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Motto: United in diversity Anthem:
Anthem of European Union Ode to Joy (orchestral)
Brussels Luxembourg Strasbourg
23[show] Official languages European 27[show] Member States
Leaders European Council Commission Parliament Council of Ministers Establishment Paris Treaty Rome Treaty Maastricht Treaty Lisbon Treaty Area Total Water (%) Population 2010 estimate Density 501,064,211 115.9/km2 4,324,782 km2 1,669,807 sq mi 3.08 23 July 1952 1 January 1958 1 November 1993 1 December 2009 Herman Van Rompuy José Manuel Barroso Jerzy Buzek Belgium
300.1/sq mi GDP (PPP) GDP (nominal) Gini (2009) HDI (2007) Total Per capita Total Per capita 2009 (IMF) estimate $14.793 trillion $29,729 2009 (IMF) estimate $16.447 trillion $33,052 30.7 (EU25) (High) 0.937 (High) Euro + 12[show]
Time zone Summer (DST) Internet TLD Website europa.eu Calling code
(UTC+0 to +2) (UTC+1 to +3[nb )
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe. Committed to regional integration, the EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993 upon the foundations of the European Communities. With over 500 million citizens, the EU generated an estimated 28% share (US$ 16.5 trillion) of the nominal and about 21% (US$14.8 trillion) of the PPP gross world product in 2009. The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states, and ensures the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, including the abolition of passport controls by the Schengen Agreement between 22 EU states.
It enacts legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Sixteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro, constituting the eurozone. Having a legal personality, the EU is able to conclude treaties with countries. It has devised the Common Foreign and Security Policy, thus developing a limited role in European defence and foreign policy. Permanent diplomatic missions of the EU are established around the world and representation at the United Nations, WTO, G8 and G-20 is maintained. EU delegations are headed by EU ambassadors. The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranationalism and intergovernmentalism. In certain areas, decisions are taken by independent supranational institutions, while in others, they are made through negotiation between member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community formed among six countries in 1951 and the Treaty of Rome formed in 1957 by the same states. Since then, it has grown in size through enlargement, and in power through the addition of policy areas to its remit. The last amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU came into force in 2009 and was the Lisbon Treaty, by virtue of which the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union was elevated to legally binding status.[nb 3]
1 History o 1.1 1945±1957 o 1.2 1958±1972 o 1.3 1973-1993 o 1.4 1993-2010 o 1.5 Treaties timeline 2 Member states o 2.1 Geography 3 Governance o 3.1 European Council o 3.2 Commission o 3.3 Parliament o 3.4 Council o 3.5 Courts o 3.6 Competences 4 Legal system o 4.1 Fundamental rights o 4.2 Acts
3 Budget o 7.3 Infrastructure o 8.2 Humanitarian aid 7 Economy o 7.y y y y y y y y y 5 Justice and home affairs 6 Foreign relations o 6.4 Regional development o 8.2 Religion 10 Culture and sport 11 See also 12 Notes and references o 12.2 Monetary union o 7.5 Environment o 8.2 Energy o 8. .6 Education and research 9 Demographics o 9.4 Competition 8 Development o 8.1 Agriculture o 8.1 Bibliography 13 External links  History Main article: History of the European Union  1945±1957 Main article: History of the European Communities (1945±1957) Robert Schuman proposing the Coal and Steel Community on 9 May 1950.1 Military and defence o 6.1 Languages o 9.1 Single market o 7.
France.  The 1957 Rome Treaty created two additional European Communities. moves towards European integration were seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. most notably the European Economic Community. One such attempt to unite Europeans was the European Coal and Steel Community which. Throughout the 1960s tensions began to show with France seeking to limit supranational power. as opposed to the "High Authority". which were collectively referred to as the European Communities (EC). However. It came into force on 1 July 1967 and created a single set of institutions for the three communities. Italy. in 1965 an agreement was reached and hence in 1967 the Merger Treaty was signed in Brussels. Robert Schuman. The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein (Hallstein Commission) and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand (Armand Commission) and then Etienne Hirsch. the Netherlands. these six countries signed the Treaties of Rome. Euratom would integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union between members. In 1957.  1958±1972 Main article: History of the European Communities (1958±1972) The two new communities were created separately from ECSC. while having the modest aim of centralised control of the previously national coal and steel industries of its member states. which extended the earlier cooperation within the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and created the European Economic Community. and West Germany. The originators and supporters of the Community include Jean Monnet. The founding members of the Community were Belgium. Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission).  1973-1993 . The executives of the new communities were called Commissions. was declared to be "a first step in the federation of Europe". Luxembourg.After World War II. Paul Henri Spaak. (EEC) establishing a customs union and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for cooperation in developing nuclear energy. although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. although commonly just as the European Community. and Alcide de Gasperi.
 In 1986.  1993-2010 Main articles: History of the European Union (1993±2004) and History of the European Union (2004 onwards) The introduction of the euro in 2002 replaced several national currencies. With enlargement towards Eastern and Central Europe on the agenda.Main article: History of the European Communities (1973±1993) In 1973. the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the European Union were agreed. The Iron Curtain's fall enabled eastward enlargement. the former East Germany became part of the Community as part of a newly united Germany. after the fall of the Iron Curtain. the first direct. and the United Kingdom. the Communities enlarged to include Denmark. the Schengen Agreement led the way toward the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states. democratic elections to the European Parliament were held. and Spain and Portugal in 1986. Norway had negotiated to join at the same time but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum and so Norway remained outside. the European flag began to be used by the Community and the Single European Act was signed. Greece joined in 1981. Ireland. (Berlin Wall) In 1990. In 1979. In 1985. .
Latvia. the Czech Republic. Cyprus. Sweden.The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force on 1 November 1993. and by Slovakia in 2009. In 2002.  Treaties timeline Signed 1948 In forc 1948 e Bruss Docum els ent Treat y 1951 1954 1957 1952 1955 1958 Pari Modifi Rome s ed Treat Trea Brusse ies ty ls Treaty 1965 1975 1986 1992 1997 2001 1967 N/A 1987 1993 1999 2003 Merg Europe Single Maastric Amsterd Nice er an European Act ht am Treaty Treat Council Treaty Treaty y conclusi on Three pillars of the European Union: European Communities: European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) European Economic Community (EEC) 2007 2009 Lisbon Treaty Treaty expired in 2002 European Community (EC) Europe an Police and Judicial Union Co-operation in (EU) Criminal Matters (PJCC) TREVI Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) European Political Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) . euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Catherine Ashton. Since then. and Finland joined the newly established EU. the eurozone has increased to encompass sixteen countries. merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with legal personality. Romania and Bulgaria became the EU's newest members. Slovenia. and a strengthened High Representative. In the same year Slovenia adopted the euro. the first of which is Herman van Rompuy. Slovak Republic. In 2004. On 1 December 2009. the 2009 Parliament elections were held leading to a renewal of Barroso's Commission Presidency. the Lisbon Treaty entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. and in 1995 Austria. Poland. In June 2009. Estonia. and it created a permanent President of the European Council. followed in 2008 by Cyprus and Malta. Lithuania. On 1 January 2007. and Hungary joined the Union. In particular it changed the legal structure of the European Union. and in July 2009 Iceland formally applied for EU membership. the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Malta.
and Withdrawal from the European Union .Cooperation ( EPC) Unconsolid ated bodies Western European Union (WEU) Treaty terminated in 2010 vde  Member states Main article: Member State of the European Union See also: Special member state territories and the European Union. Future enlargement of the European Union. Enlargement of the European Union.
Albania Austria Belarus Belgium Bos. Malta .The continental territories of the member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993). Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Rep. & Herz. animated in order of accession. Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Mac.
Malta. Italy. There are four official candidate countries. The Union's membership has grown from the original six founding states²Belgium. Finland. To join the EU a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria. Belgium. Greece. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council. Slovakia. which is a candidate country. Hungary. Republic of Ireland. No member state has ever left the Union. Four Western European countries that have chosen not to join the EU have partly committed to the EU's economy and regulations: Iceland. France. Cyprus. Spain.Moldova Mont. including EU law. Poland. Lithuania. a functioning market economy capable of competition within the EU. Montenegro. Iceland. Denmark. pooled their sovereignty in exchange for representation in the institutions. and Serbia are officially recognised as potential candidates. Macedonia. defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. the Netherlands. Latvia. Bulgaria. and Turkey. (then-West) Germany. Italy. Germany. Albania. Kosovo is also listed as a potential candidate but the European Commission does not list it as an independent country because not all member states recognise it as an independent country separate from Serbia. the Czech Republic. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Romania. Croatia. Sweden. Luxembourg. Luxembourg and the Netherlands²to the present day 27 by successive enlargements as countries acceded to the treaties and by doing so. Slovenia. and the United Kingdom. France. Estonia. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law. Portugal. Liechtenstein and . The Lisbon Treaty now provides a clause dealing with how a member leaves the EU. Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom The European Union is composed of 27 sovereign Member States: Austria. and the acceptance of the obligations of membership. although Greenland (an autonomous province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985.
(Crete) . The EU's climate is influenced by its 65. although being technically part of the EU. which has similar ties through bilateral treaties. French Guiana. and the Faroe Islands (a territory of Denmark)). The territory of the EU is not the same as that of Europe. which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area. such as the Azores. and Switzerland. as parts of the continent are outside the EU.993 km (41. a member of the EU.  Geography Main article: Geography of the European Union Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU. Some parts of member states are not part of the EU. Monaco.Norway. a selfproclaimed state that is recognised only by Turkey. despite forming part of the European continent (for example the Isle of Man and Channel Islands (three Crown Dependencies). The relationships of the European microstates. The territory of the EU consists of the combined territories of its 27 member states with some exceptions. As well. Martinique and Melilla. EU law is suspended in Northern Cyprus as it is under the de facto control of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. outlined below. The island country of Cyprus. San Marino and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of co-operation.006 mi) coastline. is closer to Turkey than to continental Europe and is often considered part of Asia. Andorra. Some overseas territories are part of the EU even though geographically not part of Europe. Several territories associated with member states that are outside geographic Europe are also not part of the EU (such as Greenland and Aruba).
993 kilometres (41.810. although with a large grouping in and around the Benelux. the fifth-longest border in the world. The combined member states share land borders with 19 non-member states for a total of 12. The EU has the world's second-longest coastline. projected to be 90% in 7 states by 2020) living in urban areas. In some cases this urban growth has been due to the influx of EU funds into a region. Including the overseas territories of member states. the EU experiences most types of climate from Arctic to tropical. which is 65.730 mi).782 ft) above sea level. The landscape. 4. or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Eastern Europe). after Canada.707. with some 75% of people (and growing. climate.006 mi) long. rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless.45 metres (15. a temperate maritime climate (Western Europe). The EU's population is also highly urbanised.441 kilometres (7. An increasing percentage of this is due to low density urban sprawl which is extending into natural areas.  Governance European Union This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the European Union Parliament[show] y Council of Ministers[show] y European Council[show] .422. and economy of the EU are influenced by its coastline. Cities are largely spread out across the EU.642 sq mi). The lowest point in the EU is Zuidplaspolder in the Netherlands.773 square kilometres (1. The majority of the population lives in areas with a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe). at -7 m (-23 ft) below sea level.[nb 4] The EU is larger in area than all but six countries. and its highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps.The EU's member states cover an area of 4.
between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union while executive tasks are carried out 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). Law made by the EU institutions is passed in a variety of forms. There are also a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specific area.y Commission[show] Court of Justice[show] y Other institutions[show] y Policies and issues[show] Foreign relations[show] y Elections[show] y Law[show] vde Main articles: EU institutions and Legislature of the European Union The institutions of the EU operate solely within those competencies conferred on it upon the treaties and according to the principle of subsidiarity (which dictates that action by the EU should only be taken where an objective cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states alone). Competencies in scrutinising and amending legislation are divided equally. with some exceptions. primarily that which comes into direct force and that which must be passed in a refined form by national parliaments. The interpretation and the application of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of Justice of the European Union.  European Council .
Herman Van Rompuy. The European Council gives direction to the EU. the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state. international agreements and treaties). an international organisation independent from the EU. driving consensus and settling divergences among members are tasks for the President both during the convocations of the European Council and in the time periods between them. Herman Van Rompuy was chosen as the first permanent President of the European Council. It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU's policy agenda and strategies.  Commission .g.President of the European Council. On 19 November 2009. It acts externally as a "collective Head of State" and ratifies important documents (e. The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions. and convenes at least four times a year. It comprises the President of the European Council. On 1 December 2009. and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. The European Council has been described by some as the Union's "supreme political authority". either its head of state or head of government. the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force and he assumed office. The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe. Ensuring the external representation of the EU.
they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. the most prominent Commissioner is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is ex-officio Vice President of the Commission. The 736 (soon to be 751) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years. The European Commission acts as the EU's executive arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the day-to-day running of the EU. and then the 27 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The commission is also seen as the motor of European integration. . though Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. The Commission operates as a cabinet government. One of the 27 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) appointed by the European Council. After the President. The other 26 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President.  Parliament The European Parliament building in Strasbourg The European Parliament (EP) forms one half of the EU's legislature (the other half is the Council of the European Union. one from each member state. with 27 Commissioners for different areas of policy. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis.Commission President José Manuel Barroso. see below). Each country has a set number of seats and in some cases is divided into sub-national constituencies.
 The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states. Finally. In other areas the EU and its member states share the competence to . the institutions.The Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU's courts. This also applies to the EU budget.  Courts The judicial branch of the EU²formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union² consists of three courts: the Court of Justice. the General Court. and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service. the Commission is accountable to Parliament.  Competences EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the Union. Notwithstanding its different compositions. Together they interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the EU. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation.  Council The Council of the European Union (also called the "Council" and sometimes referred to as the "Council of Ministers") forms the other half of the EU's legislature. having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. In addition to its legislative functions. In some areas the EU enjoys exclusive competence. The ordinary legislative procedure of the European Union. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. The President of the European Parliament carries out the role of speaker in parliament and represents it externally. it is considered to be one single body. requiring its approval to take office. and cases referred to it by the courts of member states. the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law. The EP President and Vice Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.
Title I of the consolidated Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: view talk edit Exclusive competence: "The Union has exclusive competence to make directives and conclude international agreements when provided for in a Union legislative act. excluding the conservation of marine biological resources environment consumer protection transport trans-European networks energy the area of freedom. technological development and space . In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate. coordinate or supplement Member States' actions in:" y y y y the customs union the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the euro the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy common commercial policy y y y y y y y y y the internal market social policy. sport and vocational training civil protection (disaster prevention) administrative cooperation "Union exercise of competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs in:" y research. support and supplement member state action but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising national laws. The distribution of competences in various policy areas between Member States and the Union is divided in the following three categories: As outlined in Part I." y y Shared competence: "Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so. security and justice common safety concerns in public health matters. and even with the same policy area. youth. Different legislative procedures are used within the same category of competence. member states can only legislate to the extent to which the EU has not." y y Supporting competence: "The Union can carry out actions to support. for the aspects defined in this Treaty y y y y y y the protection and improvement of human health industry culture tourism education. While both can legislate. 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. for the aspects defined in this Treaty economic.legislate. social and territorial cohesion agriculture and fisheries.
humanitarian aid "The Union coordinates Member States policies or implements supplemental to theirs common policies. even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law. and thus the laws enacted under them.[nb 7] National courts within the member states play a key role in the EU as enforcers of EU law. and a "spirit of cooperation" between EU and national courts is laid down in the Treaties. These first established the European Community and the EU. security and defence policies  Legal system The Court of Justice in Luxembourg is the highest court in the European Union in matters of EU law. These are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to implement those goals. and if they require clarification on the interpretation or validity of any EU legislation related to the case it may make a reference for a preliminary . EU treaties.[nb 6] Under the principle of supremacy. not covered elsewhere" y y coordination of economic. and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union The EU is based on a series of treaties. Further information: EU Law. National courts can apply EU law in domestic cases. These legal powers include the ability to enact legislation[nb 5] which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants. and then made amendments to those founding treaties.y development cooperation. employment and social policies common foreign. and (within limits) even constitutional provisions. national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified.
" The European Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has.. It must be respected and protected. . the rule of law and respect for human rights.. invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.  Fundamental rights Article 1 and 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: "Human dignity is inviolable. non-discrimination. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the European Court of Justice and derived from the "constitutional traditions common to the member states. freedom." The treaties declare that the EU itself is "founded on the values of respect for human dignity. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU's legal acts can be judged." In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The right to declare EU legislation invalid however is reserved to the EU courts. in a society in which pluralism. on occasion. The Charter of Fundamental Rights was drawn up in 2000. solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. justice. or executed. Although originally not legally binding the Charter was frequently cited by the EU's courts as encapsulating rights which the courts had long recognised as the fundamental principles of EU law. including the rights of persons belonging to minorities . tolerance. No one shall be condemned to death penalty.ruling to the Court of Justice. Everyone has the right to life. democracy. equality.
 Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership. Regulations.EU Member States have a standardised passport design. they may.  Justice and home affairs Further information: Area of freedom. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its world wide abolition. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. They are legal acts which only apply to specified individuals. The details of how they are to be implemented are left to member states. directives. Regulations become law in all member states the moment they come into force. or on rulings on State Aid. Coat of Arms and with the words "European Union" given in their official language(s). security and justice . without the requirement for any implementing measures. The EU also promoted human rights issues in the wider world.[nb 8] previously. and decisions. have direct effect in national law against member states. They are most often used in Competition Law. burgundy coloured with the name of the member state.[nb 10] The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14 to the ECHR have changed this: the latter binds the EU to accede to the Convention while the former formally permits it. (Ireland model) Although signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership.[nb 12] When the time limit for implementing directives passes. directives.[nb 5] Directives require member states to achieve a certain result while leaving them discretion as to how to achieve the result.  Acts The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: regulations.[nb 11] and automatically override conflicting domestic provisions. companies or a particular member state. the EU itself could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state[nb 9] nor had the competence to accede. but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. under certain conditions. and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy.
[nb 15] The 2009 Treaty of Lisbon regrouped all the matters concerning justice and home affairs together under the newly shaped area of freedom. The European Parliament and the Court of Justice gained a say over the whole area. and criminal justice. the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition. . To this end. the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place. Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties. family law. disability.  Foreign relations Main articles: Foreign relations of the European Union. while the European Council adopted the Stockholm Programme to provide EU action on developing the area over the following five years. age discrimination. initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. Common Foreign and Security Policy. and European External Action Service High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The EU also operates the Schengen Information System which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. agencies have been established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol for co-operation of police forces.[nb 14] By virtue of these powers. it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs. and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities. This cooperation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime. these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race. asylum law.The Schengen Area comprises most member states ensuring open borders.[nb 13] In more recent years. religion. Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors. and sexual orientation. Catherine Ashton. Furthermore. Since the creation of the EU in 1993. and racial discrimination. security and justice. age.
 In the G8. In the World Trade Organisation (WTO). as opposed to military "hard power". and are considered an important factor contributing to the reform of former Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU's own interests and those of the international community as a whole. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS). a unique EU department that is being established following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. democracy. The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. until 1987 when European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. where all 27 member . not uncommon. the international influence of the EU is also felt through enlargement. Germany) The co-ordinator and representative of the CFSP within the EU is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (currently Catherine Ashton) 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 fields of policy into a common alignment. and the rule of law. (Heiligendamm. the EU has gained influence in areas such as aid due to its large contributions in that field. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty. respect for human rights. however.Foreign policy cooperation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957. such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq. as an observer and working together. including the furtherance of international cooperation. This influence on the internal affairs of other countries is generally referred to as "soft power". The EU participates in all G8 and G20 summits. The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union. when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the Common Commercial Policy. The perceived benefits of becoming a member of the EU act as an incentive for both political and economic reform in states wishing to fulfil the EU's accession criteria. It was not. Steps for a more wide ranging coordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP makes disagreements. the EU has rights of membership besides chairing/hosting summit meetings and is represented at meetings by the presidents of the Commission and the Council. In the UN.
the United Kingdom. European Rapid Reaction Force.states are represented. a military alliance with a mutual defence clause. the EU as a body is represented by Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. and Military of the European Union The Eurofighter is built by a consortium of four EU countries. France. the European Council agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action. Synchronized Armed Forces Europe. and the readiness to do so. The European Union does not have one unified military. was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU. After much discussion. European Defence. Following the Kosovo War in 1999. the Western European Union. backed by credible military forces. the most concrete . CSDP forces have been deployed on peacekeeping duties in parts of the Balkans and Africa. In 2000. The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a strong military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes. in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO". the means to decide to use them. Spain. However the compatibility of their neutrality with EU membership is questioned (including by the Prime Minister of Finland) and with mutual solidarity in the event of disasters. To that end. and Germany accounted for 97% of the total military research budget of the then 15 EU member states. Twenty-one EU members are members of NATO while the remaining member states follow policies of neutrality.  Military and defence Main articles: Common Security and Defence Policy. a number of efforts were made to increase the EU's military capability. notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. terrorist attacks and armed aggression covered by TEU Article 42 (7) and TFEU Article 222 of the EU treaties.
satellite centre and the military staff. peace building in conflict ridden countries. to greater effect. Counting the EU's own contributions and those of its member states together. humanitarian assistance in crises. the EU is the largest aid donor in the world. labour issues and culture.  Humanitarian aid Further information: ECHO (European Commission) Collectively. However. 48% of which went to the African. Co-operation takes place on a broad range of areas: development. provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing countries. EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from Africa to the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. The EU and its Member States . and refugees. EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies. the EU as a whole did not reach its internal aid target in 2006 and is expected not to reach the international target of 0. Caribbean and Pacific countries. In an EU consisting of 27 members.7% of gross national income until 2015. or "ECHO". The European Commissions Humanitarian Aid Office. mis-targeted and linked to economic objectives. addressing climate change.34% of the GNP which was higher than that of either the United States or Japan. Under the de-inflated figures. Over the years the EU has established a strong relationship with the UN. The EU's aid has previously been criticised by the eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe for being inefficient. foreign students. has called for aid to be delivered more rapidly. most notably Sweden. In 2006 its budget amounted to ¼671 million. Furthermore. The previous commissioner for aid. Louis Michel. some charities such as ActionAid have claimed European governments have inflated the amount they have spent on aid by incorrectly including money spent on debt relief. global health concerns such as AIDS/HIV. and on humanitarian principles. including the European Defence Agency.result was the EU Battlegroups initiative. four countries have reached that target. In 2005 EU aid was 0. the EU is the largest contributor of foreign aid in the world. fighting corruption and crime. Luxembourg. the Netherlands and Denmark. each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel. substantial security and defence cooperation is increasingly relying on great power cooperation.
 which makes it the largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the second largest trade bloc economy in the world by PPP valuation of GDP. and largest importer of goods and services.9% of GDP.794 trillion international dollars based on purchasing power parity) in 2009. In May 2007 unemployment in the EU stood at 7% while investment was at 21. (IMF. inflation at 2. Co-operation is based not only in the form of the policy dialogue.45 trillion (14. and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as China and India. the EU generated an estimated nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of US$16. 2009) Since its origin. It is also the largest exporter.  Single market Main articles: EU single market and Four Freedoms (European Union) .4% of GDP. If considered as a single economy. Currently.2% and public deficit at í0. the EU has established a single economic market across the territory of all its members. a single currency is in use between the 16 members of the eurozone. 161 of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue (Fortune Global 500 in 2010) have their headquarters in the EU. these range from US$7. but also goes further by generating financial support of the UN programmes and projects.also play a crucial role as the major contributor to the UN system. amounting to over 21% of the world's total economic output in terms of purchasing power parity.  Economy Main article: Economy of the European Union The EU and the next seven largest economies in the world by nominal GDP.000.000 to US$69. There is a great deal of variance for annual per capita income within individual EU states.
legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. The free movement of persons means citizens can move freely between member states to live. and a customs union between its member states. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties. The non-EU member states of Iceland. discriminatory taxes or import quotas. The single market involves the free circulation of goods. Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU. Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union.The signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 established the EU single market. It ensures the free movement of goods. Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries. capital. as they travel internally. The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member states in order to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis. people and services. According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised. . Norway. Until the drive towards Economic and Monetary Union the development of the capital provisions had been slow. This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states. study or retire in another country. subsequently renamed the single market. While services account for between sixty and seventy percent of GDP. capital. Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market. and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. work. 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. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states. people and services within the EU.
However. The eurozone (in darker blue) is constituted by 16 member states adopting the euro as legal tender. The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969. Monetary union See also: Euro. On this date the euro was duly launched by eleven of the then fifteen member states of the EU. Maastricht criteria. It remained an accounting currency until 1 January 2002. Eurozone. All other EU member states. and Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union The European Central Bank in Frankfurt governs the monetary policy. are legally bound to join the euro when the convergence criteria are met. except Denmark and the United Kingdom. the most recent being Slovakia which joined on 1 January 2009. when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone. The eurozone has since grown to sixteen countries. however only a few countries have set target . which by then consisted of twelve member states. it was only with the advent of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 that member states were legally bound to start the monetary union no later than 1 January 1999.
3%. Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges reserves being in euro.7% of the total budget. the largest single expenditure item was agriculture with around 46. 2. The twenty-seven member state EU had an agreed budget of ¼120. Administration accounted for around 6.9%. eliminating exchange rate problems. There are fourteen other currencies used in the EU while twelve of them are issued by member states. for example: easing travel of citizens and goods. such as Montenegro.3 billion for the period 2007±2013.4% of the total. Sweden has circumvented the requirement to join the euro by not meeting the membership criteria.1%. compensations and reserves brought up the rear with approximately 4.03% of GDP. The President of the European Central Bank is appointed by the European Council. the pre-accession strategy. It is also intended as a political symbol of integration and stimulus for more. Internal policies took up around 8. creating a single financial market. are under the control of the European Central Bank (ECB). Gibraltar pound and pound Sterling are legally obliged to be switched to the euro. In 1960. By comparison. without formal agreement with the ECB. representing 1. those twelve excepting the Danish krone. the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.  Budget Main article: Budget of the European Union The total expenditure of the European Union in 2006. 1% and 0.7 billion for the year 2007 and ¼864. and providing a currency used internationally and protected against shocks by the large amount of internal trade within the eurozone. A number of other countries outside the EU use the euro. Next came structural and cohesion funds with approximately 30.[nb 16] The euro is designed to help build a single market by.10% and 1. providing price transparency. The euro. the United Kingdom's expenditure for 2004 was estimated to be ¼759 billion.dates for accession.05% of the EU-27's GNI forecast for the respective periods. and France was estimated to have spent ¼801 billion. In the 2006 budget. and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU. price stability and low interest rates.1% respectively.5%.  Competition . External actions.
the requirement is maintained in an annex and it is unclear whether this will have any practical effect on EU policy. is one of the most powerful positions in the Commission. currently Joaqu n Almunia. In negotiations on the Treaty of Lisbon. resulted in the Commission fining Microsoft over ¼777 million following nine years of legal action.[nb 17] The Commission as the competition regulator for the single market is responsible for antitrust issues. working for economic liberalisation and preventing state aid. (A380 airliner from Airbus) The EU operates a competition policy intended to ensure undistorted competition within the single market. Another high profile case against Microsoft. However. notable for the ability to affect the commercial interests of transnational corporations.Further information: European Community competition law and European Commissioner for Competition The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) is one of 161 Fortune Global 500 companies with their headquarters in the EU. The Competition Commissioner.  Development  Agriculture Main article: Common Agricultural Policy . breaking up cartels. French President Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded in removing the words "free and undistorted competition" from the treaties. approving mergers. For example. in 2001 the Commission for the first time prevented a merger between two companies based in the United States (GE and Honeywell) which had already been approved by their national authority.
in what would otherwise be an economically unviable way of life. Since the beginning of the 1990s. the CAP has been subject to a series of reforms. milk quotas (by the McSharry reforms in 1992) and. until recently. where a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn from production. more recently. the policy accounted for over 60% of the then European Community's annual budget. and ensuring reasonable prices for consumers. Until the 1990s. (Vineyard in Spain) The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the oldest policies of the European Community. This is intended to allow the market to dictate production levels. stabilising markets. or farmers were offered subsidies (amounting to the difference between the Community and world prices) to export their produce outside the Community. ensuring a high quality of life for farmers. they were often sold on the world market at prices considerably below Community guaranteed prices. which previously divided the sugar market between member states and certain AfricanCaribbean nations with a privileged relationship with the EU. The overproduction has also been criticised for encouraging environmentally unfriendly intensive farming methods. the largest budgetary expenditure.[nb 18] It was. the 'de-coupling' (or disassociation) of the money farmers receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by the Fischler reforms in 2004). The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural production. In order to dispose of surplus stores. resulting in so-called butter mountains and wine lakes. while maintaining agricultural income levels. These were intervention stores of produce bought up by the Community to maintain minimum price levels.6% . The policy's price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction. Initially these reforms included the introduction of set-aside in 1988.9% Gas 19.4% Renewable energy 14. This system has been criticised for under-cutting farmers outside of Europe. and was one of its core aims.3% Coal & lignite 21. the EU's small farmers receive only 8% of CAP's available subsidies.EU farms are supported by the CAP. toward direct payments based on farm size. Supporters of CAP say that the economic support which it gives to farmers provides them with a reasonable standard of living. and still accounts for around 35%. Agriculture expenditure will move away from subsidy payments linked to specific produce. especially those in the developing world.  Energy Main article: Energy policy of the European Union EU energy production 46% of total EU primary energy use Nuclear energy[nb 19] 29. providing certainty in food supplies. operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. One of these reforms entailed the abolition of the EU's sugar regime. However.
of which less than 3% is produced in the EU.4% In 2006.4% 1. The Commission has five key points in its energy policy: increase competition in the internal market. regardless of the source of the uranium. and finally increase funding for new energy technologies. The introduction of a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy was approved at the meeting of the European Council in October 2005. the 27 member states of the EU had a gross inland energy consumption of 1. encourage investment and boost interconnections between electricity grids. There are concerns that Europe's dependence on Russian energy is endangering the Union and its member countries.48% of its uranium demands. The EU is attempting to diversify its energy supply. diversify energy resources with better systems to respond to a crisis.2% Gas 26. The EU has had legislative power in the area of energy policy for most of its existence. and the first draft policy was published in January 2007. use existing energy supplies more efficiently while increasing use of renewable energy. The EU currently imports 82% of its oil. this has its roots in the original European Coal and Steel Community. nuclear energy is treated as primary energy produced in the EU.4% Net imports of energy 54% of total primary EU energy use Oil & petroleum products 60. 57% of its gas and 97. In these statistics. Around 46% of the energy consumed was produced within the member states while 54% was imported.825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe).Oil Other 13.4% Other 13.  Infrastructure Further information: European Commissioner for Transport and European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry The Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden is part of the Trans-European Networks. . establish a new treaty framework for energy co-operation with Russia while improving relations with energy-rich states in Central Asia and North Africa.
Galileo is a proposed Global Navigation Satellite System. given the aged nature of the GPS system.000 kilometres (48.200 PPP per capita. After the recent enlargement.The EU is working to improve cross-border infrastructure within the EU. Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel. while the poorest regions.700 mi) of roads. 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.600 and Yuzhen tsentralen with ¼6. the Fréjus Rail Tunnel. to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). . are Severozapaden with ¼6. the new states that joined since 2004 added the problem of solving accessibility to the transport agenda.400 PPP per capita. The Galileo project was launched partly to reduce the EU's dependency on the US-operated Global Positioning System. Inner London has ¼83. EU funds finance such infrastructure projects as the Prague±Berlin motorway (D8/A17) (pictured here near Lovosice in the Czech Republic). the difference between the richest and poorest regions (271 NUTS-2 regions of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) ranged.000 mi) of railways. the major problem in transport deals with congestion and pollution. The Polish road network in particular was in poor condition: at Poland's accession to the EU. 78. Another infrastructure project is the Galileo positioning system. the Öresund Bridge and the Brenner Base Tunnel. Luxembourg ¼68. the United States GDP per capita is 35% higher and the Japanese GDP per capita is approximately 15% higher. delays. and their perception of redundancy given the existence of the GPS system. Even corrected for purchasing power. 330 airports. demanding approximately ¼17 billion. 4.600 roads needed to be upgraded to EU standards. for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN). LGV Est. Nord-Est and Severen tsentralen with ¼6. in 2007. and Bruxelles-Cap ¼55. but also to give more complete global coverage and allow for far greater accuracy.200 kilometres (46.500.000.800. and 210 internal harbours. from 26% of the EU27 average in the region of Severozapaden in Bulgaria. to 334% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom. and is to be operational by 2010. It has been criticised by some due to costs.  Regional development Further information: Regional policy of the European Union There are substantial economical disparities across the EU. Compared to the EU average. In 2001 it was estimated that by 2010 the network would cover: 75. On the high end. 270 maritime harbours.
air quality. noise pollution. In 2006. The Commission has protected the Rospuda valley in Poland. Since then it has addressed issues such as acid rain. the thinning of the ozone layer.000 chemicals in daily use are tested for their safety.  Environment Further information: European Commissioner for the Environment and European Climate Change Programme The Danube Delta in Romania with its diverse bird population is a "Special Protection Area" created by EU directives. The EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) sponsors research conducted by consortia from all EU members to work towards a single European Research Area. . and SAPARD). The REACH regulation was a piece of EU legislation designed to ensure that 30. ISPA. toxic waste spill off the coast of Côte d'Ivoire. The Water Framework Directive is an example of a water policy. TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme. lakes. the Polish government sought to build a motorway through the Rospuda valley. Several funds provide emergency aid. waste and water pollution. support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU's standard (Phare.There are a number of Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds to support development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. ground and coastal waters to be of "good quality" by 2015. Wildlife is protected through the Natura 2000 programme and covers 30.000 sites throughout Europe. Such regions are primarily located in the new member states of East-Central Europe. In 2007. and support to the former USSR Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). The first environmental policy of the European Community was launched in 1972. but the Commission has been blocking construction as the valley is a wildlife area covered by the programme. aiming for rivers.
 The EU is the most ambitious player and self-proclaimed leader in international climate policy. and for adult learners in the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007±2013. between 1990 and 2005. Although the Commission's right to propose criminal law was contested. the EU has proposed at 50% cut in greenhouse gases by 2050. The most visible of these has been the Erasmus Programme. the policy was mainly developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. it was confirmed in this case by the Court of Justice.from a European ship. These programmes are designed to encourage a wider knowledge of other countries and to . grew 10% in western Europe and 15% in Eastern Europe. The EU's attempts to cut its carbon footprint appear to have also been aided by an expansion of Europe's forests which. With members such as Spain now having criminal laws against shipping toxic waste. This includes measures that in 2020. a university exchange programme which began in 1987. In education.  Education and research Further information: Educational policies and initiatives of the European Union and Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development Renewable energy is one priority in transnational research activities such as the FP7. In 2007. In its first 20 years it has supported international exchange opportunities for well over 1. 10% of the overall fuel quantity used by cars and trucks in EU 27 should be running on renewable energy such as biofuels. There are now similar programmes for school pupils and teachers. prompted the Commission to look into legislation regarding toxic waste. the Commission proposed to create criminal sentences for "ecological crimes". for trainees in vocational education and training. Education and science are areas where the EU's role is limited to supporting national governments. During this period they soaked up 126 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. dealing with the successor to the Kyoto Protocol.5 million university and college students and has become a symbol of European student life. This is considered to be one of the most ambitious moves of an important industrialised region to fight global warming.  At the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference. equivalent to 11% of EU emissions from human activities. member states agreed that the EU is to use 20% renewable energy in the future and that is has to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels.
The independent European Research Council allocates EU funds to European or national research projects. ensuring mobility of researchers around Europe. Erasmus students from five countries in the Netherlands. which is currently the largest nuclear fusion reactor in the world.spread good practices in the education and training fields across the EU. known as the European Research Area. The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. the first of which started in 1984.  Demographics Main article: Demographics of the European Union Population of the 5 largest cities in the EU City City limits Density Density Urban area LUZ /km² /sq mi (2006) (2005) (2004) . Through its support of the Bologna process the EU is supporting comparable standards and compatible degrees across Europe. Scientific development is facilitated through the EU's Framework Programmes. but membership heavily overlaps between them. sharing knowledge. ITER builds on the previous project. This has the support of all member states. It aims to focus on co-ordination. Joint European Torus. and extends the existing financing structure of the frameworks. The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) deals in a number of areas. These organisations are not under the framework of the EU. It has observer status within CERN. for example energy where it aims to develop a diverse mix of renewable energy for the environment and to reduce dependence on imported fuels. Since January 2000 the European Commission has set its sights on a more ambitious objective. a fusion reactor which will be built in the EU at Cadarache. The Commission foresees this technology to be generating energy in the EU by 2050. there are various agreements with ESA and there is collaboration with ESO. The EU is involved with six other countries to develop ITER. improving conditions for researchers and encouraging links with business and industry as well as removing any legal and administrative barriers. and has extensively funded research in a few key areas.
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.410.000 5.761.1 sq mi) making the EU one of the most densely populated regions of the world. 5.8 million (Frankfurt.124 2.064. Besides many large cities. Denmark and Malmö. Brussels.359 5.971.829 Paris Rome 2. Frankfurt/Rhine-Main approx.867.457.).  Languages Main article: Languages of the European Union European spoken languages report (EU-251) Native Total Language Speakers English German French Italian Spanish Polish Russian Dutch Greek 13% 18% 12% 13% 9% 9% 1% 5% 3% 51% 32% 26% 16% 15% 10% 7% 6% 3% .5 million (Katowice.). Wiesbaden et al. 2. Sosnowiec et al.5 million inhabitants (Cologne.000 3.3% of the world total.331 London 7.228.400 4.105 5. rising to 80% living in urban areas generally.690 The combined population of all 27 member states has been forecast in October. and the Öresund Region approx.395 2.9 km (300.928. The Hague.460 4.000 3.198 13. One third of EU citizens live in cities of over a million people. the Flemish diamond approx.990. 7 million (Amsterdam.804. Leuven and Ghent).917.000 4.211 as of 1 January 2010.).000 Madrid 3.815 9. Rotterdam.672 63.880 3. Dortmund. Sweden). 23rd 2010 at 501.153.5 million (Copenhagen. 3.708. Düsseldorf et al. The largest are Rhine-Ruhr having approximately 11.450 2. amounting to a population density of 115. 5.330 9.089.Berlin 3.). The EU is home to more global cities than any other region in the world.512. the Upper Silesian Industrial Region approx.332. The EU's population is 7.5 million (urban area in between Antwerp.000 11.600 24.900 9. yet the EU covers just 3% of the Earth's land.000 11. It contains 16 cities with populations of over one million. Utrecht et al. Randstad approx.761 12.
German. Portuguese. Native: Native language Total: EU citizens able to hold a conversation in this language Among the many languages and dialects used in the EU.[nb 20] . Important documents. Dutch. Estonian. Percentages. Danish. but EU institutions promote the learning of other languages. Maltese. Slovak. including zero. Language policy is the responsibility of member states. Irish. it has 23 official and working languages: Bulgarian. Italian.Czech Swedish Hungarian Portuguese Catalan Slovak Danish Finnish Lithuanian Slovenian Arabic Basque Bulgarian Chinese Croatian Estonian Galician Irish/Gaelic Latvian Luxembourgish Maltese Romanian Turkish Other regional languages 1 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 1% 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 4% Published in 2006. English. The European Parliament provides translation into all languages for documents and its plenary sessions. Lithuanian. Latvian. such as legislation. Spanish. French. before the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Polish. Hungarian. Finnish. Czech. Romanian. Slovene. Some institutions use only a handful of languages as internal working languages. are rounded. and Swedish. are translated into every official language. Greek.
which is an Afroasiatic language.7 million people as of 2006). only the Spanish regional languages (i. Catalan/Valencian.e. Hindi. Besides the 23 official languages. Most EU official languages are written in the Latin alphabet except Bulgarian. Russian. Italian. and Balkan languages are spoken in many parts of the EU. Most official languages of the EU belong to the Indo-European language family. spoken by up to 50 million people. 56% of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. Punjabi. Tamil. and Hungarian. English is by far the most spoken foreign language at over half (51%) of the EU population.  Religion Main article: Religion in the European Union The EU is a secular body with no formal connection with any religion. and French. Maghrebi Arabic. . being fluent in both. Of these. Scottish Gaelic. there are about 150 regional and minority languages.German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (about 88. Many older immigrant communities are bilingual. except Estonian. with German and French following. which belong to the Uralic language family.. Urdu. Galician. the local and their ancestral language. Besides the many regional languages. the protection of linguistic rights is a matter for the individual member states. written in Cyrillic. and Greek. Ukrainian. Finnish. a broad variety of languages from other parts of the world are spoken by immigrant communities in the member states: Turkish. written in the Greek alphabet. and Welsh can be used by citizens in communication with the main European institutions. and the non-Indo-European Basque). although from 2007 they are eligible for support from the language teaching section of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme 2007±2013. Although EU programmes can support regional and minority languages. Bengali. followed by English. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ratified by most EU states provides general guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage. but Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises the "status under national law of churches and religious associations" as well as that of "philosophical and non-confessional organisations". and Maltese. Migrant languages have no formal status or recognition in the EU or in the EU countries.
increased with age. Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years. Other significant religions present in the EU are Islam and Judaism. As of 2009. Christians in the EU are divided among followers of Roman Catholicism. and vastly influential on. Europe and Western/European civilisation. belief was higher among women. Eurostat's Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 that 52% of EU citizens believed in a god. and 18% had no form of belief. those who left school at 15 with a basic education. numerous Protestant denominations (especially in northern Europe)."  Culture and sport Further information: Cultural policies of the European Union and Sport policies of the European Union . Other religions. but the idea faced opposition and was dropped. The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were the Czech Republic (19%) and Estonia (16%). in the preamble of the text. This emphasis on Christianity stems from it being by far the largest religion in Europe as well as a cultural marker for. the EU had an estimated Muslim population of 13 million. and Cyprus and Romania both with about 90% of the citizens believing in God (both predominantly Eastern Orthodox). and an estimated Jewish population of over a million. those with religious upbringing. The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the "cultural. predominantly Roman Catholic). Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included proposals to mention Christianity or God. such as Islam and Judaism. and those "positioning themselves on the right of the political scale (57%). religious and humanist inheritance of Europe". and Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic (in south eastern Europe). are also represented in the EU population. Across the EU. or both.The percentage of Europeans in each member state who believe in "a God". The most religious countries are Malta (95%. 27% in "Some other Spiritual Force".
some EU policies have had an impact on sport. the Media Plus programme. This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. due to objections over the applications of free market principles to sport which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 7-year programme. Sport is mainly the responsibility of individual member states or other international organisations rather than that of the EU. . Cultural cooperation between member states has been a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty. However. the EU gives grants to cultural projects (totalling 233 in 2004) and has launched a Web portal dedicated to Europe and culture.The Hungarian city of Pécs is one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010. orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra and the European Capital of Culture programme ± where one or more cities in the EU are selected for one year to assist the cultural development of that city. Under the Treaty of Lisbon sports were given a special status which exempted this sector from many of the EU's economic rules. the European Cultural Month event. responding to the European Council's expressed desire to see the Commission and the member states "promote the networking of cultural information to enable all citizens to access European cultural content by the most advanced technological means". which prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship. Policies affecting cultural matters are mainly set by individual member states. such as the free movement of workers which was at the core of the Bosman ruling. In addition.
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