECHR.
[12] See: Case 34/73, Variola v. Amministrazione delle Finanze [1973] ECR 981.
[13] To do otherwise would require the drafting of legislation
which would have to cope with the frequently divergent
legal systems and administrative systems of all of the now
28 member states. See Craig and de Brca, p. 115
[14] See Articles 157 (ex Article 141) of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union, on
[15] See Article 2(7) of the Amsterdam Treaty on Archived 17 February 2008 at the Wayback



[16] Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19
July 2000, p. 2226); Council Directive 2000/78/EC of
27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for
equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303,
2 December 2000, p. 1622).
[17] ERM II. Danish Finance Ministry. 20 March 2009.
Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 26
December 2009.
[18] Note that although almost all Uranium is imported,
Nuclear Power is considered primary energy produced in
the EU
[19] Article 39 (ex Article 33) of the Treaty on the Functioning
of the European Union, on
[20] Article 3(1)(g) of the Treaty of Rome
[21] See Articles 165 and 166 (ex Articles 149 and 150) of
the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on

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Kimmo Kiljunen both see it residing between a confederation and a federation; Thomas Hueglin and Alan Fenna
locate it somewhere between federation and confederation; and Kalypso Nicolaidis argues it is more than a confederation of sovereign states; ... (however, it) should not
become a federal state.
Michael Burgess enlarges: the EU 'is not a federation but
it is also more than a confederation understood in the classical sense. It exists, then, in a kind of conceptual limbo,
a twilight zone ... which has no name'.
Paul Magnette illuminates the nature of the perceived 'inbetweenness: 'Since the seventeenth century, legal theorists have repeated that only two forms of union between
states are possible: either the confederation, born of an
international treaty concluded between sovereign states,
where all decisions are unanimously adopted by state representatives; or the federal state, established by a constitution, where the law voted on by a bicameral parliament
applies directly to the citizens. Tertium non datur. There
is no third way ... In these, classic, political terms, the European Union is, strictly speaking, inconceivable'.
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Further reading

Jordan, A.J. and Adelle, C. (eds) Environmental

Policy in the European Union: Contexts, Actors and
Policy Dynamics (3e). Earthscan: London and Sterling, VA.
Kaiser, Wolfram. Christian Democracy and the Origins of European Union (2007)
McCormick, John (2007). The European Union:
Politics and Policies. Westview Press. ISBN 9780-8133-4202-3.
Pinder, John, and Simon Usherwood. The European
Union: A Very Short Introduction (2008) excerpt and
text search
Rifkin, Jeremy (2004). The European Dream: How
Europes Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the
American Dream. Jeremy P. Tarcher. ISBN 978-158542-345-3.
Smith, Charles (2007). International Trade and
Globalisation (3rd ed.). Stockseld: Anforme.
ISBN 1-905504-10-1.
Staab, Andreas. The European Union Explained: Institutions, Actors, Global Impact (2008) excerpt and
text search
Steiner, Josephine; Woods, Lorna; Twigg-Flesner,
Christian (2006). EU Law (9th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927959-3.
Yesilada, Birol A. and David M. Wood. The Emerging European Union (5th ed. 2009)
Piris, Jean-Claude (2010). Lisbon Treaty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 448. ISBN

13 External links

Bindi, Federiga, ed. The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Europes Role in the World Ocial
(Brookings Institution Press; 2010). The E.U.'s
foreign-policy mechanisms and foreign relations, in EUROPAocial web portal
cluding with its neighbours.
Bomberg, Elizabeth, Peterson, John, and Richard
European Council
Corbett, eds. The European Union: How Does it
Work? (3rd ed) (2012, Oxford University Press).
European Commission
ISBN 978-0-19-957080-5 and ISBN 0-19-9570809.

European Parliament
European Central Bank
Court of Justice of the European Union
Court of Auditors
EUR-LexEU Laws
Archives of the European Union


Overviews and data

EurostatEuropean Union Statistics Explained
Datasets related to the EU on CKAN
CIA World Factbook: European Union entry at The
World Factbook
British PathOnline newsreel archive of the 20th
Search EU Financial Sanctions List
The European Union: Questions and Answers
Congressional Research Service
Works by European Union at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about European Union at Internet
News and interviews
Der Spiegel interview with Helmut Schmidt and
Valery Giscard d'Estaing
Educational resources
European Studies Hubinteractive learning tools
and resources to help students and researchers better understand and engage with the European Union
and its politics.
Tupy, Marian L. (2008). European Union. In
David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia
of Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of
Economics and Liberty. ISBN 978-0-86597-665-8.
OCLC 237794267. Retrieved 2016-02-12.




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