Basic Information of European Union Member Countries of European Union European Union Intuited and Other Bodies The Council of European Union Working of European Union Joining of European Union Conclusion Reference Sites
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The European Union (EU) was created by the Maastricht Treaty on November 1st 1993. It is a political and economic union between European countries which makes its own policies concerning the members’ economies, societies, and laws and to some extent security. To some, the EU is an overblown bureaucracy which drains money and compromises the power of sovereign states. For others, the EU is the best way to meet challenges smaller nations might struggle with – such as economic growth or negotiations with larger nations – and worth surrendering some sovereignty to achieve. Despite many years of integration, opposition remains strong, but states have acted pragmatically, at times, to create the union.
CHAPTER-1 The European Union
The precursor to the European Union was established after World War II in the late 1940s in an effort to unite the countries of Europe and end the period of wars between neighbouring countries. These nations began to officially unite in 1949 with the Council of Europe. In 1950 the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community expanded the cooperation. The six nations involved in this initial treaty were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Today these countries are referred to as the "founding members." During the 1950s, the Cold War, protests, and divisions between Eastern and Western Europe showed the need for further European unification. In order to do this, the Treaty of Rome was signed on March 25, 1957, thus creating the European Economic Community and allowing people and products to move throughout Europe. Throughout the decades additional countries joined the community. In order to further unify Europe, the Single European Act was signed in 1987 with the aim of eventually creating a "single market" for trade. Europe was further unified in 1989 with the elimination of the boundary between Eastern and Western Europe - the Berlin Wall.
Origins of the EU
The European Union was not created in one go by the Maastricht Treaty, but was the result of gradual integration since 1945, an evolution when one level of union has been seen to work, giving confidence and impetus for a next level. In this way the EU can be said to have been formed by the demands of its member nations. The end of the Second World War left Europe divided between the communist, Soviet dominated, eastern bloc, and the largely democratic western nations. There were fears over what direction a rebuilt Germany would take, and in the west thoughts of a federal European union reemerged, hoping to bind Germany into pan-European democratic institutions to the extent that it, and any other allied European nation, both wouldn’t be able to start a new war, and would resist the expansion of the communist east.
The First Union: the ECSC
Europe’s post war nations weren’t just after peace, they were also after solutions to economic problems, such as raw materials being in one country and the industry to process them in another. War had left Europe exhausted, with industry greatly damaged and their defences possibly unable to stop Russia. In order to solve this six neighbouring countries agreed in The Treaty of Paris to form an area of free trade for several key resources including coal, steel and
iron ore, chosen for their key role in industry and the military. This body was called the European Coal and Steel Community and involved Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy and Luxembourg. It began on 23 July 1952 and ended on 23 July 2002, replaced by further unions. France had suggested the ECSC to control Germany and to rebuild industry; Germany wanted to become an equal player in Europe again and rebuild its reputation, as did Italy; the Benelux nations hoped for growth and didn’t want to be left behind. France, afraid Britain would try and quash the plan, didn’t include them in initial discussions, and Britain stayed out, wary of giving up any power and content with the economic potential offered by the Commonwealth. Also created, in order to manage the ECSC, were a group of ‘supranational’ (a level of governance above the nation state) bodies: a Council of Ministers, a Common Assembly, a High Authority and a Court of Justice, all to legislate, develop ideas and resolve disputes. It was from these key bodies that the later EU would emerge, a process which some of the ECSC’s creators had envisaged, as they explicitly stated the creation of a federal Europe as their long term goal.
The European Economic Community
A false step was taken in the mid 1950s when a proposed ‘European Defence Community’ among the ESSC’s six states was drawn up: it called for a joint army to be controlled by a new supranational Defence Minister. The initiative had to be rejected after France’s National Assembly voted it down. However, the success of the ECSC led to the member nations signing two new treaties in 1957, both called the treaty of Rome. This created two new bodies: the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) which was to pool knowledge of atomic energy, and the European Economic Community. This EEC created a common market among the member nations, with no tariffs or impediments to the flow of labour and goods. It aimed to continue economic growth and avoid the protectionist policies of pre-war Europe. By 1970 trade within the common market had increased fivefold. There was also the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to boost member’s farming and an end to monopolies. The CAP, which wasn’t based on a common market, but on government subsidies to support local farmers, has become one of most controversial EU policies. Like the ECSC, the EEC created several supranational bodies: a Council of Ministers to make decisions, a Common Assembly (called the European Parliament from 1962) to give advice, a court which could overrule member states and a commission to put the policy into affect. The 1965 Brussels Treaty merged the commissions of the EEC, ECSC and Euratom to create a joint and permanent civil service.
In the late 1960s a power struggle established the need for unanimous agreements on key decisions, effectively giving member states a veto. It has been argued that this slowed union by two decades. Over the 70s and 80s the membership of the EEC expanded, allowing Denmark, Ireland and the UK in 1973, Greece in 1981 and Portugal and Spain in 1986. Britain had changed its mind after seeing its economic growth lag behind the EEC, and after America indicated it would support Britain as a rival voice in the EEC to France and Germany. However, Britain’s first two applications were vetoed by France. Ireland and Denmark, heavily dependent upon the UK economy, followed it in to keep pace and attempt to develop themselves away from Britain. Norway applied at the same time, but withdrew after a referendum said ‘no’. Meanwhile member states began to see European integration as a way to balance the influence of both Russia and now America. The development of the union was slowed in the 70s, frustrating federalists who sometimes refer to it as a ‘dark age’ in development. Attempts to create an Economic and Monetary Union were drawn up, but derailed by the declining international economy. However, impetus had returned by the 80s, partly as the result of fears that Reagan’s
US was both moving away from Europe, and preventing EEC members from forming links with Communist countries in an attempt to slowly bring them back into the democratic fold. The remit of the EEC thus developed, and foreign policy became an area for consultation and group action. Other funds and bodies were created including the European Monetary System in 1979 and methods of giving grants to underdeveloped areas. In 1987 the Single European Act (SEA) evolved the EEC’s role a step further. Now European Parliament members were given the ability to vote on legislation and issues, with the number of votes dependant on each member’s population. Bottlenecks in the common market were also targeted.
The Maastricht Treaty and the European Union
On February 7th 1992 European integration moved a step further when the Treaty on European Union, (better known as the Maastricht Treaty) was signed. This came into force on 1 November 1993 and changed the EEC into the newly named European Union. The change was to broaden the work of the supranational bodies, based around three “pillars”: the European Communities, giving more power to the European parliament; a common security/foreign policy; involvement in the domestic affairs of member nations on “justice and home affairs”. In practice, and to pass the mandatory unanimous vote, these were all compromises away from the unified ideal. The EU also set out guidelines for the creation of a single currency, although when this was introduced in 1999 three nations opted out and one failed to meet the required targets. Currency and economic reform were now being driven largely by the fact that the US and Japanese economies were growing faster than Europe’s, especially after expanding quickly into the new developments in electronics. There were objections from poorer member nations, who wanted more money from the union, and from larger nations, who wanted to pay less; a compromise was eventually reached. One planned side effect of the closer economic union and the creation of a single market was the greater co-operation in social policy which would have to occur as a result. The Maastricht Treaty also formalised the concept of EU citizenship, allowing any individual from an EU nation to run for office in their government, which was also changed to promote decision making. Perhaps most controversially, the EU’s entrance into domestic and legal matters – which produced the Human Rights Act and over-rode many member states’ local laws – produced rules relating to free movement within the EU’s borders, leading to paranoia about mass migrations from poorer EU nations to richer ones. More areas of members’ government were affected than ever before, and the bureaucracy expanded. Although the Maastricht Treaty came into effect, it faced heavy opposition, and was only narrowly passed in France and forced a vote in the UK.
In 1995 Sweden, Austria and Finland joined, while in 1999 the Treaty of Amsterdam came into effect, bringing employment, working and living conditions and other social and legal issues into the EU remit. However, by then Europe was facing great changes caused by the collapse of the Soviet dominated east and the emergence of economically weakened, but newly democratic, eastern nations. The 2001 Treaty of Nice tried to prepare for this, and a number of states entered into special agreements where they initially joined parts of the EU system, such as the free trade zones. There were discussions over streamlining voting and modifying the CAP, especially as Eastern Europe had a much higher percentage of the population involved in agriculture than the west, but in the end financial worries prevented change,
While there was opposition, ten nations joined in 2004 (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and two in 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania). By this time there had been agreements to apply majority voting to more issues, but national
vetoes remained on tax, security and other issues. Worries over international crime – where criminals had formed effective cross border organisations – were now acting as an impetus.The Lisbon Treaty
The EU’s level of integration is already unmatched in the modern world, but there are people who want to move it closer still (and many people who don’t). The Convention on the Future of Europe was created in 2002 to create an EU constitution, and the draft, signed in 2004, aimed to install a permanent EU president, a Foreign Minister and a Charter of Rights. It would have also allowed the EU to make many more decisions instead of the heads’ of the individual nation states. It was rejected in 2005, when France and the Netherlands failed to ratify it (and before other EU members got the chance to vote). An amended work, the Lisbon Treaty, still aimed to install an EU president and Foreign Minister, as well as expand the EU’s legal powers, but only through developing the existing bodies. This was signed in 2007 but was initially rejected, this time by voters in Ireland. However, in 2009 Irish voters passed the treaty, many concerned of the economic effects of saying no. By the winter 2009 all 27 EU states had ratified the process, and it took effect. Herman Van Rompuy, at that time Belgium Prime Minister, became the first ‘President of the European Council’, and Britain’s Baroness Ashton ‘High Representative for Foreign Affairs’. There remained many political opposition parties – and politicians in the ruling parties – which opposed the treaty, and the EU remains a divisive issue in the politics of all member nations. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of the study: To know what is European Union
To know the Working of European Union
Chapter-2 Basic information on the European Union
The EU is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries that together cover much of the continent. It was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries who 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 initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential. But what began as a purely economic union has also evolved into an organisation spanning all policy areas, from development aid to environment. A name change from the EEC to the European Union (the EU) in 1993 reflected this change. The EU has delivered half a century of peace, stability, and prosperity, helped raise living standards, and launched a single European currency. Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, people can travel freely throughout most of the continent. And it's also become much easier to live and work abroad in Europe. The EU is based on the rule of law. This means that everything that it does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by all member countries. These binding agreements set out the EU's goals in its many areas of activity. One of its main goals is to promote human rights both internally and around the world. Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights: these are the core values of the EU. Since the 2009 signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights brings all these rights together in a single document. The EU's institutions are legally bound to uphold them, as are EU governments whenever they apply EU law. The single market is the EU's main economic engine, enabling most goods, services, money and people to move freely. Another key objective is to develop this huge resource to ensure that Europeans can draw the maximum benefit. As it continues to grow, the EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. More powers are being given to the directly elected European Parliament, while national parliaments are being given a greater role, working alongside the European institutions. In turn, European citizens have an ever-increasing number of channels for taking part in the political process. CHRONOLOGICAL OF EUROPEN UNION
The modern-day European Union is a direct result of a determination among European politicians to prevent future violent conflicts in Europe after World War II. The original aim was to tie countries together by forging closer industrial and economic cooperation. Since then, the EU’s responsibilities have grown in response to new challenges and many more countries have joined.
1950: French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposes integrating the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. This leads to the Treaty of Paris, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), in 1951, with six Germany. 1951: the European Coal and Steel Community is established by the six founding members. 1957: The same six countries sign the Treaties of Rome, creating the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). They begin removing trade barriers between them and move towards creating a ‘common market’. 1967: The institutions of the EEC, ECSC and EURATOM are merged to form a single set of institutions: the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament (with members selected initially by national parliaments). 1973: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the European Community. 1979: The first direct elections to the European Parliament take place, with voters in each EU Member State electing the members. 1981: The first Mediterranean enlargement. Greece joins the European Community (EC).
1986: Portugal and Spain join the European Community. The Single European Act is signed by EU governments, providing for the creation of a single market in which people, goods, capital and services can move freely around the EC. 1992: The Treaty of Maastricht is signed, creating the European Union and introducing new forms of cooperation between Member State governments –for example, on defence and justice and home affairs issues. EU leaders also agree to create an Economic and Monetary Union, with a single currency managed by a European Central Bank, within a decade. The Single Market is formally completed, but much work remains to be done to make the promise of free movement of people, goods, capital and services a reality. 1993: 1993: 1995: Completion of the single market. The EU expands to 15 members. Austria, Finland and Sweden join the European Union (EU). 1999: Europe’s single currency – the euro – is officially launched and 11 EU Member States adopt it as their official currency, forming what is known as the euro zone. 2001: Greece joins the euro zone. The Treaty of Nice is signed, introducing reforms to the EU’s institutions to prepare for the expansion of the Union with the admission of ten new Member States in 2004.
2002: The euro becomes a reality on 1 January, when euro notes and coins replace national currencies in 12 of the 15 countries which are members of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. A ‘convention on the future of Europe’ is launched, with 105 members representing national governments and parliaments in the Member States and countries waiting to join the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament. 2003: The convention ends and submits its draft ‘Treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union’ to EU leaders. Member State governments begin negotiations on the proposals.
2004: Ten new countries join the EU, including eight from eastern and central Europe. They are: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. EU leaders reach agreement on the Constitutional Treaty, which brings all the previous EU Treaties together in one document and introduces changes to the way the Union works. EU leaders argue these changes are needed to ensure that the Union can continue to operate effectively as it grows. Member States are given two years to ratify the Constitutional Treaty. As with all EU Treaties, it can only come into force if it is approved by all 25 Member States. 2005: Referenda are held on the Constitutional Treaty in four countries: Luxembourg and Spain vote in favour, but France and the Netherlands vote against. EU leaders launch a ‘period of reflection’ to consider how best to proceed in the light of the No votes. 2006: By June 2006, 15 of the EU’s 25 Member States have ratified the Treaty. The European Council agrees a timetable for deciding what to do next. It calls for: • EU leaders to adopt a political declaration setting out Europe’s values and ambitions and confirming their shared commitment to deliver them, at a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the EU on 25 March 2007. • Germany, which holds the Presidency of the Union in the first half of 2007, to present a report to EU leaders at the June European Council assessing the state of the discussions on the Constitutional Treaty and exploring possible options for the future. • A final decision on how to proceed to be taken by the end of 2008. European Union symbol The EU is recognisable by several symbols, the most well-known being the circle of yellow stars on a blue background. This site introduces other symbols such as the European anthem and motto.
The European flag
The 12 stars in a circle symbolise the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe.
The European anthem
The melody used to symbolise the EU comes from the Ninth Symphony composed in 1823 by Ludwig Van Beethoven.
The ideas behind the European Union were first put forward on 9 May 1950 by French foreign minister Robert Schuman. This is why 9 May is celebrated as a key date for the EU.
The EU motto
"United in diversity" is the motto of the European Union. It signifies how Europeans have come together, in the form of the EU, to work for peace and prosperity, while at the same time being enriched by the continent's many different cultures, traditions and languages
Facts and Figures Basic facts and figures on the EU institutions, the member countries and the EU economy.
Living in the EU
Figures on prosperity levels, attitudes, education spending and language learning reveal some of the similarities and contrasts between EU member countries.
The creation of the single market and the corresponding increase in trade and general economic activity transformed the EU into a major trading power. The EU is trying to sustain economic growth by investing in transport, energy and research, while also seeking to minimise the environmental impact of further economic development.
EU administration – staff, languages and location
The EU spends around 1% of its annual budget on staff, administration and maintenance of its buildings.
Chapter-3 Member Countries of European Union
COUNTRIES This section provides general information and basic facts and figures on all European countries. They are divided into 27 EU member countries, 6 countries which have applied for EU membership (candidate countries and potential candidate countries) and other countries. A number of agencies and other bodies complete the system. The rule of law is fundamental to the European Union. All EU decisions and procedures are based on the Treaties, which are agreed by all the EU countries. Initially, the EU consisted of just six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Denmark, Ireland and the
United Kingdom joined in 1973, Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1989, Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995. In 2004 the biggest ever enlargement took place with 10 new countries joining. You will find basic information on the country’s political system, history, economy, geography and traditional food.
Member states of the EU (year of entry)
Austria (1995) Bulgaria (2007) Czech Republic (2004) Estonia (2004) France (1952) Greece (1981) Ireland (1973) Latvia (2004) Belgium (1952) Cyprus (2004) Denmark (1973) Finland (1995) Germany (1952) Hungary (2004) Italy (1952) Lithuania (2004)
Luxembourg (1952) Netherlands (1952) Portugal (1986) Slovakia (2004)
Malta (2004) Poland (2004) Romania (2007) Slovenia (2004)
Spain (1986) United Kingdom (1973)
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Montenegro Turkey Iceland Serbia
Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina
THE European Union MISSION
As in 1949 when it was founded with the creation of the Council of Europe, the European Union's mission for today is to continue prosperity, freedom, communication and ease of travel and commerce for its citizens. The EU is able to maintain this mission through the various treaties making it function, cooperation from member states, and its unique governmental structure.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
The principle aims of the European Union are to: Promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. Offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, and an internal market where competition is free and undistorted. Work for sustainable development of Europe based on a social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and with a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. Combat social exclusion and discrimination; promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child. Promote economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among member states. Respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. The promotion of peace and the well-being of the Union’s citizens An area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers Sustainable development based on balances economic growth and social justice. A social market economy-highly competitive and aimed at full employment and social progress. a free single market Uphold its values and interests in its relations with the wider world. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and protection of human rights and in particular the rights of a child, as well as to strict observance and to development of international law including respect for the principle of the United Nations Charter. The basic objective, structures and operations of the EU are laid down within a number of treaties. The treaties make up the constitution of the EU and provide a legal basis for legislation and other measures. All member states have to abide by the treaties and the legislation agreed under them. The Union shall also combat social exclusion and discrimination and promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and the protection of children’s' rights. The European Union also establish a set of values in Article 2 TEU. The EU Court can take values and aims into account when it decides on case law.
CHAPTER-4 EU Institutions and Other Bodies In the EU's unique institutional set-up: the EU's broad priorities are set by the European Council, which brings together national and EU-level leaders directly elected MEPs represent European citizens in the European Parliament the interests of the EU as a whole are promoted by the European Commission, whose members are appointed by national governments governments defend their own countries' national interests in the Council of the European Union. There are five EU institutions, each playing a specific role: European Parliament (elected by the people of the Member States); Council of the European Union (representing the governments of the Member States); European Union (driving force and executive body) Court of Justice (ensuring compliance with the law); Court of Auditors (controlling sound and lawful management of the EU budget).
Setting the agenda
The European Council sets the EU's overall political direction – but has no powers to pass laws. Led by its President – currently Herman Van Rompuy – and comprising national heads of state or government and the President of the Commission, it meets for a few days at a time at least every 6 months.
There are 3 main institutions involved in EU legislation: the European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them; the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries. The Presidency of the Council is shared by the member states on a rotating basis. the European Commission, which represents the interests of the Union as a whole. Together, these three institutions produce through the "Ordinary Legislative Procedure" (ex "codecision") the policies and laws that apply throughout the EU. In principle, the Commission proposes new laws, and the Parliament and Council adopt them. The Commission and the member countries then implement them, and the Commission ensures that the laws are properly applied and implemented. These are flanked by five other important bodies: European Economic and Social Committee (express the opinions of the organised civil society on economic and social issues); Committee of the Regions (express the opinions of regional and local authorities);
European Central Bank (responsible for monetary policy and managing the euro); European Ombudsman (deals with citizens’ complaints about maladministration by any EU institution or body); European Investment Bank (helps achieve EU objectives of financing investment projects). Following are the description of the above institutions European Parliament is the directly-elected democratic expression of the political will of the peoples of the European Union, the largest multinational Parliament in the world. The European Parliament represents the 370 million citizens of the Union, its primary objectives are like the of any Parliament - to pass good laws and to scrutinise and control the use of executive power. Now more than ever before, it is in a much better position to do both because its responsibilities have been gradually widened and its powers strengthened first by the Single Act of 1987 and then by the Treaty of European Union of 1993. The Council of European Union is usually known as the Council of Ministers, and has no equivalent anywhere in the world. Here, the Member States legislate for the Union, set its political objectives, coordinate their national policies and resolve differences between themselves and with other institutions. The Council is a body with the characteristics of both a supranational and intergovernmental organisation, deciding some matters by qualified majority voting and others by unanimity. In its procedures, its customs and practices, and even in its disputes, the Council depends on a degree of solidarity and trust which is rare in relations between states. European Commission identifies three distinct functions: initiating proposals for legislation, guardian of the Treaties, and the manager and executor of Union policies and of international trade relationships. The role and responsibilities of the European Commission place it firmly at the heart of the European Union's policy-making process. In some respects, it acts as the heart of Europe, from which the other institutions derive much of their energy and purpose. Court of Justice provides the judicial safeguards necessary to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties and, generally in all of the activities of the Union. The success of Community law in embedding itself so thoroughly in the legal life of the Member States is due to its having been perceived, interpreted and applied by the citizens, the administrative authorities and the courts of all of the Member States as a uniform body of rules upon which individuals may rely in their national courts. The decisions of the Court have made Community law a reality for the citizens of Europe and often have important constitutional and economic consequences. Court of Auditors is the taxpayers' representative, responsible for checking that the European Union spends its money according to its budgetary rules and regulations and for the purposes for which it is intended. Some see the Court as the "financial conscience" of the Union, others as a "watchdog" over its money. In either case, it is a guarantor that certain moral, administrative and accounting principles will be respected. The Court's reports are a rich source of information on the management of the Union's finances, and a source of pressure on the institutions and others with administrative responsibility to manage them soundly. European Investment Bank is the European Union's financing institution, it provides loans for capital investment promoting the Union's balanced economic development and integration. The EIB is an enormously flexible and cost-effective source of finance whose ECU 20 billion volume of annual lending makes it the largest international financing institution in the world. Economic and Social Committee: In accordance with the Treaties, the Committee advises the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. The opinions which it delivers (either in response to a referral or on its own initiative) are drawn up by representatives of the various categories of economic and social activity in the European Union. The members of the Committee, who are divided into three
groups (workers, employers and various interests), draw up opinions on draft Community legislation and the main issues affecting society. They represent the different sectors of civil society. Committee of the Regions is the European Union's youngest institution whose birth reflects Member States' strong desire not only to respect regional and local identities and prerogatives but also to involve them in the development and implementation of EU policies. For the first time in the history of the European Union, there is now a legal obligation to consult the representatives of local and regional authorities on a variety of matters that concern them directly. European Ombudsman: Every citizen of each Member State is both a national and a European citizen. One of his/her rights as a European citizen is to apply to the European Ombudsman if he/she is a victim of an act of "maladministration" by the EU institutions or bodies. The Ombudsman has wide ranging powers of inquiry: the Community institutions and bodies are required under certain conditions to provide all the documents and evidence that he requests; he may also obtain information from national authorities. The Ombudsman is empowered to act as a conciliator between citizens and the Community administration. The Ombudsman is entitled to make recommendations to EC institutions and he can refer the case to the European Parliament so that the latter can, where appropriate, draw political conclusions from the attitude taken by the administration. European Monetary Institute: The function of the EMI is to make possible the monetary unification. EMI is not the European Central Bank; this will not be established until the end of the monetary union process. The two main tasks of the EMI are: (1) to contribute to the fulfilment of the conditions necessary to reach the last stage of monetary union, in particular the convergence of the main macroeconomic indicators; (2) to make the preparations required for the establishment of the European System of Central Banks ("ESCB") and the conduct of a single monetary policy and for the creation of a single currency. The European Union, or EU, is known formally as the European Economic and Monetary Union. It establishes a common market among its 27 member countries. This means that all border controls between members have been eliminated, allowing the free flow of goods and people (except for random spot checks for crime and drugs). Public contracts are open to bidders from any member country.
The EU common market also means that any product legally manufactured in one member state can be sold in any other member, without tariffs or duties. Taxes have been standardized. Practitioners of most services (law, medicine, tourism, banking, insurance, etc.) can operate in all member countries. The cost of airfares, the internet and phone calls have fallen dramatically. Other EU institutions
Two other institutions play vital roles: The Court of Justice upholds the rule of European law The Court of Auditors checks the financing of the EU's activities. The powers and responsibilities of all of these institutions are laid down in the Treaties, which are the foundation of everything the EU does. They also lay down the rules and procedures that
the EU institutions must follow. The Treaties are agreed by the presidents and/or prime ministers of all the EU countries, and ratified by their parliaments.
The EU has a number of other institutions and interinstitutional bodies that play specialised roles: the European Economic and Social Committee represents civil society, employers and employees the Committee of the Regions represents regional and local authorities the European Investment Bank finances EU investment projects and helps small businesses through the European Investment Fund the European Central Bank is responsible for European monetary policy the European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration by EU institutions and bodies the European Data Protection Supervisor safeguards the privacy of people’s personal data the Publications Office publishes information about the EU the European Personnel Selection Office recruits staff for the EU institutions and other bodies the European School of Administration provides training in specific areas for members of EU staff a host of specialised agencies and decentralised bodies handle a range of technical, scientific and management tasks the European External Action Service (EEAS) assists the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently Catherine Ashton. She chairs the Foreign Affairs Council and conducts the common foreign and security policy, also ensuring the consistency and coordination of the EU's external action.
CHAPTER-5 The Council of the European Union
The Treaty of Rome gives the European Council the ultimate power to either reject or adopt proposals for new laws proposed by the Commission. The Council is made up of a number of levels. There is the European Council level, which comprises of the Heads of State of the EU Member States who hold summit meetings at least twice a year to discuss major issues and decide on broad areas of policy. There is then the level of the Council of Ministers, which comprises of a minister for each member state. The minister who represents each member state in the Council will depend on what subjects are on the agenda. All together there are nine different Council configurations: General Affairs and External Relations Economic and Financial Affairs Justice and Home Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Competitiveness (Internal Market, industry and Research) Transport, telecommunications and Energy Agriculture Environment
Education, Your and Culture One of the main tasks of the Council is to formulate law. Critically, a proposal cannot become European law without the approval of the Council, a fact that establishes the Council as the main decision making body of the EU. The European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the supreme custodian of the EU and acts to ensure that all EU legislation is transposed and applied consistently within each member state. The Court is composed of one judge from each member state, so that all national legal systems are represented
CHAPTER-6 WORKING OF EUROPEAN UNION .How the EU Works The EU institutions employ over 40 000 men and women from the 27 EU member countries. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) organises 'open competitions' to select personnel for permanent and non permanent positions. Besides permanent staff, the EU also employs contractual agents and temporary staff, offers traineeships and maintains databases of area experts. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU. Its website explains the selection process and gives advice on preparing for competitions. With so many different nations participating, the governance of the EU is challenging, however, it
is a structure that continually changes to become the most effective for the conditions of the time. Today, treaties and laws are created by the "institutional triangle" that is composed of the Council representing national governments, the European Parliament representing the people, and the European Commission that is responsible for holding up Europe's main interests. The Council is formally called the Council of the European Union and is the main decision making body present. There is also a Council President here and each member state takes a six month turn in the position. In addition, the Council has the legislative power and decisions are made with a majority vote, a qualified majority, or a unanimous vote from member state representatives. The European Parliament is an elected body representing the citizens of the EU and participates in the legislative process as well. These representative members are directly elected every five years. Finally, the European Commission manages the EU with members that are appointed by the Council for five year terms- usually one Commissioner from each member state. Its main job is to uphold the common interest of the EU. In addition to these three main divisions, the EU also has courts, committees, and banks which participate on certain issues and aid in successful management.
What Does the EU Do?
The EU makes sure members act consistently in regional, agricultural and social policies. It also transmits state-of-the-art technologies to its members in environmental protection, research and development, and energy. The EU is funded by contributions of €120 billion a year from member states
Who Runs the European Union?
The EU is run by three bodies: the EU Council, representing national governments, the Parliament (elected by the people) and the European Commission (the EU staff). They uphold the laws governing the EU, which are spelled out in a series of treaties and supporting regulations. Here's how they work together: 1. The EU Council sets the policies and proposes new laws. The political leadership, or Presidency of the EU, is held by a different leader every six months. 2. The European Parliament debates and approves the laws proposed by the Council. Its members are elected every five years. 3. The European Commission staffs and executes the laws. José Manuel Barroso is the President who serves under 27 Commissioners.
Recruitment of permanent staff
EPSO organises 'open competitions' to select permanent staff. Competitions measure candidates' skills through a series of tests and assessments, ensuring the very best people are selected. Each year there are competitions for administrators, linguists, interpreters, translators, secretaries and other staff categories. EPSO recruits staff for all the EU institutions: European Commission – based in Brussels (Belgium) and Luxembourg. The Commission is the largest employer among the EU institutions, with staff in Europe and offices around the world. A number of specialised posts are available, for example for people with a
background in science, languages or statistics/economics. European Parliament – based in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg (France) Council of the EU – based in Brussels European Court of Justice – based in Luxembourg Court of Auditors – based in Luxembourg European Economic and Social Committee – based in Brussels Committee of the Regions – based in Brussels European Ombudsman – based in Strasbourg European Data Protection Supervisor – based in Brussels. Whichever institution you are interested in, the selection procedure and type of contract are the same. Permanent officials are divided into administrators and assistants.
Administrators are typically involved in drafting policies and monitoring the implementation of EU law, analysing and advising. In general, to apply for an administrator competition, you must have completed (at least) three years of university.
Assistants usually work in supporting roles and are crucial for the internal management of the institutions. In general, to apply for an assistant competition, you must have completed (at least) secondary school.
Other selection and recruitment procedures
Contract staffs are hired for specific manual or administrative tasks. Contracts are generally for a limited period – usually starting with 6-12 months.
Temporary staffs are recruited for specialised or temporary tasks with contracts of up to six years. Vacancies can be found on EPSO's website and on the websites of individual institutions and agencies.
Some institutions also take on local interim staff for up to six months – mainly for secretarial work. In this case recruitment is done by temping agencies.
Seven institutions also take on trainees for three to five months. Known as stagiaires, the trainees can be students, university graduates or linguists, and are given tasks similar to those of lowergrade administrators. Selection is organised by the institutions (not by EPSO).
For specific tasks (maintenance, canteens, etc.), staff are recruited via outside contractors
selected through open tender procedures. See the contracting services websites for more information.
Seconded national experts (SNEs)
These are normally public-sector employees in their home country, seconded for a fixed period to an EU institution to share their expertise and learn about EU policies and procedures. National experts are selected through a specific procedure, which does not involve EPSO. Your country's permanent representation to the EU can inform you about current opportunities.
The EU maintains databases with the names and qualifications of independent experts who can assist the institutions and agencies in specific areas. Experts create and maintain their own password-protected profile with information on work experience, education and skills. These databases are maintained by individual institutions and agencies (not EPSO). The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), for example, host a database of experts working under the 7th Framework Programme for EU research.
European funding and grant
The EU provides funding and grants for a broad range of projects and programmes. Find information on EU funding opportunities and look for organisations which already benefit from EU funding. How to get funding Introduction to EU funding Questions and answers on how to request a grant Practical Guide to EU funding opportunities for Research and Innovation Grants and funds by topic Funding programmes available for various EU policies EU grants available from Commission departments, offices and agencies around Europe Who receives EU money? List of beneficiaries of EU funding Find out who recipients are, where they are located and how much they receive
Joining of European Union
How a Country Joins the EU….
For countries interested in joining the EU, there are several requirements that they must meet in order to proceed to accession and become a member state. The first requirement has to do with the political aspect. All countries in the EU are required to have a government that guarantees democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as well as protects the rights of minorities. In addition to these political areas, each country must have a market economy that is strong enough to stand on its own within the competitive EU marketplace. Finally, the candidate country must be willing to follow the objectives of the EU that deal politics, the economy, and monetary issues. This also requires that they be prepared to be a part of the administrative and judicial structures of the EU. After it is believed that the candidate nation has met each of these requirements, the country is screened, and if approved the Council of the European Union and the country draft a Treaty of Accession which then goes to the European Commission and European Parliament ratification and approval. If successful after this process, the nation is able to become a member state.
DECISION MAKING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
EU law is divided into 'primary' and 'secondary' legislation. The treaties (primary legislation) are the basis or ground rules for all EU action. Secondary legislation – which includes regulations, directives and decisions – are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treaties.
How EU decisions are made
The EU’s standard decision-making procedure is known as 'Ordinary Legislative Procedure’ (ex "codecision"). This means that the directly elected European Parliament has to approve EU legislation together with the Council (the governments of the 27 EU countries). The Commission drafts and implements EU legislation.
The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that every action taken by the EU is founded on treaties that have been approved voluntarily and democratically by all EU member countries. The Treaty of Lisbon increased the number of policy areas where 'Ordinary Legislative Procedure' is used. The European Parliament also has more power to block a proposal if it disagrees with the Council.
Regulations, Directives and other acts
The aims set out in the EU treaties are achieved by several types of legal act. These legislative acts include regulations, directives, recommendations and opinions. Some are binding, others are not. Some apply to all EU countries, others to just a few. CONCLUSION The EU is a family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity. It is not a State intended to replace existing states, but it is more than any other international organisation. The EU is, in fact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. This pooling of sovereignty is also called “European integration”. The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. The idea of European integration was conceived to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again. It was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in a speech on 9th May 1950. This date, the “birthday” of what is now the EU, is celebreated annually as Europe Day.
The Modern-Day EU
Throughout the 1990s, the "single market" idea allowed easier trade, more citizen interaction on issues such as the environment and security, and easier travel through the different countries. Even though the countries of Europe had various treaties in place prior to the early 1990s, this time is generally recognized as the period when the modern day European Union arose due to the Treaty of Maastricht on European Union which was signed on February 7, 1992 and put into action on November 1, 1993.
The Treaty of Maastricht identified five goals designed to unify Europe in more ways than just economically. The goals are: 1) To strengthen the democratic governing of participating nations. 2) To improve the efficiency of the nations. 3) To establish an economic and financial unification. 4) To develop the "Community social dimension." 5) To establish a security policy for involved nations. In order to reach these goals, the Treaty of Maastricht has various policies dealing with issues such as industry, education, and youth. In addition, the Treaty put a single European currency, the euro, in the works to establish fiscal unification in 1999. In 2004 and 2007, the EU expanded, bringing the total number of member states as of 2008 to 27. In December 2007, all of the member nations signed the Treaty of Lisbon in hopes of making the EU more democratic and efficient to deal with climate change, national security, and sustainable development.