[111], The EU has no formal connection to any religion. [170], Under the principle of supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified, and thus the laws enacted under them, even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law, and (within limits) even constitutional provisions. In higher education, the policy was developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. [216] The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, €16.9 billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95% of its budget on official development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes. The bull is, for its part, depicted on all residence permit cards. [46], During the interwar period, the consciousness that national markets in Europe were interdependent though confrontational, along with the observation of a larger and growing US market on the other side of the ocean, nourished the urge for the economic integration of the continent. Tasks for the President of the European Council are ensuring the external representation of the EU,[144] driving consensus and resolving divergences among member states, both during meetings of the European Council and over the periods between them. It's a bit like a club. [r], The direct effect and supremacy doctrines were not explicitly set out in the European Treaties but were developed by the Court of Justice itself over the 1960s, apparently under the influence of its then most influential judge, Frenchman Robert Lecourt[171]. The UK became a Council member 24 years before it joined the EU. EU policy is in general promulgated by EU directives, which are then implemented in the domestic legislation of its member states, and EU regulations, which are immediately enforceable in all member states. [267] Among the member states, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.3%), Germany and Poland (both 3.4%), and the highest in Spain (14.9%) and Greece (19.0 in July 2018).[267]. [262], The policy's price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction. On 26 February 2016 it was made public that Cyprus has asked to make Turkish an official EU language, in a "gesture" that could help solve the division of the country. The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. The country officially left the union on January 31, 2020. Austria is a member country of the EU since January 1, 1995 with its geographic size of 83,879 km², and population number 8,576,234, as per 2015. The European Union, or EU, is a collaborative effort between 27 European countries to form a mutually beneficial economic and policy community. [w] When the time limit for implementing directives passes, they may, under certain conditions, have direct effect in national law against member states. [159] The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the European Communities, the predecessors of the present Union, in 1986. In 1987 the European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the Single European Act. Since 2019 there is a European Commissioner for Equality; a European Institute for Gender Equality has existed since 2007. [301] The European Capital of Culture programme selects one or more cities in every year to assist the cultural development of that city. The Euro vs. [296] In general, life expectancy is lower in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. It maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Post-Brexit EU Defence Policy: Is Germany Leading towards a European Army? The European Union represents all its members at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and acts on behalf of member states in any disputes. ", "Cultural Policy and Politics in the European Union", "An Overture to the European Union Youth Orchestra", "IOC, FIFA presidents welcomes new EU treaty, call it breakthrough to give sports more power", "Sports coaches from Israel travel to UK for training", "Thirty-sixth meeting of the ministers' deputies: resolution (55) 32", Guide graphique relatif à l'emblème européen, "Graphical specifications for the European Emblem", "Der Karlspreisträger Seine Heiligkeit Papst Johannes Paul II. The majority of the population lives in areas with a temperate maritime climate (North-Western Europe and Central Europe), a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe), or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Northern Balkans and Central Europe). In 2002, euro banknotes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Institutions are distinct from advisory bodies to the European Union, and agencies of the Europe… [citation needed] 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. The UK’s membership of the Council would be unaffected if it left the EU. Consists of 705 directly elected representatives. [90], The European Union has 24 official languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish. [58], The EEC and Euratom were created separately from the ECSC and they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the League of Nations, precursor of the United Nations. The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. ", Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Treaty establishing the European Defence Community, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, a debt crisis in some of the Eurozone countries, increasing migration from Africa and Asia, referendum in the UK on its membership of the European Union, formal withdrawal procedure for leaving the EU, List of cities in the European Union by population within city limits, list of urban areas in the European Union, European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, UN Conference on Environment and Development, 500 largest corporations in the world measured by revenue, Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, the free circulation of goods, capital, people, and services within the EU, Directive on services in the internal market, Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority, European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, European Commissioner for the Environment, Institute for European Environmental Policy, Educational policies and initiatives of the European Union, Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, research and technological framework programmes, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, Special member state territories and the European Union, List of multilateral free-trade agreements, European Union–United Kingdom free trade agreement, Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen, Article 4 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, "European Commission – Frequently asked questions on languages in Europe", "Cyrillic, the third official alphabet of the EU, was created by a truly multilingual European", "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2020", "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2020 (EU countries)", "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income - EU-SILC survey", "Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century", "The EU Single Market: Fewer barriers, more opportunities", "Activities of the European Union: Internal Market", "Less than a State, More than an International Organization: The Sui Generis Nature of the European Union", "Brexit day: end of an era as United Kingdom leaves EU – as it happened-GB", "European Union reaches 500 Million through Combination of Accessions, Migration and Natural Growth", "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019 (global)", "A European Cultural Identity? This co-operation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime. Burgess, Michael (2000). [165][166], EU member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. [113] Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the Treaty of Lisbon included proposals to mention Christianity or a god, or both, in the preamble of the text, but the idea faced opposition and was dropped.[114]. [246][aa], 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). These included the Working Time Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The European Parliament is one of three legislative institutions of the EU, which together with the Council of the European Union is tasked with amending and approving the Commission's proposals. The European Union creates an allied front against outside aggression.The past 50 years in Europe have been some of the most peaceful out of the last 1,000 years of history. and is effectively treated as one of the Copenhagen criteria. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. [248], The European System of Financial Supervision is an institutional architecture of the EU's framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority. Competence in scrutinising and amending legislation is shared between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, while executive tasks are performed by the European Commission and in a limited capacity by the European Council (not to be confused with the aforementioned Council of the European Union). [201], Switzerland was called to vote on whether to end the agreement with European Union on the free movement of people, in September 2020. [327][328] Scholar Thomas Risse wrote in 2009, "there is a consensus in the literature on Eastern Europe that the EU membership perspective had a huge anchoring effects for the new democracies. [ac] It was, until recently, operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. The distribution of competences in various policy areas between Member States and the Union is divided in the following three categories: The EU is based on a series of treaties. There is a strong dependence on Russian energy that the EU has been attempting to reduce. The developing European transport policies will increase the pressure on the environment in many regions by the increased transport network. In 2012, its budget amounted to €874 million, 51% of the budget went to Africa and 20% to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, and 20% to the Middle East and Mediterranean. After much discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel. In 1957, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany signed the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community (EEC) and established a customs union. The Council of the European Union is the main decision-making group. The four countries forming the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are not EU members, but have partly committed to the EU's economy and regulations: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through bilateral treaties. Accordingly, the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition,[186] family law,[187] asylum law,[188] and criminal justice. European Union - European Union - Creation of the European Economic Community: On March 25, 1957, the six ECSC members signed the two Treaties of Rome that established the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)—which was designed to facilitate cooperation in atomic energy development, research, and utilization—and the European Economic Community (EEC). [203], The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes. [176], The treaties declare that the EU itself is "founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities ... in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate, support and supplement member state action but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising national laws.[167]. [319], The majority of media in the European Union are national-oriented, although some EU-wide media focusing on European affairs have emerged since the early 1990s, such as Euronews, Eurosport, EUobserver, EURACTIV or Politico Europe. "[324] Greece was the exception reported by the study, which analysed up to 2008, "to avoid confounding effects from the global financial crisis". [132], The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making,[133][134] and according to the principles of conferral (which says that it should act only within the limits of the competences conferred on it by the treaties) and of subsidiarity (which says that it should act only where an objective cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states acting alone). Lobbying at EU level by special interest groups is regulated to try to balance the aspirations of private initiatives with public interest decision-making process.[141]. The judicial branch of the EU—formally called the Court of Justice of the European Union—consists of two courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court. [56] This community helped to economically integrate and coordinate the large number of Marshall Plan funds from the United States. [73][74], In 2012, the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize for having "contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe. The most visible of these has been the Erasmus Programme, a university exchange programme which began in 1987. [209], Most EU member states opposed the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Notwithstanding its different configurations, it is considered to be one single body. [71] In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU. After the President, the most prominent Commissioner is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is ex-officio a Vice-President of the Commission and is also chosen by the European Council. [19][70] The treaty also gave the name European Community to the EEC, even if it was referred as such before the treaty. Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every official language and the European Parliament provides translation for documents and plenary sessions. ), the Flemish Diamond (Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven, Ghent et al.) Financing European development cooperation: the Financial Perspectives 2014–2020. This entails a partial delegation of sovereignty to the institutions in return for representation within those institutions, a practice often referred to as "pooling of sovereignty".[119][120]. Similar to how the U.N. was organized, in order to ensure a peaceful and more harmonious world, the Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) are two distinct bodies that were created for Europe and its member nations to prosper. [61][62] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission). In 2010 the estimated network covers: 75,200 kilometres (46,700 mi) of roads; 78,000 kilometres (48,000 mi) of railways; 330 airports; 270 maritime harbours; and 210 internal harbours.[256][257]. The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions, and cases referred to it by the courts of member states. Social security main legislation is found in the Equal Treatment in Occupational Social Security Directive 86/378, the Equal Treatment in Social Security Directive 79/7/EEC, the Social Security Regulation 1408/71/EC and 883/2004/EC and the Directive 2005/36/EC. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU's legal acts can be judged. Examples of such alliances include the Visegrad Group, Benelux, the Baltic Assembly, the New Hanseatic League, the Weimar Triangle, the Lublin Triangle, EU Med Group and the Craiova Group. [255], The EU is working to improve cross-border infrastructure within the EU, for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN). The number of stars is invariably twelve, the figure twelve being the symbol of perfection and entirety. [297] In 2018, the EU region with the highest life expectancy was Madrid, Spain at 85.2 years, followed by the Spanish regions of La Rioja and Castilla y León both at 84.3 years, Trentino in Italy at 84.3 years and Île-de-France in France at 84.2 years. Partnership and cooperation agreements are bilateral agreements with non-member nations. [164], In November 2020, members of the Union, Hungary and Poland, blocked approval to the EU’s budget at a meeting in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), citing a proposal that linked funding with adherence to the rule of law. In addition, the principle of subsidiarity requires that only those matters that need to be determined collectively are so determined. The High Representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU department[197] 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. 22–26); Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2 December 2000, pp. [305] This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over the application of free market principles to sport, which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. Europe. Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel, LGV Est, the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, the Öresund Bridge, the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Strait of Messina Bridge. The EU is home to over 446 million people, which corresponds to around 6 % of the world's population. [212] EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European Defence Agency, European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Military Staff. The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. During the centuries that followed the fall of Rome in 476, several European states viewed themselves as translatio imperii ("transfer of rule") of the defunct Roman Empire: the Frankish Empire (481–843) and the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) were thereby attempts to resurrect Rome in the West. [121] Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides the basis for a member to leave the Union. This figure is from February 2020, and takes account of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. (It does not have a formal constitution: its status is defined by the Treaty of European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). Possessing the EU's largest armed forces and the largest national defence budget of the bloc,[208] France is also the only EU country that has power projection capabilities outside of Europe. TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid programme. "[48] During the same decade, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first to imagine of a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. [87] 2.4 million immigrants from non-EU countries entered the EU in 2017. [184] Emily O'Reilly is the current ombudsman since 2013. [302], Association football is by far the most popular sport in the European Union by the number of registered players. (Slovak version pictured). [77], From the beginning of the 2010s, the cohesion of the European Union has been tested by several issues, including a debt crisis in some of the Eurozone countries, increasing migration from Africa and Asia, and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU. The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision-making bodies of the European Union. Help support true facts by becoming a member. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. [260], The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the long lasting policies of the European Community. [289][290][291], All EU and many other European countries offer their citizens a free European Health Insurance Card which, on a reciprocal basis, provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries. Demographic transition to a society of aging population, low fertility-rates and depopulation of non-metropolitan regions is tackled within this policies. The European Commission acts both as the EU's executive arm, responsible for the day-to-day running of the EU, and also the legislative initiator, with the sole power to propose laws for debate. The SDGs recognize that all countries must stimulate action in the following key areas - people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership - in order to tackle the global challenges that are crucial for the survival of humanity. The EU has also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The only institution empowered to propose legislation, serves as the "Guardian of the Treaties". The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing. [158] Next comes "agriculture" with approximately 31% of the total. [103] German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (18% of the EU population), and the second most widely understood foreign language, followed by French (13% of the EU population). It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond. EPC was renamed as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by the Maastricht Treaty. It consists of a government minister from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. [281], In 2017, the EU emitted 9.1% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. [276] In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. In 2006, the EU-27 had a gross inland energy consumption of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). [173] Because of the doctrines of direct effect and supremacy, many judgments of the Court of Justice are automatically applicable within the internal legal orders of the member states. In 2015 the European Commission presented its proposal for a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency having a stronger role and mandate along with national authorities for border management. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was established with the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987. They are most often used in competition law, or on rulings on State Aid, but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. [22][better source needed] Additionally, all EU countries have a very high Human Development Index according to the United Nations Development Programme. And has since been played on official occasions and procedures produced within the single market not! Common Foreign and security policy ( 2012 ) Manual of European citizens [ 20 ] on January. Over €777 million following nine years of legal action to nearly all areas including. Union started, first as an accounting currency with eleven member states Iceland! 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