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European Union

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European Union [show]

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Motto: United in diversity[1][2][3] Anthem: Ode to Joy Anthem of the European Union Ode to Joy[2] (orchestral)

Political centres Official languages Demonym Member States -

Brussels Luxembourg Strasbourg

23[show] European[4] 27[show] Leaders
Herman Van Rompuy José Manuel Barroso Jerzy Buzek

European Council European Commission

- European Parliament

- Council of the European Union

Donald Tusk (Poland)

Council of the European Legislature Union European Parliament Establishment Paris Treaty Rome Treaty Maastricht Treaty Lisbon Treaty 23 July 1952 1 January 1958 1 November 1993 1 December 2009 Area 4,324,782 km2 1,669,807 sq mi 3.08 Population 2011 estimate Density 502,486,499 [5] 116.2/km2 300.9/sq mi 2010 (IMF) estimate $15,203 trillion $30,455 2010 (IMF) estimate $16,242 trillion $32,537 30.7 (EU25)[6] (High) 0.937 (High) Currency Time zone Summer (DST) Internet TLD

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Total Water (%)

GDP (PPP) Total Per capita

GDP (nominal) Total Per capita

Gini (2009) HDI (2007)

euro (€) (EUR)[show] (UTC+0 to +2)
(UTC+1 to +3[nb 1]) .eu[nb 2] Website europa.eu

Calling code See list This box: view · talk · edit

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe.[7] The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by six countries in 1958. In the intervening years the EU has 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.[8] The last amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmentally made decisions negotiated by the member states.[9][10][11] 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 has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes EU and non-EU states) passport controls have been abolished.[12] EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital,[13] enacts legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintains common policies on trade,[14] agriculture,[15] fisheries and regional development.[16] A monetary union, the eurozone, was established in 1999 and is currently composed of 17 member states. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy the EU has developed a limited role in external relations and defence. Permanent diplomatic missions have been established around the world and the EU is represented at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8 and the G-20. With a combined population of over 500 million inhabitants,[17] the EU generated a GDP of 16.242 trillion international dollars in 2010 which represents an estimated 26% of global GDP (15.203 trillion international dollars or some 20%, when meassured in terms of purchasing power parity).[18]

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1 History o 1.1 1945–1958 o 1.2 1958–1972 o 1.3 1973–1993 o 1.4 1993–present 2 Treaties 3 Geography o 3.1 Member states o 3.2 Environment

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4 Politics o 4.1 Governance o 4.2 Budget o 4.3 Competences 5 Legal system o 5.1 Courts of Justice o 5.2 Fundamental rights o 5.3 Acts 6 Justice and home affairs 7 Foreign relations o 7.1 Military o 7.2 Humanitarian aid 8 Economy o 8.1 Internal market o 8.2 Competition o 8.3 Monetary union o 8.4 Financial supervision o 8.5 Energy o 8.6 Infrastructure o 8.7 Agriculture 9 Education and science 10 Health care 11 Demographics o 11.1 Urbanisation o 11.2 Languages o 11.3 Religion 12 Culture and sport 13 See also 14 References 15 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of the European Union

[edit] 1945–1958
Main article: History of the European Coal and Steel Community (1945–1957)

(EEC) establishing a customs union and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for cooperation in developing nuclear energy.[20] The founding members of the Community were Belgium. Paul Henri Spaak. Robert Schuman. which was declared to be "a first step in the federation of Europe".[19] One such attempt to unite Europeans was the European Coal and Steel Community. The EEC and Euratom were created separately from ECSC. France. and Alcide De Gasperi. and West Germany. Italy. the six countries signed the Treaties of Rome. The executives of the new communities were called Commissions.[22][23][24] . moves towards European integration were seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. The originators and supporters of the Community include Jean Monnet. The treaty came into force in 1958. which extended the earlier cooperation within the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and created the European Economic Community.[21] In 1957. Euratom would integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union between members. starting with the aim of eliminating the possibility of further wars between its member states by means of pooling the national heavy industries. although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. as opposed to the "High Authority". the Netherlands. Luxembourg.Robert Schuman proposing the Coal and Steel Community on 9 May 1950. After World War II. The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein (Hallstein Commission) and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand (Armand Commission) and then Etienne Hirsch. It created the European Economic Community.[21] [edit] 1958–1972 Main article: History of the European Communities (1958–1972) The Rome Treaty was signed in 1957 and came into force in 1958.

Ireland. which were collectively referred to as the European Communities (EC). democratic elections to the European Parliament were held.[33] With enlargement towards European formerly communist countries as well as Cyprus (Greek part) and Malta on the agenda. the first direct. In 1990. In 1979. which later left the Community in 1985).[31] In 1986. Portugal and Spain in 1986.[30] In 1985. after the fall of the Iron Curtain.[29] Greece joined in 1981. the European flag began to be used by the Community[32] and the Single European Act was signed. the former East Germany became part of the Community as part of a newly united Germany. It came into force on 1 July 1967 and created a single set of institutions for the three communities.Throughout the 1960s tensions began to show with France seeking to limit supranational power. However. in 1965 an agreement was reached and hence in 1967 the Merger Treaty was signed in Brussels. [edit] 1993–present Main articles: History of the European Union (1993–2004) and History of the European Union (2004 onwards) .[25][26] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission). and the United Kingdom.[27] The Iron Curtain's fall in 1989 enabled eastward enlargement. (Berlin Wall) [edit] 1973–1993 Main article: History of the European Communities (1973–1993) In 1973 the Communities enlarged to include Denmark (including Greenland. the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the European Union were agreed. although commonly just as the European Community. the Schengen Agreement led the way toward the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states.[28] Norway had negotiated to join at the same time but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a referendum and so Norway remained outside.

Lithuania. Hungary. the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Cyprus. Estonia.[8] and in 1995 Austria. euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. the first of which is Herman Van Rompuy. The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force on 1 November 1993. the Czech Republic.[35] [edit] Treaties Main article: Treaties of the European Union Signed 1948 195 1954 1957 1965 1975 In forc 1948 1 1955 1958 1967 N/A e Bruss 195 Modif Rom Merg Europe Docum els 2 ied e er an ent Treat Pari Bruss treat Treat Council y s els ies y conclus Trea Treaty ion ty 1985 1985 Schen gen Treaty 1986 1992 1987 1993 Single Maastri European Act cht Treaty 1997 2001 1999 2003 Amsterd Nice am Treaty Treaty 2007 2009 Lisbon Treaty Three pillars of the Europe . Slovakia and Slovenia joined the Union. Poland. and in July 2009 Iceland formally applied for EU membership. Catherine Ashton. Since then. and a strengthened High Representative. Finland and Sweden joined the newly established EU. Romania and Bulgaria became the EU's newest members. Malta. Latvia.The introduction of the euro in 2002 replaced several national currencies. In June 2009.[34] followed in 2008 by Cyprus and Malta. and it created a permanent President of the European Council. merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with legal personality. On 1 December 2009.[34] On 1 January 2007. the Lisbon Treaty entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. the eurozone has increased to encompass 17 countries. the 2009 Parliament elections were held leading to a renewal of Barroso's Commission Presidency. In 2004. In the same year Slovenia adopted the euro. In 2002. by Slovakia in 2009 and by Estonia in 2011. In particular it changed the legal structure of the European Union.

an Union: European Communities: European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) European Economic Community (EEC) Schengen Rules European Community (EC) Europ Justice and Police and Judicial ean Home Co-operation in Union Affairs Criminal Matters (EU) (JHA) (PJCC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Treaty expired in 2002 TREVI European Political Cooperation (EPC) Unconsolid ated bodies Western European Union (WEU) Treaty terminated in 2010 v·d·e [edit] Geography Main article: Geography of the European Union The EU's climate is influenced by its 65.993 km (41. (Crete) .006 mi) coastline.

the EU experiences most types of climate from Arctic to tropical. at 7 m (23 ft) below sea level. Enlargement of the European Union. Central Sweden.707.[39] The EU's population is highly urbanised.730 mi). Cities are largely spread out across the EU. extending eastward into the southern parts of Siberia and the Russian Far East). after Canada.423. all Belarus and north of Ukraine. Southern Iceland to Northern Italy and Northern Turkey). or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (lowland areas of southern Norway north to Trondheim. The EU has the world's second-longest coastline. The combined member states share land borders with 19 non-member states for a total of 12. climate.[nb 3] The EU is larger in area than all but six countries. the fifth-longest border in the world.147 square kilometres (1. The majority of the people lives in areas with a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe).993 kilometres (41. In some cases this urban growth has been due to the influx of EU funds into a region. a temperate maritime climate (Northern Spain to Poland. The EU's member states cover an area of 4. a wide swath of Russia. rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. all Lithuania. and economy of the EU are influenced by its coastline. all Estonia.[10][37][38] Including the overseas territories of member states. projected to be 90% in 7 states by 2020) living in urban areas.006 mi) long. Future enlargement of the European Union.787 sq mi). all Latvia.782 ft) above sea level. which is 65.441 kilometres (7. The landscape. although with a large grouping in and around the Benelux. and Withdrawal from the European Union .Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU.810.[36] The lowest point in the EU is Zuidplaspolder in the Netherlands.45 metres (15. with some 75% of inhabitants (and growing. and its highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps. southernmost coast of Finland (coast area between cities Kotka and Turku). An increasing percentage of this is due to low density urban sprawl which is extending into natural areas. 4.[40] [edit] Member states Main article: Member State of the European Union See also: Special Member State territories and the European Union.

Only territories in and around Europe are shown. . animated in order of accession.The member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993).

Spain. Malta→ Moldova Mont. Estonia. France. Luxembourg. Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Rep. the Czech Republic. Cyprus. Greece. Slovenia. Malta. Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Mac. Poland. and the United Kingdom. the Netherlands. Bulgaria.Albania Austria Belarus Belgium Bos. Lithuania. Denmark. Italy. Finland.[41] The Union's . & Herz. 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. Ireland. Romania. Portugal. Sweden. Slovakia. Germany. Belgium. Hungary. Latvia.

aiming for rivers. 10% of the overall fuel quantity used by cars and trucks in .[53] The directives are implemented through the Natura 2000 programme and covers 30. Iceland. noise pollution.[nb 4][46] Montenegro and Turkey.membership has grown from the original six founding states—Belgium.000 sites throughout Europe. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council.[52] The Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive are pieces of European Union legislation for protection of biodiversity and natural habitats.[48] Four Western European countries that are not EU members have partly committed to the EU's economy and regulations: Iceland (a candidate country for EU membership). The Water Framework Directive is an example of a water policy. although Greenland (an autonomous province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985. Albania. defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. but the Commission has been blocking construction as the valley is a wildlife area covered by the programme. Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are officially recognised as potential candidates.[49][50] The relationships of the European microstates. France. which has similar ties through bilateral treaties. These protections however only directly cover animals and plants. (then-West) Germany. the thinning of the ozone layer. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law. ground and coastal waters to be of "good quality" by 2015. Italy.[52] In 2007.[44] The Lisbon Treaty now provides a clause dealing with how a member leaves the EU. Luxembourg and the Netherlands—to the present day 27 by successive enlargements as countries acceded to the treaties and by doing so.[43] No member state has ever left the Union. fungi and micro-organisms have no protection under European Union law.[51] [edit] Environment Further information: European Commissioner for the Environment and European Climate Change Programme The first environmental policy of the European Community was launched in 1972.[55] This includes measures that in 2020. waste and water pollution. Since then it has addressed issues such as acid rain. Andorra.[45] There are five official candidate countries. which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area.[54] In 2007. and Switzerland. Macedonia. a functioning market economy capable of competition within the EU. and the acceptance of the obligations of membership. pooled their sovereignty in exchange for representation in the institutions.[42] To join the EU a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria. lakes. including EU law. Monaco. air quality. Liechtenstein and Norway. the Polish government sought to build a motorway through the Rospuda valley.[47] 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. San Marino and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of cooperation. member states agreed that the EU is to use 20% renewable energy in the future and that it has to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels.

Laws made by the EU institutions are passed in a variety of forms.[56] [edit] Politics Main article: Politics of the European Union European Union This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the European Union Parliament[show] Council of Ministers[show] European Council[show] Commission[show] Court of Justice[show] Other institutions[show] Policies and issues[show] Foreign relations[show] Elections[show] Law[show] v·d·e The EU operates 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). Generally speaking they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures.EU 27 should be running on renewable energy such as biofuels. and those which specifically require national implementation measures.[57] [edit] Governance Main articles: EU institutions and Legislature of the European Union . This is considered to be one of the most ambitious moves of an important industrialised region to fight global warming.

an international organisation independent from the EU. the European Commission. The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe. and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. [edit] European Council President of the European Council. the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors. There are also a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specific area.[59] On 19 November 2009. The monetary policy of the eurozone is governed by the European Central Bank. The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions. the European Council.The European Union has seven institutions: the European Parliament. international agreements and treaties). The European Council has been described by some as the Union's "supreme political authority". the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force and he assumed office. the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state. either its head of state or head of government. It comprises the President of the European Council.[60] 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. Competencies in scrutinising and amending legislation are divided 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). Herman Van Rompuy was chosen as the first permanent President of the European Council. The interpretation and the application of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of Justice of the European Union. the Council of the European Union. On 1 December 2009. and convenes at least four times a year.[58] It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU's policy agenda and strategies. Herman Van Rompuy The European Council gives direction to the EU. Ensuring the external representation of the EU. [edit] Commission . the European Central Bank. It acts externally as a "collective Head of State" and ratifies important documents (for example.

After the President.Commission President José Manuel Barroso 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. they sit according to political groups rather than their . with 27 Commissioners for different areas of policy. One of the 27 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) appointed by the European Council. one from each member state.[61] The other 25 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President. 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 736 (soon to be 751) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation to the share of votes collected by each political party. Eventually. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis. 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 and is chosen by the European Council too. the 27 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. It operates as a cabinet government. [edit] Parliament The European Parliament building in Strasbourg. see below). France The European Parliament (EP) forms one half of the EU's legislature (the other half is the Council of the European Union.

Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into sub-national constituencies where this does not affect the proportional nature of the voting system. This also applies to the EU budget. it is considered to be one single body. the Commission is accountable to Parliament.10% and 1.05% of the EU-27's GNI forecast for the respective periods.nationality. the Council also exercises executive functions in relations to the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EP President and Vice Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.[62] The ordinary legislative procedure of the European Union.[63] [edit] Council The Council of the European Union (also called the "Council"[64] and sometimes referred to as the "Council of Ministers"[65]) forms the other half of the EU's legislature.[68] representing 1.[66] In addition to its legislative functions. [67] The 27 member state EU had an agreed budget of €120. [edit] Budget Main article: Budget of the European Union The total expenditure of the European Union in 2006. having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. 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. The Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. the United Kingdom's expenditure for 2004 .3 billion for the period 2007–2013.7 billion for the year 2007 and €864. requiring its approval to take office. Finally. By comparison. Notwithstanding its different configurations.

environment and fisheries" takes up around 11%.[70] The "EU as a global partner" and "citizenship. Title I of the consolidated Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: talk · edit view · Exclusive Shared competence: Supporting . security and justice" bring up the rear with approximately 6% and 1% respectively. The court provides an audit report for each financial year to the Council and the European Parliament. The Parliament uses this to decide whether to approve the Commission's handling of the budget. agriculture and the cohesion fund.03% of GDP. the largest single expenditure item is "cohesion & competitiveness" with around 45% of the total budget. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation.[73] In their report on 2009 the auditors found that five areas of Union expenditure.[72] The Court has not given an unqualified approval of the Union's accounts since 1993.[75] [edit] Competences EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. 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.863 million. the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.[69] In the 2010 budget of €141.[74] The European Commission estimated that the financial impact of irregularities was €1. The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions. In some areas the EU enjoys exclusive competence. member states can only legislate to the extent to which the EU has not. In 1960.[70] "Rural development.[70] "Administration" accounts for around 6%.5 billion.[70] Next comes "agriculture" with approximately 31% of the total.was estimated to be €759 billion. freedom. In other areas the EU and its member states share the competence to legislate. While both can legislate.[70] The European Court of Auditors aims to ensure that the budget of the European Union has been properly accounted for.[76] 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. In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate. and even with the same policy area. Different legislative procedures are used within the same category of competence. and France was estimated to have spent €801 billion. were materially affected by error.[71] The Court of Auditors is legally obliged to provide the Parliament and the Council with "a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions".

for the aspects defined in this Treaty  research. excluding the conservation of marine biological resources environment consumer protection transport trans-European networks energy the area of freedom. coordinate or supplement Member States' actions in:"     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          the internal market social policy. security and justice common safety concerns in public health matters. security and defence policies  the protection and improvement of human health industry culture tourism education."   "Union exercise of competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs in:"  competence: "The Union can carry out actions to support."   "Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so.competence: "The Union has exclusive competence to make directives and conclude international agreements when provided for in a Union legislative act. not covered elsewhere"        coordination of economic. humanitarian aid "The Union coordinates Member States policies or implements supplemental to theirs common policies. and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union . sport and vocational training civil protection (disaster prevention) administrative cooperation [edit] Legal system Further information: EU Law. EU treaties. technological development and space development cooperation. social and territorial cohesion agriculture and fisheries. employment and social policies common foreign. youth. for the aspects defined in this Treaty economic.

[nb 7] [edit] Courts of Justice The judicial branch of the EU—formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union— consists of three courts: the Court of Justice.The Court of Justice in Luxembourg is the highest court in the European Union in matters of EU law The EU is based on a series of treaties.[80] The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU's courts. national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified. even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law. the General Court.[81] and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service.[77] 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 ability to enact legislation[nb 5] which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants.[79] The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states.[82] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law. the institutions.[78] Under the principle of supremacy. and thus the laws enacted under them. Together they interpret and apply the treaties and the law of the EU. and (within limits) even constitutional provisions. and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. These first established the European Community and the EU. with the right to sign agreements and international treaties. and cases referred to it by the courts of member states. and then made amendments to those founding treaties.[83] [edit] Fundamental rights .[nb 6] The EU has legal personality.

"[84] In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. without the requirement for any implementing measures. the rule of law and respect for human rights..[87] Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership.[nb 8] previously. equality. democracy. directives.[89] [edit] Justice and home affairs Further information: Area of freedom. have direct effect in national law against member states. in a society in which pluralism. They are most often used in Competition Law. invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights. non-discrimination. The treaties declare that the EU itself is "founded on the values of respect for human dignity. under certain conditions. They are legal acts which only apply to specified individuals. solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. including the rights of persons belonging to minorities . or on rulings on State Aid. The EU also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy. directives. the EU itself could not accede to the Convention as it is neither a state[nb 9] nor had the competence to accede.[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. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU's legal acts can be judged.. Regulations. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation.[nb 11] and automatically override conflicting domestic provisions. Although signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership. Regulations become law in all member states the moment they come into force. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its world wide abolition. freedom.[nb 12] When the time limit for implementing directives passes. The details of how they are to be implemented are left to member states.[nb 5] Directives require member states to achieve a certain result while leaving them discretion as to how to achieve the result. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the Court of Justice and derived from the "constitutional traditions common to the member states. on occasion. security and justice . but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions.[88] [edit] Acts The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: regulations. companies or a particular member state. they may.[86] The Charter of Fundamental Rights was drawn up in 2000."[85] The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has. justice. and decisions. tolerance. 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.The last amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU came into force in 2009 and was the Lisbon Treaty.

The Schengen Area comprises most member states ensuring open borders. and racial discrimination. agencies have been established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol for co-operation of police forces. and sexual orientation. To this end. This cooperation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime. disability.[94] asylum law. and European External Action Service High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. age. Common Foreign and Security Policy.[96] Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties.[92] The EU also operates the Schengen Information System[12] which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities.[90] Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors. the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition. initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. Since the creation of the EU in 1993.[93] family law.[nb 15] [edit] Foreign relations Main articles: Foreign relations of the European Union. it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs. Furthermore. religion. these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race.[nb 14] By virtue of these powers. the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place. Foreign policy cooperation between member states dates from the establishment of the Community in 1957.[91] and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities. age discrimination. Catherine Ashton.[nb 13] In more recent years. when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations .[95] and criminal justice.

The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP makes disagreements. such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq. and are considered an important factor contributing to the reform of European formerly Communist countries. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS).under the Common Commercial Policy.[97] 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 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.[98] The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU's own interests and those of the international community as a whole.[102] The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. The EU participates in all G8 and G20 summits.[103] Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union. a unique EU department[101] that has been officially implemented and operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. however.[104] This influence on the internal affairs of other countries is generally referred to as "soft power". respect for human rights. It was not. and has the task of articulating the positions expressed by the member states on these fields of policy into a common alignment. including the furtherance of international co-operation. (G20 summit in Seoul) 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. until 1987 when European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. as opposed to military "hard power". democracy. and the rule of law.[99] The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. the international influence of the EU is also felt through enlargement.[105] [edit] Military .[100] not uncommon. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty.

France and the United Kingdom account for 45 per cent of Europe's defence budget.[114] EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from Africa to the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative. the United Kingdom. while the United Kindom spent almost €39 billion. terrorist attacks and armed aggression covered by TEU Article 42 (7) and TFEU Article 222 of the EU treaties.[113] Following the Kosovo War in 1999. the European Council agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action. Synchronised Armed Forces Europe.[116] In an EU consisting of 27 members. France.[112] In 2000. in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO".[106] 21 EU members are members of NATO[107] while the remaining member states follow policies of neutrality. After much discussion. substantial security and defence cooperation is increasingly relying on great power cooperation.[115] EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies. 50 per cent of its military capacity and 70 per cent of all spending in military research and development. the Western European Union. and the readiness to do so. a military alliance with a mutual defence clause. was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU.[111] Together. To that end.The Eurofighter is built by a consortium of four EU countries. 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. each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel.[117] [edit] Humanitarian aid . the means to decide to use them. Spain. and Germany accounted for 97% of the total military research budget of the then 15 EU member states. placing it third in the world after the US and China. and European Rapid Reaction Force The European Union does not have one unified military. Common Security and Defence Policy. including the European Defence Agency. notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. satellite centre and the military staff.[108] However the compatibility of their neutrality with EU membership is questioned (including by the Prime Minister of Finland)[109] and with mutual solidarity in the event of disasters. backed by credible military forces.[110] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). a number of efforts were made to increase the EU's military capability. European Defence Initiative. France spent more than $44 billion on defence in 2010. the fourth largest. Main articles: Military of the European Union.

[124] The previous commissioner for aid. or "ECHO". 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.[120] The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI. provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing countries.7 bn.7% of gross national income until 2015.[123] However. Under the de-inflated figures.[120] The EU's external action financing is divided into 'geographic' instruments and 'thematic' instruments. Luxembourg.[121] Furthermore. Louis Michel. 2008–2013) is made up of voluntary contributions by members states.[120] The European Development Fund (EDF.9 billion. Caribbean and Pacific countries.34% of the GNP which was higher than that of either the United States or Japan. mis-targeted and linked to economic objectives. the EU is the largest contributor of foreign aid in the world. In 2006 its budget amounted to €671 million.[125] [edit] Economy Main articles: Economy of the European Union and Regional policy of the European Union . which must spend 95% of its budget on overseas development assistance (ODA). €22. and on humanitarian principles. €16. which contains some relevant programmes.Further information: ECHO (European Commission) Collectively. 48% of which went to the African. foreign students. and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). and refugees.[118] Counting the EU's own contributions and those of its member states together. four countries have reached the 0. the EU is the largest aid donor in the world.7% target: Sweden.[120] The EU's aid has previously been criticised by the eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe for being inefficient. has called for aid to be delivered more rapidly. but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments in order to encourage increased contributions to match the 0. to greater effect.[119] Humanitarian aid is financed directly by the budget (70%) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund (30%). The European Commissions Humanitarian Aid Office. 2007–2013).7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight.[119] In 2005 EU aid was 0. the Netherlands and Denmark. the EU as a whole did not reach its internal aid target in 2006[122] and is expected not to reach the international target of 0.

600 and Yuzhen tsentralen with €6. from 26% of the EU27 average in the region of Severozapaden in Bulgaria.[131] and the United States.000). Inner London has €83. inflation at 2. Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue (Fortune Global 500 in 2010). ISPA.[130] India.[138] [edit] Internal market Main article: Internal Market (European Union) .000 to US$69. are Severozapaden with €6. The EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) sponsors research conducted by consortia from all EU members to work towards a single European Research Area. and support to the former USSR Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme. these range from €5.[137] Several funds provide emergency aid.200 PPP per capita. and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as the China.4% of GDP. 161 have their headquarters in the EU.000 (about US$7. and SAPARD).800.500.9% of GDP. It is the largest exporter. using a single currency comprises 17 members states. in 2007.242 billion international dollars) share of the global gross domestic product[18] making it the largest economy in the world.000 or €50. to 334% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom. the eurozone.000. Luxembourg €68.[127] In 2010 the EU generated an estimated 26% (16. by GDP [126] The EU has established a single market across the territory of all its members.2% and public deficit at −0. Such regions are primarily located in the new member states of East-Central Europe.[128] the largest importer[129] of goods and services. A monetary union.[135] The difference between the richest and poorest regions (271 NUTS-2 regions of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) ranged.400 PPP per capita. On the high end.[134] There is a significant variance for annual per capita income within individual EU states. while the poorest regions. and Bruxelles-Cap €55. Nord-Est and Severen tsentralen with €6.[136] Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU's standard (Phare.[132] In May 2007 unemployment in the EU stood at 7%[133] while investment was at 21.The ten largest economies in the world counting the EU as a single entity.

This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states. work. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. and the words "European Union" given in their official language(s). Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties. discriminatory taxes or import quotas. 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 single market involves the free circulation of goods. The free movement of persons means that EU citizens can move freely between member states to live. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states.[142] According to the Treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised. a symbol. as they travel internally.[141] 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. subsequently renamed the single market. people and services within the EU.[127] and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market.[140] Until the drive towards Economic and Monetary Union the development of the capital provisions had been slow. legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. capital. While services account for 60–70% of GDP. study or retire in another country. Norway. The non-EU member states of Iceland. [edit] Competition Further information: European Union competition law and European Commissioner for Competition . and a customs union between its member states.EU Member States have a standardised passport design with the name of the member state.[49] Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU.[139] Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries. (Ireland model) Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market.

resulted in the Commission fining Microsoft over €777 million following nine years of legal action. The European Central Bank in Frankfurt governs the monetary policy.[143] The Competition Commissioner.[145] Another high profile case against Microsoft.[nb 16] The Commission as the competition regulator for the single market is responsible for antitrust issues. which by then consisted of 12 . is one of the most powerful positions in the Commission.[146] [edit] Monetary union The eurozone (in darker blue) is constituted by 17 member states adopting the euro as legal tender. currently Joaquín Almunia. 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. However.The EU operates a competition policy intended to ensure undistorted competition within the single market. Eurozone. breaking up cartels. and Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969. It remained an accounting currency until 1 January 2002. notable for the ability to affect the commercial interests of transnational corporations. On this date the euro was duly launched by eleven of the then 15 member states of the EU. when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone. Maastricht criteria. 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.[144] For example. approving mergers. working for economic liberalisation and preventing state aid. See also: Euro.

All other EU member states.[nb 17] The euro is designed to help build a single market by. who is appointed by the European Council. are legally bound to join the euro[147] when the convergence criteria are met.4% Other 1. [edit] Financial supervision The European System of Financial Supervisors is an institutional architecture of the EU's framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority. are under the control of the European Central Bank (ECB). the most recent being Estonia which joined on 1 January 2011.4% .[151] Also. for example: easing travel of citizens and goods.9% Gas 19.3% Coal & lignite 21. providing price transparency. and providing a currency used internationally and protected against shocks by the large amount of internal trade within the eurozone. The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU. eliminating exchange rate problems.[148] Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges reserves being in euro.[150] The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone (consisting of the EU member states which have adopted the euro). which comprehends all EU national central banks and is controlled by its General Council. Sweden has circumvented the requirement to join the euro by not meeting the membership criteria. the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority. except Denmark and the United Kingdom. the Vice-President of the ECB. there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the ECB.4% Renewable energy 14. and the governors of the national central banks of all 27 EU member states.member states. The eurozone has since grown to 17 countries.6% Oil 13. however only a few countries have set target dates for accession. To complement this framework. and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. It is also intended as a political symbol of integration and stimulus for more. It is at the centre of the European System of Central Banks. and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU.[152] [edit] Energy EU energy production 46% of total EU primary energy use Nuclear energy[nb 18] 29. consisting of the President of the ECB. creating a single financial market. the euro is one of the world's primary reserve currency after the US dollar.[149] The euro. price stability and low interest rates.

[153] Around 46% of the energy consumed was produced within the member states while 54% was imported. diversify energy resources with better systems to respond to a crisis. LGV . 57% of its gas[157] and 97.[158] [edit] Infrastructure Further information: European Commissioner for Transport and European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship The Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden is part of the Trans-European Networks. encourage investment and boost interconnections between electricity grids. The EU is attempting to diversify its energy supply. establish a new treaty framework for energy co-operation with Russia while improving relations with energy-rich states in Central Asia[156] and North Africa.4% Main article: Energy policy of the European Union In 2006. and finally increase funding for new energy technologies. this has its roots in the original European Coal and Steel Community. The EU is working to improve cross-border infrastructure within the EU. There are concerns that Europe's dependence on Russian energy is endangering the Union and its member countries.[154] The EU has had legislative power in the area of energy policy for most of its existence.[153] In these statistics. Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel.[155] The EU has five key points in its energy policy: increase competition in the internal market.Net imports of energy 54% of total primary EU energy use Oil & petroleum products 60. of which less than 3% is produced in the EU. nuclear energy is treated as primary energy produced in the EU. regardless of the source of the uranium. The introduction of a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy was approved at the meeting of the European Council in October 2005.825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). and the first draft policy was published in January 2007. for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN).4% Other 13. use existing energy supplies more efficiently while increasing use of renewable energy.[155] The EU currently imports 82% of its oil.2% Gas 26. the 27 member states of the EU had a gross inland energy consumption of 1.48% of its uranium[154] demands.

(Vineyard in Spain) The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the oldest policies of the European Community.Est. The Galileo project was launched partly to reduce the EU's dependency on the US-operated Global Positioning System. and ensuring reasonable prices for consumers. 270 maritime harbours. they were often sold on the world market at prices considerably below Community guaranteed . and their perception of redundancy given the existence of the GPS system. In order to dispose of surplus stores. the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Strait of Messina Bridge. providing certainty in food supplies. given the aged nature of the GPS system. to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). and is to be operational by 2010. operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. Until the 1990s. the largest budgetary expenditure.700 mi) of roads. 330 airports.[159][160] The developing European transport policies will increase the pressure on the environment in many regions by the increased transport network. and 210 internal harbours. the policy accounted for over 60% of the then European Community's annual budget.600 roads needed to be upgraded to EU standards.[163] It has been criticised by some due to costs. the new states that joined since 2004 added the problem of solving accessibility to the transport agenda. and was one of its core aims. delays. demanding approximately €17 billion.[162] The Galileo positioning system is another EU infrastructure project .000 kilometres (48. the Öresund Bridge. In 2001 it was estimated that by 2010 the network would cover: 75. After the recent enlargement.[nb 19] It was. but also to give more complete global coverage and allow for far greater accuracy.[165] The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural production. and still accounts for around 35%. In the pre-2004 EU members. ensuring a high quality of life for farmers. until recently. the Fréjus Rail Tunnel. resulting in so-called butter mountains and wine lakes. 4. Galileo is a proposed Global Navigation Satellite System.[161] The Polish road network in particular was in poor condition: at Poland's accession to the EU. These were intervention stores of produce bought up by the Community to maintain minimum price levels.[164] [edit] Agriculture Main article: Common Agricultural Policy EU farms are supported by the CAP.[165] The policy's price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction.200 kilometres (46.000 mi) of railways. stabilising markets. 78. the major problem in transport deals with congestion and pollution.

in what would otherwise be an economically unviable way of life.[166] Supporters of CAP say that the economic support which it gives to farmers provides them with a reasonable standard of living. where a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn from production. This system has been criticised for under-cutting farmers outside of Europe. Initially these reforms included the introduction of set-aside in 1988. In its first 20 years it has supported international exchange opportunities for well over 1. the EU's small farmers receive only 8% of CAP's available subsidies. and for adult learners in the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013. In education. These programmes are designed to encourage a wider knowledge of other countries and to . which previously divided the sugar market between member states and certain AfricanCaribbean nations with a privileged relationship with the EU. Agriculture expenditure will move away from subsidy payments linked to specific produce. the 'de-coupling' (or disassociation) of the money farmers receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by the Fischler reforms in 2004).prices. The most visible of these has been the Erasmus Programme.[168] There are now similar programmes for school pupils and teachers.[166] Since the beginning of the 1990s. or farmers were offered subsidies (amounting to the difference between the Community and world prices) to export their produce outside the Community. while maintaining agricultural income levels. especially those in the developing world. the policy was mainly developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. toward direct payments based on farm size. milk quotas (by the McSharry reforms in 1992) and. However. for trainees in vocational education and training. a university exchange programme which began in 1987.[165] One of these reforms entailed the abolition of the EU's sugar regime.5 million university and college students and has become a symbol of European student life. This is intended to allow the market to dictate production levels. more recently.[167] [edit] Education and science Main articles: 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 Education and science are areas where the EU's role is limited to supporting national governments. the CAP has been subject to a series of reforms.[166] The overproduction has also been criticised for encouraging environmentally unfriendly intensive farming methods.

The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that "A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities".[169] Through its support of the Bologna process the EU is supporting comparable standards and compatible degrees across Europe. The independent European Research Council allocates EU funds to European or national research projects.[170] The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) deals in a number of areas. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers seeks to align national laws on the protection of people's health. All EU and many other European countries offer their citizens a free European Health Insurance Card which. their citizens can purchase supplemental insurance for additional coverage.[175] A specific directive. All the member states have either publicly sponsored and regulated universal health care or publicly provided universal health care. aims at promoting cooperation on health care between member states . The systems are primarily publicly funded through taxation (universal health care). for example energy where it aims to develop a diverse mix of renewable energy for the environment and to reduce dependence on imported fuels. on the consumers' rights. The public plans in some countries provide basic or "sick" coverage only. Scientific development is facilitated through the EU's Framework Programmes. on the safety of food and other products. on a reciprocal basis.[171] [edit] Health care European Health Insurance Card. Private funding for health care may represent personal contributions towards meeting the non-taxpayer refunded portion of health care or may reflect totally private (non-subsidised) health care either paid out of pocket or met by some form of personal or employer funded insurance. the Directive on cross-border healthcare.[172][173][174] Health care in the EU is provided through a wide range of different systems run at the national level. provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries. (French version pictured) Although the EU has no major competences in the field of health care. the first of which started in 1984.spread good practices in the education and training fields across the EU.

000 11.153.064.7 million (Copenhagen. 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.500.).105 5.690 City Berlin London Madrid Paris Rome City limits (2006) 3.000 3.928.600 2. the combined population of all 27 member states was forecast at 501.330 9.000 3.5 million (urban area in between Antwerp.[176][177][178] [edit] Demographics Main article: Demographics of the European Union On 23 October 2010. Dortmund.457.971.325.460 4.).500. Sweden).211 as of 1 January 2010. Frankfurt/Rhine-Main approx. The Hague. The largest are Rhine-Ruhr having approximately 11. 5.8 million (Frankfurt.124 2.359 2.[181] It contains 16 cities with populations of over one million. Düsseldorf et al.708.000 6.900 9.410.000 5.000 The EU is home to more global cities than any other region in the world.000 10.5 million (Katowice.332. 3.198 13. and the Upper Silesian Industrial Region approx.228. 3.000 11.450 2.880 3.). 5.)[182] [edit] Languages European official languages report (EU-251) Native Language Total Speakers English 13% 51% German 18% 32% French 12% 26% Italian 13% 16% .761 12.331 4.761. Rotterdam.500.000 12.and facilitating access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare for European patients.000 4. Besides many large cities.400 3.395 Metropolitan Area[180] (2011) 4. Randstad approx.917.5 million inhabitants (Cologne.300. Denmark and Malmö. Sosnowiec et al.000 5. the largest being London.512.867.000 7.829 24.804.815 9.089. the Flemish diamond approx. Wiesbaden et al. 7 million (Amsterdam. Utrecht et al.[5] [edit] Urbanisation Population of the 5 largest cities in the EU[179] Urban area LUZ (2004) Density/km² Density /sq mi (2005) 3. the Öresund Region approx.672 63. Brussels. Leuven and Ghent).990.

Portuguese. Slovene. French. it has 23 official and working languages: Bulgarian. Hungarian.7 million people as of 2006). Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are not official languages of the EU but have semi-official status in that official translations of the treaties are made into them and citizens of the EU have the right to correspond with the institutions using them. Danish. Slovak.[191] Most official languages of the EU belong to the Indo-European language family. Romanian. except Estonian. Polish. Latvian. Survey conducted in 2005. are translated into every official language. Czech. German. Native: Native language[183] Total: EU citizens able to hold a conversation in this language[184] Main article: Languages of the European Union Among the many languages and dialects used in the EU.[190] German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (about 88. Spanish.[187] Some institutions use only a handful of languages as internal working languages. English. Greek. The European Parliament provides translation into all languages for documents and its plenary sessions. and . such as legislation. Italian. and Swedish. Language policy is the responsibility of member states. Irish.[185][186] Important documents. Maltese. Finnish. but EU institutions promote the learning of other languages. Basque. before the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.[188] Catalan. Estonian. based on population with a minimum age of 15. Galician. Dutch.[nb 20][189] English is the most spoken language in the EU and is spoken by 51% of the EU population counting both native and non-native speakers. Lithuanian. Finnish. 56% of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue.Spanish Polish Dutch Greek Czech Swedish Hungarian Portuguese Slovak Danish Finnish Lithuanian Slovenian Estonian Irish Latvian Maltese 1 9% 9% 5% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 15% 10% 6% 3% 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1% Published in 2006.

[192] Of these. As of 2009. and Greek. written in the Greek alphabet. 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.[195] Main article: Religion in the European Union The EU is a secular body with no formal connection with any religion. Bulgaria and Romania). spoken by up to 50 million people. religious and humanist inheritance of Europe". which is an Afroasiatic language. and Maltese. only the Spanish regional languages (that is. Catalan/Valencian.[194] Although EU programmes can support regional and minority languages.[197] Christians in the EU are divided among followers of Roman Catholicism. Other religions. are also represented in the EU population. but the idea faced opposition and was dropped. the EU had an estimated Muslim population of 13 million.[196] The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the "cultural. [edit] Religion The percentage of Europeans in each member state who believe in "a God". such as Islam and Judaism. which belong to the Uralic language family. 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".[196] Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included proposals to mention Christianity or "God" or both. there are about 150 regional and minority languages.[199] . and Welsh[193] can be used by citizens in communication with the main European institutions. written in Cyrillic. Galician. Scottish Gaelic. and Orthodoxy (in Greece. Cyprus.[198] and an estimated Jewish population of over a million. Most EU official languages are written in the Latin alphabet except Bulgarian. in the preamble of the text. numerous Protestant denominations (especially in northern Europe). and the non-Indo-European Basque).[192] Besides the 23 official languages.Hungarian. the protection of linguistic rights is a matter for the individual member states.

those with religious upbringing.[207] This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. such as the free movement of workers which was at the core of the Bosman ruling.[195] Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years. However. which prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship. predominantly Roman Catholic).[209 . and Cyprus and Romania both with about 90% of the citizens believing in God (both predominantly Eastern Orthodox)."[195] [edit] Culture and sport Turku in Finland (left) and Tallinn in Estonia (right) are the European Capitals of Culture in 2011 Main articles: Cultural policies of the European Union and Sport policies of the European Union Cultural co-operation between member states has been a concern of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty.[208] The EU does fund a program for Israeli.[205] Sport is mainly the responsibility of an individual member states or other international organisations rather than that of the EU.[201] Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 7-year programme. and those "positioning themselves on the right of the political scale (57%).[203] orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra[204] 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. belief was higher among women. Irish and British football coaches. Jordanian. due to objections over the applications of free market principles to sport which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. increased with age.[202] the Media Plus programme. 27% in "some sort of spirit or life force". Across the EU.Eurostat's Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 that 52% of EU citizens believed in a god. there are some EU policies that have had an impact on sport.[201] the European Cultural Month event. as part of the Football 4 Peace project.[195] The most religious countries are Malta (95%. and 18% had no form of belief.[200] The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were Estonia (16%) and the Czech Republic (19%). those who left school at 15 with a basic education.[206] The Treaty of Lisbon requires any application of economic rules to take into account the specific nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity.

Germany. Denmark. soon after the establishment of the 6-nation EEC. This was. Britain was also preoccupied with the Commonwealth. Portugal. This established the progressive elimination of customs duties on industrial products. Consequently. For this reason most countries eased or eliminated their trade tariffs in preparation to join the EEC. The main difference between the early EEC and the EFTA was the absence of a common external customs tariff. After the accession of Denmark and the UK to the EEC. The UK brought together several countries (including some bordering the EEC) and decided to form the European Free Trade Association in about 1959. Luxembourg.5 to 8. Italy. Belgium. These last three are also known as the Benelux Union.) On 4 January 1960. Switzerland and the United Kingdom. rather less than the increase enjoyed by countries inside the EEC. Currently there are only 4 members remaining: Switzerland.2 billion US dollars between 1959 and 1967. in 1960 (after the creation of EFTA). During the 1960s these countries were often referred to as . now EU member states The founding members of EFTA were Austria. the financial results were excellent. however. (France. Norway. as it stimulated an increase of foreign trade volume among its members from 3. [edit] Membership history EFTA member states Former member states. Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 following the 2008–2009 Icelandic financial crisis. Despite this modest initiative. Sweden. EFTA began to falter. but experienced declining revenue which reduced the importance of EFTA. the Treaty on European Free Trade Association was initialed in the Golden Hall of the Prince's Palace of Stockholm. and the Netherlands. which was in a critical period. but did not affect agricultural products or maritime trade. Norway and Liechtenstein and Iceland.Political history British reaction to the creation of the EEC was mixed and complex. and therefore each EFTA member was free to establish individual customs duties against trade with non EFTA countries. France vetoed British membership.

238 1960 3 May 1960 7.591.285 Bern 325.000 Reykjavík 11.600 385.the Outer Seven.400 41. as opposed to the Inner Six of the then-European Economic Community (EEC).155 Oslo 255.721.837 36.681 1970 1 January 34.[1] Finland became an associate member in 1961 (becoming a full member in 1986) and Iceland joined in 1970.765 [edit] General Secretaries General Secretaries of EFTA:          1960-1965: 1965-1972: 1972-1975: 1976-1981: 1981-1988: 1988-1994: 1994-2000: 2000-2006: 2006–present: Frank E. Austria.160 122.000 103.247 160. [edit] Current members Flag State Official name Accession Population Area (km²) Capital GDP GDP in per millions capita (PPP) (PPP) Republic of Iceland Principality of Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Kingdom of Norway Norway Swiss Confederation Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica) Iceland 1 January 320. The United Kingdom and Denmark joined the EEC in 1973 (together with Ireland). Sweden and Finland joined the EU in 1995 and thus ceased to be EFTA members. Liechtenstein joined in 1991 (previously its interests in EFTA had been represented by Switzerland). Finally. Figgures Sir John Coulson Bengt Rabaeus Charles Müller Per Kleppe Georg Reisch Kjartan Jóhannsson William Rossier Kåre Bryn [edit] Institutions .4 Vaduz 4. and hence ceased to be EFTA members. Portugal also left the EFTA for the European Community in 1986.505 52.305 41.100 1991 3 May 4.

it does not participate in these institutions. Since Switzerland is not an EEA member. The Portugal Fund has now been dissolved by the Member States. the European Court of Justice informed the Council of the European Union by way of letter that they considered that giving the EU institutions powers with respect to non-EU member states would be a violation of the treaties. and therefore the current arrangement was developed instead. while the EFTA Court has its headquarters in Luxembourg (the same location as the headquarters of the European Court of Justice). which is affiliated to the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels. [edit] International conventions .EFTA is governed by the EFTA Council and serviced by the EFTA Secretariat. However. In addition. Switzerland. Repayment was originally to commence in 1988. [edit] EEA-related institutions The EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court regulate the activities of the EFTA members in respect of their obligations in the European Economic Area (EEA). [edit] Locations The EFTA Secretariat is headquartered in Geneva. the remaining EFTA members decided to nonetheless continue the Portugal Fund. to the value of 100 million US dollars. the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. The EEA and Norway Grants are administered by the Financial Mechanism Office. while the EFTA Court performs the European Court of Justice's role for those countries. The EFTA Surveillance Authority has its headquarters in Brussels. in connection with the EEA Agreement of 1992. and instead had the European Court of Justice and the European Commission were to exercise those roles. so Portugal would continue to benefit from it. during the negotiations for the EEA agreement. The EFTA Surveillance Authority performs the European Commission's role as "guardian of the treaties" for the EFTA countries. two other EFTA organisations were established. When Portugal left EFTA in 1985 to join the EEC. [edit] Portugal Fund The Portugal Fund was established in 1975 when Portugal was still a member of EFTA. The Fund originally took the form of a low-interest loan from the EFTA member states to Portugal. to provide funding for the development and reconstruction of Portugal after the Carnation Revolution. but EFTA then decided to postpone the start of repayments until 1998. The original plan for the EEA lacked the EFTA Court or the EFTA Surveillance Authority. Belgium (the same location as the headquarters of the European Commission).

A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations. both of which are open to non-EFTA states. except for Switzerland. [edit] Relationship to the European Economic Area The EFTA members.EFTA also originated the Hallmarking Convention and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention. Currently. are also members of the European Economic Area (EEA).[2] . in addition to the 27 Member States of the European Union. the EFTA States have established preferential trade relations with 23 States and Territories.v • d • e [edit] International relationships EFTA has several free trade agreements with non-EU countries as well as declarations on cooperation and joint workgroups to improve trade.

Lesotho. South Africa). Swaziland. and is in a "joint workgroup" with in dark red. United Arab Emirates)[5] Hong Kong China[6] Israel Jordan South Korea Lebanon Macedonia Mexico Morocco (Excluded Western Sahara[7]) Palestinian National Authority Peru[8] Serbia[9] Singapore Southern African Customs Union (Botswana. has a declaration on cooperation with in purple. Kuwait. Qatar. Namibia. the EFTA is light green. Oman. [edit] Free Trade Agreement                        Albania[3] Canada Chile Colombia[4] Croatia Egypt Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain. Saudi Arabia. Tunisia Turkey Ukraine[10] [edit] Currently negotiating agreements .Nations the EFTA has an FTA with in dark blue. negotiating an FTA with in dark cyan.

Uruguay. At the time of the first referendum (1972) their neighbour Denmark joined. Honduras) Malaysia Mauritius Mercosur (Brazil. referenda on EU membership have been initiated. Argentina. the last time in 2001. Guatemala. Paraguay) Mongolia Panama Vietnam [edit] Future The European Union (blue) and EFTA countries (green) The Norwegian electorate has rejected treaties of accession to the EU in two referenda. Sweden and Finland. . The second time (1994) two other Nordic neighbours. as they have both been coalition governments consisting of proponents and opponents. The last two governments of Norway have been unable and unwilling to advance the question. El Salvador.       Algeria Bosnia-Herzegovina India Indonesia Montenegro Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan Thailand [edit] Declarations on Cooperation/Dialogue on closer trade and investment relations        Central American States (Costa Rica. joined the EU. Since Switzerland rejected the EEA in 1992. These were rejected by clear majorities.

ISK No. according to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention. only states may become members of the Association. [edit] EFTA and the European Union See also: Accession of Iceland to the European Union and Norway and the European Union This table summarises the various components of EU laws applied in the EFTA countries and their sovereign territories.tions Schengen area territory EU single zone territories of EU law ? M? ship? ? area? ? ? market? ? Iceland Partial Liechtenste Partial in Norway. following the global financial crisis of 2008. may join the EU in the near future.[13] The Faroes already have an extensive bilateral free trade agreement with Iceland. NOK No No Set to No implemen No t later No No No No No Yes No[15] Yes[18][citati on needed] No No No No No No No No No No No No No[16 ] No No No No No Yes[14] No[14][17] Yes[14][19][citat ion needed][dead link] Bouvet Partial Island Peter I Partial Island Queen Partial Maud Land No No No Yes[18][citati on needed] Yes[14][19][citat No. CHF Yes[18][citati on needed] Uncle No Switzerlan Partial ar d Member Applicati Enfor EURATO No EU No Yes No No EU EU Schengen EU EU single Euro . known as the Hoyvík Agreement. On 16 July 2009. NOK No. NOK No. except: Svalbard Partial Partial Uncle ar Uncle ar Uncle ar Uncle ar Uncle ar Uncle ar Uncle ar No No No Yes No No Yes[14] Yes[14] No. ion needed] NOK Yes[20] No. the government formally applied for EU membership. EFTA Enfor member ceable states in EU EU EU EU and Applicati local citize elecVAT customs Euro sovereign on courts EURATO n.Iceland. Some territories of EU member states also have a special status in regard to EU laws applied as is the case with some European microstates. the chances of the Faroes' bid for membership are uncertain because. representatives of the Faroe Islands hinted at the possibility of their territory joining EFTA. on the other hand.[11] In mid-2005. which has particularly affected the local economy.[12] However. CHF No. ion needed] NOK Yes[14][19][citat No.

which covers many more countries Trade bloc Schengen Agreement .tions ship? ? area? VAT customs area territory ? ? market? zone ? [edit] See also         Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) Enlargement of the European Union Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) Free trade areas in Europe European Union free trade agreements European Union Association Agreement.states and on ceable sovereign of EU law in territories local courts ? M? citize elecn.