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European Union

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union between 27 member countries located primarily in Europe. Committed to regional integration, the EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993 upon the foundations of the European Communities.

Member State of the European Union


The European Union is composed of 27 sovereign Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The Union's membership has grown from the original six founding states Belgium, France, (then-West) Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlandsto the present day 27 by successive enlargements. To join the EU a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy capable of competition within the EU; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council.

Political institutions
There are three political institutions which hold the executive and legislative power of the Union.: The Council,which represents governments. The Parliament,which represents citizens . The Commission ,which represents the European interest. Essentially, the Council, Parliament or another party place a request for legislation to the Commission. The Commission then drafts this and presents it to the Parliament and Council, where in most cases both must give their assent.

Non-political institutions
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is the central bank for the eurozone (the states which have adopted the euro) and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability.

Court of Justice of the European Union

Court of Auditors

Economy
European Union economy is constituted of economies of 27 states,being recognized as one of the developed economies of the world. The economy of the European Union generates a GDP of over 11,805.66 billion ($16,447.26 billion in 2009) according to the IMF, making it the largest economy in the world. It is also the largest exporter ,and largest importer of goods and services, and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as China and India. The EU economy consists of a single market and is represented as a unified entity in the WTO.

Single market
Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market, subsequently renamed the single market and a customs union between its member states. The single market involves the free circulation of goods, capital, people and services within the EU, and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties,discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally. The non-EU member states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union.Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU.

Monetary union
The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the EU in 1969. However, 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. On this date the euro was duly launched by eleven of the then fifteen member states of the EU. It remained an accounting currency until 1 January 2002, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone, which by then consisted of twelve member states. The eurozone has since grown to sixteen countries, the most recent being Slovakia which joined on 1 January 2009.

The euro is designed to help build a single market by, for example: easing travel of citizens and goods, eliminating exchange rate problems, providing price transparency, creating a single financial market, price stability and low interest rates, and providing a currency used internationally and protected against shocks by the large amount of internal trade within the eurozone. It is also intended as a political symbol of integration and stimulus for more. Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges reserves being in euro. The euro, and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU, are under the control of the European Central Bank (ECB). There are eleven other currencies used in the EU with all but two legally obliged to be switched to the euro. A number of other countries outside the EU, such as Montenegro, use the euro without formal agreement with the ECB.

The euro for all Europeans


All EU countries are expected to introduce the euro, but only when their economies are ready. The countries that became EU members in 2004 and 2007 are therefore gradually joining the euro area, while Denmark and the United Kingdom do not currently use the euro due to special political agreements. To join the euro area, a country's old currency must have had a stable exchange rate for two years. Other conditions relate to interest rates, budget deficits, inflation rates and the level of government debt.

The 2007 enlargement of the European Union


In this last wave of enlargement,the fifth,two new countries join European Union:Romania and Bulgaria. Romania was the first country of Central and Eastern Europe to have official relations with the European Community. The date of accession, 1 January 2007, was set at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and confirmed in Brussels on 18 June 2004. Bulgaria, Romania and the EU-25 signed the Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005 at Luxembourg's Neumuenster Abbey. The 26 September 2006 monitoring report of the European Commission confirmed the entry date as 1 January 2007. The last instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited with the Italian government on 20 December 2006 thereby ensuring it came into force on 1 January 2007.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT EU COUNTRIES


Austria The company that makes Red Bull, the worlds No. 1 energy drink, is headquartered in Fuschl, Austria. Belgium Belgium has the 2nd highest concentration of diplomatic missions (159 Embassies) after Washington, D.C. The Czech Republic The Czech Republic has the largest number of incoming tourists per capita, with Prague being the most visited city. Estonia Skype, designed by Estonian developers, offers free calls over the Internet to millions of people. France France is the most visited country in the world. Italy The city of Torino hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, which were a great success in terms of organizational efficiency and security as well as an intense celebration of sport and friendship. The Nethelands The Dutch are strong inventors and developed the compact disc, the microscope, and the artificial heart. Sweeden Sweden has the second highest proportion of women in its national parliament, 45.3 per cent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Romania Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the the first Olympic gymnast ever to score a perfect 10, at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Conclusions
Romanias European Union accesion had a positive impact on the economy,opening new oportunities for business,giving romanian companies the chance to acces the Single Market.Another reason that suports the accesion is the growth in intra-comunity and comunity trade,which will grow due to removal of tarrif and non-tariff barriers. Eu accesion has brought an improvement of romanian business enviroment which transformed Romania in an attractive target for foreign investment. Others sectors that will benefit from the european integration are turism and transport,representing investment oportunities. The romanian people can travel in the European Union and have the rights of an european member,they can have acces to Eu labor market and,once with the accesion,a substantial improvement of living standard of population.