The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU's courts,[174] and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and its civil service. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and ini… EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, EU and Kyrgyz Republic Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the, the conservation of marine biological resources under the, social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty, economic, social and territorial cohesion, common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty, development cooperation, humanitarian aid, the coordination of economic, employment and social policies, the protection and improvement of human health, 2020: Spanish health workers on the front line against, This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 04:20. The new plan was expected to provide the European Union with greater flexibility to target and sanction those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses around the world.[181]. Its capital is Vienna and the official language in Austria is German. pp. It shares with the Council of the EU equal legislative powers to amend, approve or reject Commission proposals for most areas of EU legislation. [185], Since the creation of the EU in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs; initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. [298], Cultural co-operation between member states has been an interest of the EU since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty. [260], The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the long lasting policies of the European Community. This co-operation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the Schengen Agreement and the associated cross border crime. The Council of Europe gave the flag a symbolic description in the following terms,[308] though the official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the "Western world":[309]. [206] The Western European Union, a military alliance with a mutual defence clause, was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU. The 705 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. [211], EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from middle and northern Africa to the western Balkans and western Asia. The budget may still be approved if Hungary and Poland withdraw their vetos after further negotiations in the Council and the European Council. To this end it has adopted laws establishing minimum employment and environmental standards. [105] The three official alphabets of the European Union (Cyrillic, Latin, and modern Greek) all derive from the Archaic Greek scripts. Only four languages, namely Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian (all three Uralic), and Maltese (Semitic), are not Indo-European languages. Catholics are the largest Christian group, accounting for 45.3% of the EU population, while Protestants make up 11.1%, Eastern Orthodox make up 9.6%, and other Christians make up 5.6%. 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. [53] In a speech delivered on 19 September 1946 at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, Winston Churchill went further and advocated the emergence of a United States of Europe. The average annual net earnings in the European Union was around €24,000 (US$30,000)[240] in 2015. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. They are, as listed in Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Court of Auditors. [117] The most religious countries were Malta (95%, predominantly Catholic) as well as Cyprus and Romania (both predominantly Orthodox) each with about 90% of citizens professing a belief in their respective god. 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. [272][273] Several funds provide emergency aid, support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU's standard (Phare, ISPA, and SAPARD), and support to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). The European Union creates stability because all of the nations belonging to the agreement (or NATO) work together for their mutual good. Of the top 500 largest corporations in the world measured by revenue in 2010, 161 had their headquarters in the EU. [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]. [317], Media freedom is a fundamental right that applies to all member states of the European Union and its citizens, as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. [135] Generally speaking, they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures (regulations) and those which specifically require national implementation measures (directives).[136]. In 1960, the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.03% of GDP. News. The only institution empowered to propose legislation, serves as the "Guardian of the Treaties". Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. [121] Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides the basis for a member to leave the Union. EU is not the Council of Europe, the 47-member grouping that includes all EU countries and is Europe’s leading human rights organisation The European Union is not a state, but a unique partnership between European countries, known as Member States. [207], Since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, France is the only member officially recognised as a nuclear weapon state and the sole holder of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The EU has also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. [214], The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, or "ECHO", provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing countries. Christians in the European Union are divided among members of Catholicism (both Roman and Eastern Rite), numerous Protestant denominations (Anglicans, Lutherans, and Reformed forming the bulk of this category), and the Eastern Orthodox Church. [222], The European Union is the largest exporter in the world[226] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services. According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2015 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union, accounting for 71.6% of the EU population. Creation of the European Economic Community, The crisis in Ukraine and the rise of Euroskepticism, Some argue that the union cannot really be compared to any other political entity we know, and as such, constitutes a perfect example of a sui generis entity, a special, one-of-its-kind organization. [304], 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. According to P.C. It convenes at least four times a year and comprises the President of the European Council (currently Charles Michel), the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state (either its head of state or head of government). The Communities and their successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe, an international organisation independent of the EU based in Strasbourg. 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]. Three of them – English, French and German – have the higher status of. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The euro currency became the second largest reserve currency in the world. [195] The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. [180], On 19 October 2020, the European Union revealed new plans to create a legal structure to act against human rights violations worldwide. In the eurozone, trade is helped by not having any currency differences to deal with amongst most members. Rail transport in Europe is being synchronised with the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), an initiative to greatly enhance safety, increase efficiency of trains and enhance cross-border interoperability of rail transport in Europe by replacing signalling equipment with digitised mostly wireless versions and by creating a single Europe-wide standard for train control and command systems. The EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. [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. A political union, often called the EU, to which the member states of the EEC are evolving. 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]. The European Union represents all its members at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and acts on behalf of member states in any disputes. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states. [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. [259], The Galileo positioning system is another EU infrastructure project. [67] In 1986, the European flag began to be used by the EEC[68] and the Single European Act was signed. It's a bit like a club. Furthermore, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, as well as the source of law for the Charter of Fundamental Rights are created by the Council of Europe. In 1999 the currency union started, first as an accounting currency with eleven member states joining. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP sometimes lead to disagreements, such as those which occurred over the war in Iraq. It raised great hopes of further European integration, and there were fevered debates in the two years that followed as to how this could be achieved. [58] These men and others are officially credited as the founding fathers of the European Union. [163] The European Commission estimated in 2009 that the financial effect of irregularities was €1,863 million. [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. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers seeks to align national laws on the protection of people's health, on the consumers' rights, on the safety of food and other products. The European Social Charter is the main body that recognizes the social rights of European citizens. The eurozone (constituted by the EU member states which have adopted the euro) has since grown to 19 countries. 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. [216] The European Development Fund (EDF, €22.7 billion for the period 2008–2013 and €30.5 billion for the period 2014–2020) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7% target and allow the European Parliament greater oversight. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. [51][52], After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated parts of the continent. 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). In 1990, after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the former East Germany became part of the Communities as part of a reunified Germany.[69]. [61][62] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission). The commission has named one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification. [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. [322], The MEDIA Programme of the European Union has supported the European popular film and audiovisual industries since 1991. [261] The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural production, providing certainty in food supplies, ensuring a high quality of life for farmers, stabilising markets, and ensuring reasonable prices for consumers. 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. The European Union is a group of countries whose governments work together. The anthem of the Union is an instrumental version of the prelude to the Ode to Joy, the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's ninth symphony. 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. [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]. Post-Brexit EU Defence Policy: Is Germany Leading towards a European Army? Information on your rights to live, work, travel and study in another EU country, including access to healthcare and consumer rights [117] Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years. Its role was recognized in three major UN summits on sustainable development: the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa; and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro. 21–26. [247] The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone, and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. ", "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. [276] In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. With further enlargement planned to include the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Cyprus and Malta, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the EU were agreed upon in June 1993. [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). The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions. [312], Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne (Latin: Carolus Magnus) and later recognised as Pater Europae ("Father of Europe"),[313][314][315] has a symbolic relevance to Europe. [153], In the ordinary legislative procedure, the European Commission proposes legislation, which requires the joint approval of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to pass. More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in global environmental governance, e.g. Although this does increase their ope… In 2002, euro banknotes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. [274] According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions, making environmental policy a core area of European politics. The free movement of persons means that EU citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 EU countries that together cover much of the continent.The predecessor of the EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. [154], The EU had an agreed budget of €120.7 billion for the year 2007 and €864.3 billion for the period 2007–2013,[156] representing 1.10% and 1.05% of the EU-27's GNI forecast for the respective periods. 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. [175] Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law. [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. 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). [329], Economic and political union of European states, International organisations in which the union has membership, International cooperation and development partnerships, European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, The 24 languages are equally official and accepted as working languages. [182], The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht Treaty. [303], Sport is mainly the responsibility of the member states or other international organisations, rather than of the EU. Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. The main legal acts of the EU come in three forms: regulations, directives, and decisions. [113], The preamble to the Treaty on European Union mentions the "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe". It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond. The political system is a Federal Parliamentary Rep… außerordentlicher Karlspreis 2004", Press freedom in the EU Legal framework and challenges, "European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations", "Institutional integration and economic growth in Europe", "The European Union's authoritarian equilibrium", Historical Archives of the European Union, Eurostat – European Union Statistics Explained, The European Union: Questions and Answers, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, European Coal and Steel Community (1951–2002), European Economic Community (1958–1993/2009), Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, Largest cities by population within city limits, Orders, decorations, and medals of the European Union, Western European Union Mission Service Medal, Directive on the re-use of public sector information, Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. 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