Who created the EU and what was the original purpose?
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On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman announced a plan—in a speech inspired by French businessman- turned-advisor Jean Monnet—that proposed pooling European coal and steel production under a common authority.
While contributing to economic recovery, this plan would also control the raw materials of war. The Schuman Declaration was regarded as the first step toward achieving a united Europe—an ideal that in the past had been pursued only by force.
Encouraged by the success of the ECSC, the Six sought to pursue integration in the military and political fields.
A European Defense Community treaty was signed, but not ratified and political cooperation—forerunner of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy—was not achieved until 1970.
When these efforts were derailed, European leaders decided to continue the unification of Europe on the economic front alone.
A historic meeting in Messina, Italy, in June 1955, launched the negotiations for two new treaties, the first to establish a European Economic Community (EEC) to merge separate national markets into a single market that would ensure the free movement of goods, people, capital, and services through development of common economic policies; and the second to create a European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or EURATOM) to further the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Successful political and economic integration rooted in democracy
Cooperation solidarity
Strives always to foster stability, security, and prosperity at home and abroad.
Common values, including a commitment to the rule of law, the democratic process, respect for human rights, and alleviating poverty.
Following World War II, the U.S. helped to ensure Western Europe's security, encouraged European cooperation by requiring joint administration of the U.S. Marshall Plan funds, and welcomed the initiative by the six founding nations of today's EU to place their coal and steel production under a common authority.
The United States was the first non-member country to officially recognize the nascent European Coal and Steel Community, just months after its inception in 1952.
EU members believe in...They believe in societies that encourage pluralistic political thought and endorse freedom of speech and religion. They support free market economies—where economic development and growth are driven by the private sector and facilitated by governments. They believe prosperous countries have an obligation to help poorer and less developed regions and nations. And they value living together in peace and promoting these principles globally.EU Standards for membershipCandidate states must have stable democratic governments; respect for the rule of law, minorities, and human rights; a functioning market economy; and the ability to take on the obligations of EU membership. Prospective members must have the capacity to adopt and implement the body of EU laws and regulations that ensure cooperation in a multitude of areas in addition to trade and the economy, including citizens' rights, freedom, security, and justice, job creation, regional development, environmental protection, and making globalization work for everyone.EU built on TreatiesThe European Union has been built through a series of treaties that represent binding commitments by the Member States. Treaties are negotiated by Member States through intergovernmental conferences, which are followed by ratification of the treaties or agreed amendments by all Member States.European CommunitiesThe European Coal and Steel Community Treaty (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community Treaty (EAEC), and the European Economic Community Treaty (EEC). In 1967, the ECSC, the EAEC, and the EECThe Single European Act in 1987Facilitated the creation of the "single market", gradually abolishing internal borders to allow for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Major elements of the Single European Act included institutional reform and the expansion of European Community powers in research and development, the environment, and common foreign policy.The Treaty on European UnionSigned in Maastricht, the Netherlands ("the Maastricht Treaty"), and in effect since November 1993, was a major overhaul of the founding treaties. Maastricht provided a blueprint to achieve Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), further developed the Union's inherent political dimension through the new Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and expanded cooperation in judicial and policing matters. Maastricht also created European citizenship and strengthened the European Parliament's legislative role in certain areasIn 1999, the Treaty of AmsterdamReformed EU institutions to support its economic and security objectives. Major provisions include extending the scope of qualified majority voting, where each Member State's vote is given a weighting, with smaller countries getting a greater share than their populations alone would warrant; increasing the European Parliament's responsibilities by making the co-decision procedure for adopting legislation with the Council of the European Union the general rule; extending the number of policy areas—such as employment, social issues, and immigration—in which Parliament can exercise veto power; and strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the EU's ability to undertake joint foreign policy actions. Indeed, as few as two-thirds of Member States can act together on behalf of the EU. Member States that "constructively abstain" on CFSP issues are not able to take any action that impedes the majority decision.The Treaty of NiceWhich came into effect in 2003, set the stage for EU expansion by revising institutional policies. The treaty extended majority voting even further, re-weighted votes within the Council of the European Union, and extended the use of "enhanced cooperation", which allows groups of at least eight Member States to proceed with policy initiatives that do not infringe on the rights of other members. It also redistributed Member State representation within the European Parliament, restructured the European Commission, and strengthened its presidency.In 2004, EU heads of state and government and foreign ministers signed the Treaty establishing what?A Constitution for Europe, which provided for changes to the EU's governing institutions and decision-making processes. The treaty grew out of the 2002-2003 "Convention on the Future of Europe" and built upon previous efforts to institute internal reforms enabling an enlarged EU to function more effectively, more transparently, and closer to EU citizens. It also contained measures to raise the EU's visibility on the world stage. As with all treaties, to enter into force, the Constitutional Treaty required unanimous ratification by all EU Member States— by popular referendum or parliamentary vote, depending upon individual country requirements.How did the Constitution Fail? What did the failure result in?Although a majority of Member States had ratified the Constitutional Treaty, the French and Dutch "No" votes prevailed. Following an in-depth review, EU leaders re-worked the Constitutional Treaty and on December 13, 2007, signed the new Treaty of Lisbon.When did the treaty of Lisbon enter into force?Which entered into force on December 1, 2009, after ratification by all EU Member StatesThe Treaty of LisbonDesigned to modernize the EU's operations, reinforce its capacity to take action, enhance democratic processes within the EU, and give the EU a single voice in external relations Innovations included appointing a single individual to serve as president of the European Council for up to five years; creating the inter-institutional post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a foreign service (known as the European External Action Service); increasing the powers of the European Parliament; and simplifying voting procedures. It also provides citizens with new avenues for direct participation in EU governance and more actively involves the national parliaments. The Treaty also legally guarantees citizens' fundamental rights. The Lisbon Treaty also established a clear division of labor between the European and national levels. For the first time, the treaty includes provisions that would apply if a Member State decided to leave the EU.The Lisbon Treaty amended?The Lisbon Treaty amends the EU's two core treaties, the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community (which became The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The amendments ended the distinction between the European Union and the European Community, providing the EU with a single legal personality, which enables the Union to conclude international agreements and join international organizations.Impact of Lisbon Treaty on the EUEU residents benefit in numerous ways. They can expect consistent delivery of important services, from education to health care to transportation, which must meet agreed-upon standards. They know that products such as food or medical supplies will be safe and environmentally sound regardless of where they originate in the EU. They know that men and women must receive equal pay for equal work, a requirement that reflects the EU's pioneering role in the fight for women's rights. Citizens of the European Union know they are free to live in any EU country and have equal access to justice throughout the Union. Most importantly, they know that their fundamental rights, including the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, are protectedHow has the EU strengthened Europe's voice in the world.The Union is engaged in rebuilding lives and communities in areas of conflict such as Afghanistan. The EU supports efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, promotes sound environmental practices, and contributes to global efforts to control nuclear proliferation. Judicial, law enforcement, and security officials cooperate internationally to combat terrorism and transnational crime. The EU and its Member States are the largest providers of official development assistance around the world—from combating poverty to fighting Ebola, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases. And the Union is involved in other areas that support development and reduce poverty, such as peacekeeping, election observing, and providing humanitarian and reconstruction aid in the wake of natural disasters and conflict.Europe vs. The EUThere are many differences. Unlike the American states, EU Member States retain their individual authority in areas such as security and defense, although they now can take joint action in certain foreign and security policy areas. Additionally, the EU operates according to the principles of "subsidiarity"— meaning that responsibility for issues for which the EU and Member States have oversight devolves to the lowest level at which it can be effectively addressed— and "proportionality", which seeks to keep the content and form of EU action in proportion to the desired objective. The practical outcome is that the Union is granted jurisdiction only over those policies that can be handled more effectively at the EU level. Europe is constructing its own unique model for integration, ensuring respect for the historical, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the European nations.How is the EU run?The general political direction and priorities of the European Union are defined by the European Council, which comprises the heads of state and/or government of the EU Member States. Generally, the European Commission proposes new legislation while the Council of the European Union and European Parliament adopt the laws. This institutional triangle produces policies and laws that apply throughout the EU. The Member States and the Commission then implement the laws.Three key institutions that play a key role in how the EU is runThree other institutions also play a vital role: the Court of Justice of the European Union upholds the rule of European law, the Court of Auditors checks the financing of Union activities, and the European Central Bank is responsible for the EU's single currency— the euro—and monetary policy in the euro area.Other groups that play a more minor role?Other bodies also play important roles, including the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC—made up of employers' and trade union representatives) and the Committee of Regions (COR—consisting of representatives of local and regional authorities), both of which support the institutions in advisory capacitiesThe European Commission (EC) is the?European Union's executive branch and has the sole right of legislative initiative, except where the Treaties provide otherwise. It is independent of national governments and represents the European (as opposed to individual Member State) perspective. The Commission comprises 28 appointed Commissioners—one from each EU country—each of whom is responsible for specific policy areas. Approximately 33,000 people work for the Commission, with the majority based in Brussels. The Commission ensures that the provisions of the EU treaties are applied correctly, represents the EU internationally, and negotiates with non-EU countries in areas falling within its jurisdiction. The Commission also fulfills an administrative role. The leadership of the European Commission consists of 28 Members—one from each Member State—who are appointed or re- appointed every five years, within six months of the European Parliament elections.How is the president and leadership of the European Commission elected?The process involves several steps with input from Member States and the European Parliament: Member State governments agree on a new Commission President-designate. n Parliament approves the Commission President-designate. The Commission President-designate chooses the other Members of the Commission, in consultation with Member State governments. Parliament interviews each Member and issues its opinion on the whole team. Once approved, the new Commission can officially start work.Vice presidents of the European Commission.The Commission has seven Vice- Presidents, one of whom is also the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. This inter-institutional role—combining positions from both the Commission and the Council—helps to ensure consistency across the spectrum of EU external relations.Current president of the European CommissionThe present Commission's term runs through October 31, 2019. The President of the European Commission is Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg.European Commissions connection to parliamentThe Commission remains politically accountable to Parliament, which has the power to dismiss the entire Commission by adopting a motion of censure. Individual members of the Commission must resign if asked to do so by the President, provided the other Commissioners approveThe European Commissions First RoleProposing legislation to the Parliament and the Council. Proposed legislation must defend the interests of the Union and its citizens, not those of specific countries or industries. The Commission also seeks the opinions of national parliaments and governments. To get the technical details right, the Commission consults experts through its various committees and groups.The European Commissions Second RoleManaging and implementing EU policies and the budget. The Commission is responsible for administering and supervising expenditures under the oversight of the Court of Auditors. Most of the actual spending is done by national and local authorities.he European Commissions Third RoleEnforcing European law (jointly with the European Court of Justice). The Commission acts as guardian of the Treaties and can take legal action and refer cases to the European Court of Justice against persons, companies, or Member States that violate EU rules. The Court has the power to impose penalties and its judgments are binding on the Member States and the EU institutions.he European Commissions Fourth RoleRepresenting the EU internationally on certain key issues. The Commission represents the EU on specific external policy issues, such as trade and the implementation of development assistance. It also negotiates agreements between the EU and other countries in areas falling within its jurisdiction (e.g. World Trade Organization negotiations). Both Commission and External Action Service officials are present throughout theEU'sglobalnetworkofapproximately140 external delegations.Council of the European UnionThe Council is one of the EU's main decision- making bodies and represents the Member States. One minister from each of the EU's national governments attends Council meetings. Different ministers are assigned to specific issue areas (e.g., agricultural ministers decide farm policy). Each minister in the Council is empowered to commit his or her government—the minister's signature represents the assent of the whole government. The Presidency of the Council, with the exception of the Foreign Affairs configuration, is held by a pre-established group of three Member States for an 18-month period, with each of the three countries acting as chair for one six-month rotation.President of the Council of the European UnionThe Treaty of Lisbon formalized this cooperation between successive presidencies—a "team presidency"—which is guided by a common program for the 18-month period drawn up by all three Member States. Each EU country in turn takes charge of the Council agenda and chairs all the meetings for its six-month period, promoting legislative and political decisions and brokering compromises among the Member States. The General Affairs Council oversees the operation of the different Council configurations. EU relations with the rest of the world are dealt with by the Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by High Representative Federica Mogherini.The Council of the European Union has six key responsibilities:1. Adopting European laws—jointly with the European Parliament in most policy areas. 2. Coordinating the economic policies of the Member States. 3. Concluding international agreements between the EU and other countries or international organizations. 4. Approving the EU's budget, jointly with the European Parliament. 5. Playing a key role in the development of The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), based on guidelines set by the European Council. 6. Coordinating cooperation between the national courts and police forces in criminal matters (see the freedom, security, and justice section).Who does What? Shared ResponsibilityBetween EU and its member states The EU operates according to the principle of subsidiarity, which means that the European Union does not take action (except in the areas which fall within its exclusive jurisdiction) unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional, or local level. It also adheres to the proportionality principle, which means that EU involvement is proportionate to agreed objectives.Exclusive EU jurisdiction:Only the EU may legislate and adopt legally binding acts in fields including the customs union, the common commercial policy, competition rules, and monetary policy for euro countries.Shared EU-Member State jurisdiction:Jurisdiction is shared between the EU and the Member States in specified areas including internal market rules; aspects of social policy; economic, social, and territorial cohesion; agriculture and aspects of fisheries; the environment; consumer protection; transport; trans-European networks; energy; the area of freedom, security, and justice; aspects of public health; aspects of research and technological development and space; and aspects of development cooperation and humanitarian aid.Member State jurisdiction with support from the EU:Although Member States retain jurisdiction in areas related to the protection and improvement of human health; industry; culture; tourism; education, vocational training, youth and sport; civil protection; and administrative cooperation, EU actions can support, coordinate, or supplement Member State activities. The EU also coordinates economic employment policy and a common foreign and security policy; however, these areas are managed separately from the above framework.Member state polling sovereignty vs intergovernmental cooperationMost of these responsibilities relate to policy areas where the Member States have decided to pool their sovereignty and delegate decision- making powers to the EU institutions. However, the last two responsibilities listed above relate largely to areas in which the Member States have not delegated their powers but are simply working together. This is called intergovernmental cooperation.EU Council VotingThe Council votes on measures either by a simple majority, a qualified majority, or unanimously, depending on the subject to be decided. Prior to November 1, 2014, most Council decisions were reached by a qualified majority of the weighted votes of Member State ministers. Since November 1, 2014, the system has been simplified. In most cases, decisions require a qualified majority vote (now based on the principle of a double majority: e.g., a majority of the Member States and of the population), and a measure will be adopted if 55 percent of the Member States (16) are in favor and if they represent at least 65 percent of the EU's population.When is Unanimity required?Unanimity is required on important questions including taxation, Treaty amendments, the launch of a new common policy, or allowing a new country to join the EU. Effectively, each Member State has veto power in areas subject to unanimous votes. When Member States are unable to get the agreement of all the other Member States, they may cooperate more closely in policy areas that are not within the EU's exclusive domain, by using "enhanced cooperation". At least nine Member States can use the EU institutions to achieve closer cooperation provided that it furthers EU objectives and is open to other Member States if they wish to join. The process has been used to find common solutions for divorce law for couples from different EU countries and for a unitary patenting system that involves most, but not all, Member States. To block a decision from being reached, at least four countries, representing more than 35 percent of the population, must vote against it. These rules ensure that Council decisions not only have broad support across Europe, but that small minorities cannot block decisions.The European Council, comprisesThe presidents or prime ministers of the Member States, together with the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, operates at a political level and does not legislate.European Council summitsEuropean Council summits, which take place several times a year, set overall EU policy and resolve issues that could not be settled at the ministerial level (e.g., by the ministers at the Council of the EU meetings). The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Commission Vice- President also participates in the European Council's work. Under the Treaty of Lisbon the European Council became an official EU institution, and a new position was created—permanent president of the European Council—a 2 1⁄2 year renewable term. Donald Tusk of Poland, only the second permanent president of this institution, chairs the European Council and drives forward its work; ensures the preparation and continuity of the Council's work; facilitates cohesion and consensus within the Council; and reports to the European Parliament following each European Council meeting. The President of the European Council also represents the EU abroad on foreign and security matters at the equivalent level.The European External Action Service (EEAS)Serves as the EU's foreign ministry and official diplomatic service. It was officially launched on January 1, 2011, to support the High Representative and assist the Presi- dents of the European Council and the European Commission with their functions in the areas of external re- lations. EEAS staff comprises expert staff transferred from the Council, the Member States, and the European Commission. High Representative Federica Mogherini heads the EEAS.European Parliament:Since 1979, the European Parliament (EP) has been directly elected by the EU's citizens, with each member serving a five-year term. The present Parliament, elected in May 2014, has 751 members representing all 28 EU countries. The treaty sets the number of members per country according to a population-based proportional system, with no Member State having fewer than six representatives, nor more than 96. Nearly one- third of Parliament's members are women. Parliament elects a president who serves a 2 1⁄2 year renewable term. In 2012, Martin Schulz of Germany was elected President of the European Parliament and re-elected in 2014 for a second term.Parliament has three main roles:Passing European laws jointly with the Council in most policy areas. All international treaties with the EU require the consent of the European Parliament. Exercising democratic supervision over the other EU institutions, in particular the Commission. Parliament has the power to approve or reject the nomination of the European Commission President and the Commissioners, and it has the right to censure the Commission as a whole, and call for its mass resignation. Full parity with the Council in the approval of the whole EU budget and of the legally binding multi-annual financial programming.How members sit in parliament and where do they work (location?Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) do not sit in national blocks, but in Europe- wide political groups. Between them, they represent all views on European integration, from the strongly pro-federalist to the openly "Euroskeptic." Although the institution has three places of work (Strasbourg, France, Brussels, Belgium, and Luxembourg), the official seat of Parliament is in Strasbourg, France, where the main plenary sessions take place 12 times a year.Court Of Justice in the European Union:The Court of Justice of the European Union was set up under the ECSC Treaty in 1952. Based in Luxembourg, it acts as the European Union's Supreme Court. The Court ensures that EU legislation is interpreted and applied uniformly in all EU countries. The Court has the power to settle legal disputes between EU Member States, EU institutions, businesses, and individuals. Its rulings are binding. The Court is composed of one judge per Member State—28—who are appointed by joint agreement between the governments of the EU Member States for a renewable term of six years. The Court may sit as a full court, in a Grand Chamber of 15 judges or in Chambers of three or five judges, depending on the complexity and importance of the case. The Court is assisted by nine advocates- general who present reasoned opinions on the cases brought before the Court, publicly and impartially.EU Law and LegislationLegislation is drafted by the Commission and requires approval by the Council and the Parliament under the ordinary legislative procedure. The Commission considers legislation only when it believes an EU-level remedy is necessary for a problem that cannot be solved by national or local governments. Legislation takes different forms, depending on the objective to be achieved.LawsCalled regulations, are binding in their entirety, self-executing, directly applicable, and obligatory throughout EU territory. They can be compared to U.S. federal laws passed by Congress.DirectivesAre binding in terms of the results to be achieved and are ad- dressed to individual Member States, which are free to choose the best forms and methods of implementation.Decisionsare binding in their entirety upon those to whom they are ad- dressed—Member States, companies, or persons.Recommendations and opinionsare not binding and can be initiated by institutions other than the Commission.General CourtTo help the Court of Justice cope with a large caseload and to afford citizens better legal protection, the General Court was created in 1988. This court (which is attached to the Court of Justice) is responsible for certain kinds of cases, particularly actions brought by private individuals, companies, and some organizations, as well as cases relating to competition law. The Court of Justice and the General Court each have a president chosen by their fellow judges to serve for a three-year renewable termEuropean Court of Auditors:The European Court of Auditors (ECA) was set up in 1975 and is based in Luxembourg. The Court's job is to check that EU funds, which come from the taxpayers, are collected properly, spent legally and economically, and are used for their intended purpose. Functioning as an independent external audit institution of the EU, the ECA aims to ensure that taxpayers get maximum value for their money, and it has the right to audit any person or organization handling EU funds. The Court is comprised of one member from each EU country, appointed by the Council for a renewable six-year term. Members elect one of their number as President for a renewable term of three years.European Economic and Social Committee - the Voice of Civil SocietyFounded in 1957 under the Treaty of Rome, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body representing employers, trade unions, farmers, consumers, and other sectors of organized civil society in policy discussions with the Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament. The Committee must be consulted before decisions are made on economic and social policy. It may also give its opinion on other matters on European Central Bank its own initiative or at the request of another EU institution. The 353 members are nominated by the Member State governments and roughly reflect the size of each Member State's population. However, they work with complete political independence and are appointed by the Council for a five-year term.Committee of the Regions - the Voice of Local GovernmentSet up in 1994, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is an advisory body whose members represent Europe's regional and local authorities. The CoR must be consulted before EU decisions are made on matters which have local and regional repercussions. The Committee can also adopt opinions on its own initiative and present them to the Commission, Council, and Parliament. The 353 members of the Committee are elected municipal or regional officials, often leaders of regional governments or city mayors, nominated by Member State governments and appointed by the Council for a five year renewable term.European Central BankThe European Central Bank (ECB) was set up in 1998, and is based in Frankfurt, Germany. The ECB is responsible for framing and implementing the EU's monetary policy including managing the euro, the EU's single currency.How does the ECB carry out its role?To carry out its role, the ECB works within the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which covers all 28 EU countries. Nineteen EU Member States have adopted the euro to date. Collectively, these 19 make up the euro area and their central banks, together with the European Central Bank, comprise the Eurosystem. The ECB works in complete independence. Neither the ECB, the national central banks of the Eurosystem, nor any member of their decision-making bodies can ask for or accept instructions from any other body. The ECB, working closely with the national central banks, prepares and implements the decisions made by the Eurosystem's decision-making bodies—the Governing Council, the Executive Board, and the General Council.The ECB's main task is to...maintain price stability in the euro area, ensuring that the euro's purchasing power is not eroded by inflation. The ECB strives to keep the year- to-year increase in consumer prices under 2 percent, controlling the money supply and monitoring price trends in order to assess the risk posed to price stability in the euro area. Controlling the money supply involves, among other things, setting interest rates throughout the euro area, one of the Bank's better known activities.ECB response to the economic crisisECB oversight ensures that banks operate in a safe and reliable way. New banking rules set stricter conditions—including the amount of reserves banks must maintain. Under the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), the ECB directly supervises the largest banks, while Member State authorities monitor the smaller ones, under a common system. The SSM covers all euro area countries, and non- euro countries have the option to participate.EU AgenciesAn EU agency is a body governed by European public law; it is distinct from the EU institutions (such as the Council, the Parliament, and the Commission) and has its own legal personality. It is set up by an act of secondary legislation in order to accomplish a very specific technical, scientific, or managerial task specified in the relevant EU act.How many EU agencies are there and what is their goal?There are currently more than forty agencies set up to perform specific tasks under EU law, even though differing terms are used to designate them (e.g. center, foundation, agency, or office).Three most important EU agenciesThree of them—the European Defense Agency (EDA), the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), and the European Union Satellite Center (EUSC)—carry out tasks for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Three others—CEPOL, Europol, and Eurojust—help coordinate police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. CEPOL is the European Police College, Europol is the European Police Office, and Eurojust is a permanent network of judicial authorities. The objectives of the EU's individual agencies and other bodies are many and varied, with each fulfilling a unique function defined at the time of its creation. These entities introduce a degree of decentralization to EU activities.EU Foreign and Security PolicyIn 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon combined three formerly separate functions— High Representative of the Council for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), President of the Foreign Affairs Council, and European Commissioner for External Relations—into the single inter-institutional position of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ European Commission Vice-President. Designed to make the EU's conduct of foreign and security policy more coherent, more consistent, more effective, and more visible on the world stage, the High Representative is the counterpart to the U.S. Secretary of State, and steers foreign and security policy; represents the EU internationally on CFSP; and enhances the consistency and unity of the EU's external action. The High Representative is appointed for a five-year term and is assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS), which is comparable to the U.S. Foreign Service.European Investment BankThe European Investment Bank (EIB) was set up in Luxembourg in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome. Its job is to lend money for projects of European interest (such as rail and road links, airports, or environmental efforts), particularly in the less well-off regions, candidate countries, and the developing world. It also provides credit for small business investments.How is the EIB fundedThe EIB is non-profit and financed through borrowing on the financial markets and by the Bank's shareholders—the Member States of the European Union. They contribute jointly to its capital, each country's contribution amount reflecting its economic weight within the Union. This Member State backing gives the EIB the highest possible credit rating (AAA) on the money markets, enabling it to raise large amounts of capital on very competitive terms. In turn, the Bank is able to invest in projects of public interest that would otherwise not get the money - or would be forced to borrow at a higher rate.Humanitarian ish side of EIBThe EIB also supports sustainable development in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean countries, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, as well as projects in Latin America and Asia. Finally, the EIB is the majority shareholder in the European Investment Fund.The European Investment FundThe European Investment Fund (EIF) was set up in 1994 to help small businesses. The EIB is its majority shareholder, with which it forms the "EIB Group". The EIF provides venture capital to small firms (SMEs), particularly new firms and technology-oriented businesses. It also provides guarantees to financial institutions (such as banks) to cover their loans to SMEs. The EIF is not a lending institution: it does not grant loans or subsidies to businesses, nor does it invest directly in any firms. Instead, it works through banks and other financial intermediaries, using either its own funds or those entrusted to it by the EIB or the European Union. The Fund is active in the Member States of the European Union, candidate and potential candidate countries, including Turkey, and four EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).US EU RelationshipThe historic relationship between the European Union and the United States is crucial and unique. Based on shared values and a strong fundamental belief in democratic government, the rule of law, human rights, and the market economy, the EU-U.S. partnership is not limited to trade relations and economic ties. Promoting energy security and efficiency, combating climate change, countering extremism and terrorism, helping developing nations lift themselves out of poverty, and fighting the spread of infectious diseases are only some of the global challenges that the EU and the U.S. face together.US EU Transatlantic Economic TiesThe EU and U.S. account for almost 30 percent of global merchandise trade, close to 40 percent of world trade in services, and about half of global GDP. The partnership is also the single most important driver of global economic growth, trade, and prosperity; bilateral economic ties are increasing every year. The EU and the U.S. are each other's main trading partners in goods and services and account for the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. The huge amount of bilateral trade and investment illustrates the high degree of interdependence of the two economies. Despite the impact of the worldwide financial crisis and recession, the EU-U.S. economic relationship remains on solid ground and is more important than ever. The two economies each provide the other with its most important sources of foreign direct investment (FDI), and close to a quarter of all EU-U.S. trade consists of transactions within firms based on their investments on either side of the Atlantic.EU US: Addressing Global Challenges TogetherTogether they work to promote common values, including peace, freedom, and the rule of law; create conditions for harmonious economic development worldwide; advance the stability of international trade, financial, and monetary systems; and strengthen the economies of developing countries and those in transition. Together, the EU and the U.S. provide the bulk (more than three-quarters in 2015) of official development assistance worldwide. Acting on these shared values, the EU and U.S. have played a significant role in promoting the institutions and international norms that helped bring an end to the Cold War and subsequently encouraged global trends toward democratization and market integration. The EU and the U.S. work together to confront global challenges such as climate change, poverty, terrorism, threats to security and stability, weapons proliferation, drugs, and organized crime. As partners promoting peace and stability, the EU and the United States recognize the impact of regional conflicts, both in the direct consequences of violence, and the wide-ranging, spin-off impact of crime, terrorism, poverty, and disease that often result from such conflicts.Situations in which EU US have worked together - peace and stabilityBalkans in the years following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), have supported the Ukrainian government in adapting legislation, structures, and processes to the requirements of a modern democracy. EU actions in 2014 and beyond have bolstered the transatlantic approach, thanks to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. In Afghanistan, the EU and the United States together have provided the lion's share of the international reconstruction effort, and the EU provides a vital component of the international drive to ensure security and stability in the country, while helping the Afghan government establish the rule of law and good governance. In order to help the reconstruction of a democratic and stable Iraq, the European Union and U.S. government both contribute financial resources, technical expertise, and an unbending commitment to the principles of democracy and freedom.Structure of Transatlantic RelationsTransatlantic relations encompass more than EU-U.S. relations. The United States and many EU countries provide for their common security in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The U.S. also maintains strong political, economic, and cultural relations with many individual European nations, EU and non-EU countries alike. The emergence of an EU Common Foreign and Security Policy in 1993 further strengthened the relationship by providing the United States with a stronger partner in areas beyond trade matters. An additional step was taken at the EU-U.S. Summit in December 1995 with the adoption of the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), which provided a new framework for the partnership to deal with the growing number of external challenges.EU US Main Partner GoalsThe relationship moved from one of consultation to one of joint action in four major fields: Promoting peace, stability, democracy, and development. Responding to global challenges. Contributing to the liberalization and ex- pansion of world trade. Improving communication and ensuring a long-term commitment to the partnershipThe NTA was accompanied by a Joint EU-U.S. Action Plan setting out specific actions ranging from?Promoting political and economic reform in Ukraine to combating AIDS; from reducing barriers to transatlantic trade and investment to promoting links between universities and professional associations. The EU and the United States also cooperate outside the NTA framework to improve the dialogue between EU and U.S. regulators and ensure that regulatory processes on both sides of the Atlantic are as open and transparent as possible for all given the intertwined transatlantic economies.How doe US EU relationship connect to the Lisbon Treaty?The EU's Lisbon Treaty, which took effect on December 1, 2009, facilitates and strengthens the European Union's external relations— including its partnership with the United States—through provisions that increase the impact, coherence, consistency, and visibility of the EU's actions abroad.The Transatlantic Economic Council:Integrating the Transatlantic Economy Established in 2007, the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) advances EU-U.S. economic integration by bringing together governments, the business community, and consumers to work on key areas where greater regulatory convergence and understanding can reap rewards on both sides of the Atlantic.What does the TEC do?Of particular value is the opportunity that TEC provides to defuse transatlantic trade disputes through consultation on standards as they are being formulated, rather than after- the-fact. A new EU-U.S. innovation dialogue aims at spurring growth, productivity, and entrepreneurial activity, by sharing best policy practices and improving the policy environment for innovative activities by drawing on talents and ideas from both markets. At their 2011 summit, EU and U.S. leaders established a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, tasked with identifying policies and measures to increase EU-U.S. trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness.The Delegation of the European Union to the United StatesThe EU is represented in the United States by the Washington, DC Delegation of the European Union, which works in close coordination with the diplomatic and consular missions of the 28 EU Member States. The EU Delegation presents and explains EU policy to the U.S. Administration and to Congress, and analyzes and reports on the political, social, and economic situation in the U.S. to its headquarters in Brussels. Through its engagement with political actors, the media, academia, business circles, and civil society, the EU Delegation raises awareness of EU issues and concerns, and promotes the importance of the EU-U.S. relationship among the broader American public. The European Union Delegation to the United States is headed by Ambassador David O'Sullivan, who is only the second EU Ambassador to the United States since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on December 1, 2009.LISBON 1/10Citizens' Initiative. One million EU citizens may sign a petition inviting the European Commission to submit a legislative proposal on any area within EU jurisdiction.LISBON 2/10Lawmaking. The European Parliament's role as co-legislator with the Council is substantially reinforced because the co-decision legislative procedure becomes the norm in most cases.LISBON 3/10Simplification of Legislative Procedures. The Treaty broadens the application of the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision) and expands qualified majority voting.LISBON 4/10National Parliaments. Member State legislatures act as "watchdogs" on the subsidiarity principle—meaning that decisions/legislation must be made at the most appropriate level of government—regional, national, or European. Additionally, the national parliaments are consulted directly early in the EU decision-making process, and have the power to intervene when a legislative act is still a Commission proposal.LISBON 5/10European Council President. The first permanent president of the European Council provides cohesion and continuity for the Council's work and represents the EU abroad on matters of common foreign and security policy.LISBON 6/10High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Commission Vice-President. This inter-institutional position—comparable to the U.S. Secretary of State— fuses several previous functions and enables the EU to act more coherently, consistently, effectively, and visibly in the international arena.LISBON 7/10European External Action Service. A professional diplomatic corps to support the HR/VP.LISBON 8/10Withdrawal. For the first time, the EU treaty addresses a Member State's right to withdraw from the EU.LISBON 9/10Single Legal Personality. This enables the EU to conclude international agreements and join international organizations.LISBON 10/10Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Charter becomes legally binding.Economic and Monetary Union and the EuroA single monetary policy for the 19 euro area Member States, combined with coordinated national fiscal policies, helps foster an area of macroeconomic stability, spurs the economic integration of Europe, and boosts cross-border trade, financial integration, and investment. These elements are essential conditions for growth. Fiscal responsibility has improved thanks to the rules-based Stability and Growth Pact, and the exchange rate realignments that periodically traumatized European economies have become a thing of the past. EMU has also increased the EU's resilience to adverse shocks and fostered the EU's leadership in the global economy, as demonstrated by its response to the global economic and financial upheaval. The EU also addressed the sovereign debt crises in several euro area countries by creating firewalls and new instruments to provide appropriate frameworks to strengthen the banking and financial sectors.How was the EMU achievedAchieved in three main stages, EMU is based on the concept of a single market for sovereign nations. During the first stage, beginning in 1990, the EU ensured completely free movement of capital within the EU and established the single market. Stage two (1994-1999) included the introduction of the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the precursor to the European Central Bank. The final stage, launched in 1999, witnessed the birth of both the euro and the European Central Bank's single monetary policy for the euro area.EMU non Euro MembersAlthough all EU Member States are part of the Economic and Monetary Union, not all EU countries are part of the euro area, which includes only those that have adopted the euro as their currency.EBC monetary policyWithin the euro area, monetary policy is conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB). All EU Member States— with the exception of Denmark and the United Kingdom, which negotiated "opt-out" clauses—are expected to join the euro area once specific economic convergence criteria are met.Economic policy under EMU requires thatMember States ensure coordination of their economic policies, provide for multilateral surveillance of this coordination, and demonstrate financial and budgetary discipline. Monetary policy underpins the single currency's stability through price stability and respect for the market economy. Fiscal policy (tax and spending) remains in the hands of individual national governments, as do policies about labor, pensions, and capital markets. However, sound public finances and flexible and appropriately integrated product, labor, and financial markets are vital for EMU to function effectively. Governments commit to respect commonly agreed rules on public finances through adherence to the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), and coordinate their structural policies to better achieve continental level stability, growth, and development through the Europe 2020 strategy.The Stability and Growth Pact helps to enforceFiscal discipline within the EMU and to ensure sound and sustainable public finances. In mid-2010, the European Commission introduced a strategy for strengthening economic governance of the EU and the euro area, particularly in the aftermath of the sovereign debt crisis that resulted from the recession. Cornerstones of the new approach include enhanced surveillance of fiscal policies, macroeconomic policies, and structural reforms.The Maastricht Economic Convergence CriteriaFive economic convergence criteria must be fulfilled before an EU Member State can adopt the euro: Price stability. The inflation rate should be no more than 1.5 percentage points above the previous year's rate for the three EU countries with the lowest inflation. Budget deficit. The national deficit generally must be below three percent of GDP Debt. National debt should not exceed 60 percent of GDP, although a country with a higher rate can still adopt the euro, provided its debt level is falling steadily. Interest rates. Long-term rates should be no more than two percentage points above the previous year's rate in the three EU countries with the lowest interest rates. Exchange rate stability. The national currency's exchange rate should have remained within the authorized fluctuation margins for two years.ERM II(exchange rate mechanism) ensures that exchange rate fluctuations between the euro and other EU currencies do not disrupt economic stability within the single market, and helps countries prepare to join the euro area. Euro area candidates are required to participate successfully in ERM II for at least two years before joining the euro area to satisfy the convergence criteria on exchange rate stability. Denmark is currently a member of ERM II, and other member countries will follow as part of their transition to the euro.The European Central Bank and the EurosystemThe Eurosystem, comprising the independent European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks (NCBs) of the EU Member States using the euro, is the monetary authority responsible for safeguarding price stability in the euro area. The Eurosystem also supports the EU's general economic policy objectives, including sustainable, non- inflationary economic growth and a high level of employment. To fulfill this role, the ECB monitors and assesses financial stability at the euro area level; advises on the design and review of regulatory and supervisory requirements for financial institutions; and promotes cooperation between central banks and supervisory authorities on issues of common interest, such as payment system oversight and financial crisis management.How is EBC different from US Fed ReserveUnlike the Federal Reserve in the U.S., the European Central Bank does not have direct responsibility for bank supervision and financial stability, which remain under national jurisdiction in EU countries. However, the ECB is charged with "contributing to the smooth conduct of policies... relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and the stability of the financial system."Main Tasks of the European Central Bank and the EurosystemDefine and implement monetary policy for the euro area; Conduct foreign exchange operations; Hold and manage the official foreign reserves of participating EU Member States; Promote the smooth operation of payment systems; Authorize the issue of banknotes by NCBs in the euro area; Contribute to financial stability and supervision through monitoring, assessment, and advice to the national authorities. The European Central Bank and the NCBs of all EU Member States comprise the Euro- pean System of Central Banks (ESCB). As long as some EU states remain outside the euro area, the ESCB and the Eurosystem will co-exist.Copenhagen CriteriaAny European country that adheres to the following principles is considered eligible for membership in the EU: 1. Stable institutions that can sustain democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for minorities. 2. A functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressures. 3. The ability to apply the EU's rules and policies (known as the acquis communautaire).On the Path to EU MembershipAccording to EU nomenclature, "candidate countries" are those whose EU membership application has been accepted by all relevant EU institutions, allowing the applicant to begin accession negotiations. Currently, there are five candidate countries: Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. "Potential candidate countries" encompass the remaining Western Balkan nations whose future lies within the EU. Potential candidates are Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244). Because accession often requires major political and economic reforms within the candidate country, the process moves forward at a pace which is largely determined by the applicant's proven ability to take on the obligations of membership.The Historic "Fifth" EnlargementThe most expansive enlargement to date was the "fifth enlargement", which took place in 2004 and 2007 and added 12 new Member States to the European Union. Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union Eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe, along with Cyprus and Malta, Previous enlargements Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom Greece Spain and Portugal and Austria, Finland, and SwedenThe EU invested more new member states during fifth enlargementThe EU invested more than $85 billion between 1990 and 1999 to support the new Member States during the accession process, approximately what the U.S. Marshall Plan provided to aid the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.According to EU nomenclature, "candidate countries" are those whose...EU membership application has been accepted by all relevant EU institutions, allowing the applicant to begin accession negotiations. Currently, there are five candidate countries: Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. "Potential candidate countries" encompass the remaining Western Balkan nations whose future lies within the EU. Potential candidates are Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244). Because accession often requires major political and economic reforms within the candidate country, the process moves forward at a pace which is largely determined by the applicant's proven ability to take on the obligations of membership.The EU Accession ProcessApplying for EU membership is the start of a long and rigorous process. When a country submits an application to the Council of the EU, it triggers a sequence of EU evaluation procedures that may, or may not, result in the country being invited to become a member.The European Commission and Counsil Role in AccessionThe European Commission issues a formal opinion on the applicant country, after which the Council of the EU decides whether to accept the application. Once the Council unanimously agrees to begin accession negotiations, discussions may be formally opened pro- vided that the applicant country has met the core conditions—the Copenhagen criteria.Chapter negotiationsNegotiations in 35 separate policy areas (known as "chapters") are conducted individually with each candidate country, proceeding from one stage of the process to the next, but only moving forward once all conditions have been met at each stage. Because of this meticulously managed process, the prospect of accession acts as a powerful incentive for reform, providing simultaneous benefits to the EU and to its acceding members.Getting a Draft Accession TreatyOnce negotiations are concluded to the satisfaction of both sides, a detailed, comprehensive Draft Accession Treaty is submitted for approval by the Council of the EU, the Europe- an Commission, and the European Parliament. Once approved, the treaty is signed by the candidate country and the representatives of all EU Member States, after which it is sub- mitted to all Member States and the candidate country for ratification, according to their respective constitutional rules. When the ratification process is complete, the treaty enters into force on its scheduled date, and the candidate country becomes an EU Member State.The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is anIntergovernmental organization set up more than fifty years ago to promote free trade and economic integration among its Member States. Originally comprising Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, and the UK, and joined later by Finland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, EFTA nations were not at that time EU Member States. (Once a country becomes an EU Member State, it relinquishes its EFTA membership.)EFTA not EU relationshipInstead, EFTA members sought a different relationship with the EU, but one that was characterized by robust and progressively freer trade. Current members of the EFTA—Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland—have chosen not to become part of the Union at this time. In referenda in 1973 and 1994, Norway decided against EU membership; Switzerland has applied for EU membership in the past, but has not actively pursued it, choosing instead to conclude agreements in specific policy sectors including transport, the environment, free movement of people, procurement, research, agricultural trade, and conformity assessment. As members of the 1994 European Economic Area (EEA), Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein participate in the EU's internal market while not assuming the full responsibilities of EU membership.The European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern PartnershipThe EU launched the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) in 2004 to promote democracy, economic development, stability, and security in the countries around the borders of the expanded EU. The idea was to create a ring of friends with the Union's immediate neighbors and to avoid the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbors. Through agreed upon programs of financial and technical support, the EU provides incentives for political and economic reform in neighborhood countries, including access to the Union's single market, closer energy and transportation links, and a chance to participate in certain internal EU programs.ENP does what?ENP is helping countries strengthen the rule of law, democracy, and respect for human rights, while enabling market-oriented economic reforms. Distinct from the enlargement process (although eventual membership is not precluded for otherwise qualified European states), ENP includes Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Tunisia, and Ukraine.ENP and Eastern PartnershipThe ENP is complemented by the Eastern Partnership, which fosters further engagement with the EU's eastern neighbors—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine—and offers them concrete, far- reaching support for democratic and market- oriented reforms that contribute to their political and economic stability. Under the Eastern Partnership, existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) negotiated in the 1990s are being replaced by more ambitious Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements. In June 2014, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU that include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements.The Eastern Partnership enablesthe EU's neighbors to the east that are interested in moving toward greater integration with the EU to increase their political, economic, and cultural links with the EU. And, the process is underpinned by a shared commitment to international law and fundamental values— democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms— and to the market economy, sustainable development, and good governance.The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)In parallel with its growing economic and political power, the EU has created its own foreign and security policy which enables it to speak—and act—as one in world affairs. The need for European political cooperation first emerged in the 1970s, and in 1974, EU ministers of foreign affairs began meeting regularly to coordinate their foreign policy.CFSP is designed to safeguard thevalues, interests, independence, and integrity of the Union; to strengthen the Union's security; to preserve peace and strengthen international security; to promote international cooperation; to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Because foreign and security policy is one area where essential authority remains with the governments of the EU Member States, CFSP decision-making procedures are intergovernmental. However, all of the EU's major institutions play a role.Decisions under CFSP are reachedunanimously, except where the treaties provide otherwise. The European Council, consisting of heads of state and/or government, is responsible for foreign policy, defining policy principles and general guidelines, agreeing on common strategies for activities with individual countries, and adopting joint actions and common positions within the CFSP framework.The President of the European Council ensuresThe external representation of the EU in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy at the level of heads of state and government.The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (EUHR) is charged withcoordinating and carrying out the EU's CFSP and the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).The EUHR also serves as theChair of the Foreign Affairs Council—made up of the foreign ministers of the Member States— and is a Vice-President of the Commission. As such, the High Representative ensures effective inter-institutional coordination leading to the implementation of coherent external policies.The EUHR is supported by theEuropean External Action Service (EEAS), comprising staff recruited from the Council Secretariat, the European Commission, and the diplomatic corps of the EU Member States.The European Parliament with CFSPis consulted regularly, although it has no direct powers in this realm. Member States not willing to participate in a particular foreign policy or security action may opt out without holding back the rest of the Union through a process called "constructive abstention."Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP)In 1999, as part of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, European leaders decided to put in place the EU Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) to develop the international crisis management capacity needed to undertake security-related operations, such as peacekeeping, monitoring, and conflict prevention.How did Lisbon effect CSDPThe Treaty of Lisbon introduced a solidarity and mutual assistance clause that obliges all EU Member States to provide aid and assistance in the event that another Member State were to become a victim of armed aggression. (It does not, however, affect the specific character of the security and defense policies of certain EU Member States, their neutrality, or their commitments under NATO.) In addition, the Lisbon Treaty introduced a provision, known as "enhanced cooperation" that enables a group of at least nine willing Member States to deepen their cooperation in the field of military crisis management following the unanimous approval of the Council. A second measure, "permanent structured cooperation", provides for a flexible and permanent defense mechanism which does not require a minimum number of participating countries to proceed, and within which the European Defense Agency plays a key role. Finally, the Treaty of Lisbon codifies and updates the scope of CSDP operations. In addition to traditional humanitarian and relief work, peacekeeping and post-conflict stabilization, and the use of combat forces in crisis management, the treaty provides for joint disarmament operations, military advice and assistance, and a contribution to the fight against terrorism.The EU and NATOTreaty Organization—to which 22* of the 28 Member States belong—have built a genuine strategic partnership with the shared goal of regional stability and peace. Today, agreements between the EU and NATO also provide for specific cooperation on crisis management, anti-terrorism, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the exchange of classified information. In addition, the EU has access to NATO's planning capability. The culmination of those agreements was the EU's assumption on March 31, 2003, of NATO's mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Called Operation Concordia, the deployment of about 400 troops from EU Member States and other nations marked the first time the Union led a military mission. Collaboration between the EU and NATO is likely to grow in the future.Original EU NATO PartnershipThe initial framework for EU-NATO cooperation was the 1999 "Berlin Plus" arrangement, which first granted the EU access to NATO operational planning assets when leading crisis management operations; made NATO capabilities and common assets available to the EU; offered NATO European command options for EU-led operations; and took the possibility of making NATO forces available for EU operations into account during the NATO planning cycle.Bilateral and MultilateralRelationships across the Globe Since its inception, the EU has developed a network of bilateral and multilateral agreements designed to continually expand and deepen relations with its partners. As a major global actor, the EU is at the forefront of promoting free trade, sustainable development, freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the fight against poverty. To advance its aims, the EU holds regular summit meetings with major partners such as the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, India, China, and Brazil. The Union also holds regional dialogues with other countries in Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. These relationships cover political dialogue, investment, economic cooperation, finance, energy, science and technology, human rights, environmental protection, counterterrorism, and international crime. The EU is a staunch proponent of multilateralism—relying on an effective multilateral system—a principle at the core of its external relations, whether in international trade, development,International Trade and the World Trade OrganizationBecause the harmonization of trade policies was central to European integration, the EU has been a key player in the successive rounds of international negotiations on trade liberalization. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the multilateral trading system are at the core of EU trade policy—the EU believes that a system of global rules is the best way to ensure that trade between countries is fair and open. Although all EU Member States are individually members of the WTO, trade policy is the exclusive jurisdiction of the European Union, which represents the interests of all 28 EU Member States at bilateral and multilateral levels. Trade agreements are authorized by the Council of the EU, negotiated by the European Commission, and require the approval of both the Council and the European Parliament before entering into force.Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)At the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in 2014, ministers finalized the negotiation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which, once implemented, will boost global economic growth and provide significant benefits to economic operators around the world. The agreement aims to make importing and exporting more efficient and less costly by increasing transparency and improving customs procedures. Ministers also agreed on a series of Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues related to agriculture and development, including areas of concern to the Least Developed Countries. WTO members continue to reflect on the best way to move forward on the remaining DDA issues. The EU has complemented its Doha strategy by launching a series of negotiations on deep and comprehensive bilateral agreements, particularly free trade agreements (FTAs). The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada was completed in 2014. Once the agreement is implemented, 99 percent of customs duties will be eliminated along with many other obstacles affecting business. Negotiations are ongoing with a number of other trading partners, including Japan and Malaysia.Humanitarian Aid.The EU is a leading donor of emergency and humanitarian assistance, and delivers aid to those in need regardless of race, religion, or politics. Through the European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the EU has supported humanitarian aid programs in more than 140 countries by providing funding, technical expertise, and operational coordination. ECHO funding aids millions of people each year, and its assistance, relief and protection operations, along with its actions to facilitate the free flow of assistance, play a key role in alleviating the worst effects of serious humanitarian crises.UNTogether, the 28 EU Member States comprise more than one-eighth of all votes in the UN General Assembly and one-fifth of the membership in the UN Security Council. EU Member States together are the single largest financial contributor to the UN system, funding 30 percent of the organization's regular budget, 33 percent of UN peacekeeping operations, and about one-half of all UN member countries' contributions to UN funds and programs. The European Commission also contributes more than $1.5 billion to support external assistance programs and projects. With the United States providing around one-quarter of UN resources, the EU and the U.S. together account for more than 60 percent of the United Nations' budget.Council of EuropeThe Council of Europe (COE), an international organization established in 1949, in Strasbourg, France, to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe, counts all 28 EU countries among its 47 member states. The COE's European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) lies at the heart of both organizations' activities, and is enshrined in the EU's treaty. The EU cooperates with the Council of Europe on issues including protection of persons belonging to national minorities, the fight against discrimination, racism and xenophobia, the fight against torture and ill- treatment, the fight against human trafficking, and freedom of expression and information. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights also works with the Council of Europe to promote respect for human rights inside the EU.EU members ECHRAll EU Member States have acceded to the ECHR, and the Treaty of Lisbon requires the EU itself to accede, placing it on the same footing as its Member States vis-à-vis the system of fundamental rights protection supervised by the European Court of Human Rights. With accession, the EU becomes the 48th signatory of the ECHR and will have its own judge at the Strasbourg court. Accession negotiations began in 2010.G7 and G20The European Union is a full member of both the G7 and the G20; it is represented at summits by both the European Commission and European Council presidents.EU DelegationsThe European External Action Service is supported by a network of approximately 140 EU delegations throughout the world, staffed by EU diplomats and locally recruited employees. With the status of diplomatic missions, the delegations officially represent the EU to their host countries, and in several cases to international organizations, including the United Nations.Each delegation has a mandate thatreflects the specific EU relationship with the individual country, whether it is an appli- cant for EU membership, a neighboring nation that benefits from the European Neighborhood Policy, an industrial nation with which the EU has specific strategic and trade relations, or one of the many beneficiaries of development assistance.What are the delegations essential for?The delegations are essential to the pro- motion of EU interests and values around the world, and are at the front line in de- livering EU external relations policy and action, from the common foreign and security policy through trade and de- velopment cooperation to scientific and technical relations. They work in close cooperation with the local diplomatic missions of the EU Member States.EU AgricultureGuarantee food supply and farm incomes in Europe, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comprises a set of rules and mechanisms which regulate the production, trade, and processing of agricultural products in the European Union. Initially, CAP was designed to increase agricultural productivity and help farmers attain a fair standard of living; stabilize markets; and ensure a secure supply of affordable food. Since the 1990s, CAP has moved away from supporting product prices, and today's CAP has been transformed into a multi- functional policy, supporting market-oriented agricultural production throughout Europe while contributing to vibrant rural areas and environmentally sustainable production.EU AviationAviation plays a fundamental role in the European economy both for EU citizens and industry. By supporting 5.1 million jobs and contributing €365 billion, or 2.4 percent to European GDP, it makes a vital contribution to economic growth, employment, tourism, people-to-people contacts, and the EU's regional and social cohesion. Over the last two decades, by removing historic barriers, the EU has transformed and integrated fragmented national aviation markets into the single largest and most open regional aviation market in the world.EU CompetitionCompetition encourages companies to offer consumers goods and services on the most favorable terms, promoting efficiency, innovation, and lower prices. For effective competition, companies must act independently of each other, yet subject to the competitive pressures from other economic operators. EU law covers several aspects of competition policy.EU Antitrust policy is based on two main provisions in the EU's treaty:nAgreements between two or more independent market operators that restrict competition are prohibited. This applies to actual or potential competitors operating at the same level of the supply chain (horizontal agreements) and to firms operating at different levels, for example between a supplier and its distributor (vertical agreements). Cartels between competitors that involve price-fixing or market sharing, are strictly prohibited. n Firms holding a dominant market position are prohibited from abusing that position with actions that include unfair pricing, limiting production, or refusing to innovate to the detriment of customers. The European Commission is empowered to apply these rules and is given the tools to do so, including a number of investigative powers and the ability to impose fines.Mergers.The EU prohibits mergers and acquisitions that would significantly reduce competition in the single market, for example, by creating a dominant company likely to impose price hikes on consumers. The European Commission only examines larger mergers (exceeding a certain turnover threshold) with an EU dimension.State Aid.EU rules prohibit state aid (government support) that distorts competition in the internal market and gives the subsidized company an unfair advantage over its competitors.Internationally, the EU's main objective has been to promoteThe convergence of competition policy instruments and practices across jurisdictions and facilitate cooperation in enforcement activities with competition authorities in other jurisdictionsEU-U.S. Cooperation. The EU cooperates with the U.S. competition authoritiesThe Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission—primarily on the basis of the 1991 Cooperation Agreement and the 1998 Positive Comity Agreement. Cooperation is intensified if the parties to a case have granted a waiver allowing the exchange of otherwise protected information.Democracy, Freedom, and Human RightsHuman rights, democracy, and the rule of law are core EU principles, embedded in the European Union's treaty, and reinforced by its Charter of Fundamental Rights. The EU views human rights as universal and indivisible and actively promotes and defends them within its borders, in its external relations, and across its policies. EU human rights policy focuses on protecting the rights of women, children, minorities, and displaced persons. The EU opposes the death penalty, torture, human trafficking, and discrimination. Human rights policies in the EU defend civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The EU's 2012 Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy and its Action Plans are designed to advance human rights and democracy worldwide in partnership with Member States, partner governments, the United Nations, and civil society. Their aim is to make EU human rights policy more effective and consistent and to raise the profile of human rights in the EU's foreign policy. To this end, the EU appointed its first ever EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights in 2012. The EU publicly condemns human rights violations wherever they occur, appealing to the countries concerned to end such violations and pressuring the authorities in question. All trade and cooperation agreements—more than 120—include a human rights clause stipulating that respect for human rights is central to relations with the EU. In a number of instances, the EU has imposed sanctions for human rights breaches. The EU also pursues human rights dialogues with numerous countries and organizations. And respect for human rights is a precondition for countries seeking to join the Union.Election Monitoring.Credible and fair elections are vital to democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, and EU election observation missions (EOMs) assess whether the electoral process conforms to international standards for democratic elections. Observers examine whether political parties can participate freely and openly in the electoral process; the level of access candidates have to the media; voter education; and the safety and security of voters. Since 2000, the EU has deployed more than 130 election observation missions in more than 60 countries.European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.The EU provides direct funding for human rights and democratization through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Launched originally in 1994, EIDHR's current annual budget (between 2014 and 2020) of around €190 million supports activities including global campaigns against the death penalty, the rehabilitation of torture victims, assistance for human rights defenders at risk, support for free media organizations, and election observation. More than 90 percent of EIDHR partners are local and international civil society organizations; the remainder are international intergovernmental bodies with special expertise, such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council of Europe. Additional EU funding supports projects with partner governments to improve the implementation of human rights in areas such as police training and prison and judicial reform. EIDHR funds more than 1200 projects in more than 100 countries.Torture and Capital Punishment.The EU unconditionally supports the right to life and the right not to be subject to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment—standards recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international human rights agreements, and many national constitutions. The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights—a legally binding document—states, "Everyone has a right to life. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed." Abolition of the death penalty is a prerequisite for EU membership, and the European Union actively promotes a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty and protests against itSingle Internal MarketThe single market is at the core of today's European Union. To make it happen, the EU institutions and the Member States worked doggedly to draft and adopt the hundreds of directives needed to sweep away the technical, regulatory, legal, and bureaucratic barriers that stifled free trade and free movement within the Union. During its 20-plus years of existence, the single market has grown from 345 million consumers in 1992 to over 500 million today. Cross-border trade between EU countries has also grown from €800 billion in 1992 to €3 trillion in 2015 in terms of the value of goods exchanged. During the same time period, trade between the EU and the rest of the world tripled, from €500 billion in 1992 to more than €1.7 trillion in 2015. This is in addition to a greater choice of goods and services, lower prices for the EU's consumers, creation of economies of scale and improved efficiency, and the enhanced capacity of European firms to compete in today's globalized markets. The four freedoms of movement (enshrined in the Treaties)—for goods, services, people, and capital—are underpinned by a range of supporting policies. Firms are prevented from fixing prices or carving up markets among them by the EU's robust antitrust policy. EU citizens can work throughout the EU territory because Member States recognize many other individual Member States' academic and professional certifications.Trade and CustomsTrade policy is the exclusive jurisdiction of the European Union, which represents the interests of all 28 EU Member States at bilateral and multilateral levels, including the WTO. Within the Union, Member States have removed all tariffs on trade, while having unified tariffs on imports from outside the EU (the "common external tariff"). This means that the same tariff is paid on products regardless of which EU country is the entry point to the EU market, and once customs procedures are complete, goods can be shipped throughout the EU without additional duties. The achievement of this "customs union" in 1968 is one of the EU's earliest milestones. EU customs authorities also ensure the smooth flow of trade while protecting the environment and citizens' health and safety. Customs authorities are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. Transatlantic cooperation in these areas is particularly active, with EU and U.S. customs officials working together to ensure container security and combat counterfeiting.Generally, EU trade policy aims to:1. Create a global system for fair and open trade. The EU adheres to the World Trade Organization's system of global trade rules as an effective method for keeping the global economy open for trade. All 28 EU Member States are members of the WTO individually, but the EU negotiates and acts as a single body within the WTO. 2. Open up markets with key partner countries. The EU is negotiating better access and conditions for trade and investment through free trade agreements (FTAs). The EU has concluded a number of FTAs (including with Canada, Singapore, and Vietnam) and negotiations are ongoing with others, including Japan and Malaysia. 3. Ensure that rules are respected. By using the WTO court system or trade defense mechanisms, the EU ensures that imports entering the EU are traded at fair prices and do not cause unfair damage to European companies or their workers. 4. Ensure trade is a force for sustainable development. This entails helping poor countries trade their way out of poverty, ensuring the highest health and safety standards for the products we buy and sell, and supporting environmental protection and working conditions.The Negotiation Process.The European Commission sets and carries forward the EU priorities and objectives as spelled out in guidelines from the Council of the EU. Officials from the Commission's Directorate-General for Trade, under the Trade Commissioner's authority, are charged with actually conducting the negotiations, and speak on behalf of the EU as a whole. Coordination with Member States is assured at all times, while the Commission keeps the European Parliament regularly informed. The Council and the European Parliament must formally agree to the outcome of bilateral and multilateral negotiations.EU on Growth and JobsThe EU's strategy for creating sustainable growth and jobs promotes innovation within businesses and investment in people to create a knowledge-based society. The strategy also seeks to attract more people into employment, keep them in work longer as life expectancyrises, improve the adaptability of workers and enterprises, provide better education and skills, and adapt social protection systems to the challenges of innovation, globalization and mobility. Through the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU has identified three key drivers for European growth in the 21st century—smart growth (fostering knowledge, innovation, education, and digital society), sustainable growth (making EU production greener and more resource efficient while boosting competitiveness), and inclusive growth (enhancing labor market participation, skills acquisition, and the fight against poverty)— designed to help Europe emerge stronger from the economic crisis and prepare the EU economy for the coming decade.The European Commission's (2014-2019) priorities, billed as a new start for Europe, highlight jobs, growth, fairness, and democratic change and include:Boosting jobs, growth, and investment; Creating a connected digital single market in Europe; Creating a new European Energy Union that encompasses a forward-looking climate change policy; Bolstering the internal market with a strengthened industrial base; Deepening the Economic and MonetaryUnion and making it more fair; Achieving a reasonable and balanced free trade agreement (TTIP) with the United States; Strengthening the area of justice and fundamental rights based on mutual trust and shared values; Developing a new migration policy that encompasses a common asylum policy and European policy on legal migration; Fortifying Europe's role in foreign policy and generally as a global actor; Ensuring democratic change in EuropeEnergy and EnvironmentThe EU has set and achieved sustainable energy goals since 2008 that are helping to advance Europe's transition to a low carbon economy. Responding to geopolitical, environmental, and economic imperatives to diversify energy sources away from fossil fuels, Europe is setting the bar even higher for 2030 and beyond. Aiming beyond its 2020 goals, the EU's 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy sets even more ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), renewable energy, and energy efficiency that will also provide stability and predictability for Europe's economic operatorsProgress on the internal energy marketHas already delivered positive results including: a decline in wholesale electricity prices; increased consumer choice in energy suppliers; construction of missing infrastructure links between EU countries; increased trade in gas and electricity among Member States; more efficient use of pipelines; and regulatory progress ensuring fair and competitive practices.The EU-U.S. Energy Council improves transatlantic coordination on strategic energy issues, bringing together key EU and U.S. actors to collaborate in the areas ofEnergy security. This includes cooperation on the Southern Gas Corridor to bring gas from the Caspian Sea region; addressing energy security concerns for the EU's eastern neighbors, including Ukraine and Moldova; advancing energy research in areas including clean energy technologies and electric vehicles; and pursuing energy policies in areas such as smart grids and other smart technologies.Climate Action.Climate change is one of the gravest challenges facing humanity. The EU is leading global action on climate change, both by setting out what needs to be done internationally and by committing to and achieving significant cuts in its own greenhouse gases. In parallel, the European Commission and a number of Member States have developed adaptation strategies to help strengthen Europe's resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change.The EU fights climate change throughthe EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the world's first and largest international trading system for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The EU ETS uses a binding cap-and-trade market mechanism to put a price on carbon and allow companies to cut emissions cost- effectively. The EU has set one of the most ambitious climate targets for 2020, and is on track to reach and even exceed the GHG emissions goal of a 20 percent decrease over 1990 levels. By 2013, the EU had already achieved a 19 percent drop, while the economy maintained a healthy growth rate (45 percent) over the same period, breaking the link between economic growth and increased emissions in all Member States.Freedom, Security, and JusticeOne of the fundamental objectives of the European Union is to offer its citizens an area of freedom, security, and justice without internal borders. The Union spearheads a full range of policy areas to fight terrorism; tackle organized crime; manage migration; establish a common asylum area; develop supportive measures on integration to maximize the positive impact of migrants in the EU; and further develop an integrated management of the external borders and a common visa policy to guarantee the free movement of people within the EU.The European Agenda on Security prioritizesThe fight against terrorism, organized crime, and cybercrime—interlinked areas with a strong cross-border dimension, where EU action can make a real difference. The Agenda focuses on improving information exchanges and operational cooperation between Member State law enforcement authorities, and supports actions through training, funding, research, and innovation. The EU focuses on preventing radicalization by tackling the root causes that attract individuals to terrorist groups; protecting its citizens and infrastructure and reducing their vulnerability to attack through improved security of borders, transport, and critical infrastructure; pursuing and investigating terrorists across borders and globally; and developing systems to respond rapidly and effectively to a terrorist attack. While the individual EU Member States have the primary responsibility for combating terrorism, the EU adds value by strengtheningnational capabilities, facilitating European cooperation, developing collective capabilities and standards, and promoting international partnership. The EU has agreed collectively on a common list of terrorist organizations and provided Europol, which assists the EU Member States in preventing and combating all forms of terrorism and other serious crime (including human and drug trafficking), with additional resources to analyze terrorist threats and further improve information exchange.Europol—the European Police OfficeSupports EU Member State law enforcement agencies through fast information exchange, sophisticated intelligence analysis, coordination, expertise, and training. Unlike national police forces, Europol does not have any autonomous investigative or coercive powers—its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without the approval of national authorities. In 2002, EUROJUST—a "college" of experienced judges and prosecutors—was established to facilitate interaction between the judicial authorities of the different Member State legal systems, through international mutual legal assistance, extradition requests, and cross-border criminal investigations. Consolidation of a genuine common immigration and asylum policy—including the development of a new and flexible admission system for economic immigration; initiatives to support smooth integration of immigrants into society; and a common European Migration and Asylum system based on solidarity and respect of human rights—is also a priority. FRONTEX, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU, assists Member States in applying EU measures relating to the management of the EU's common external border.Research, Development, and InnovationEurope has a long tradition of excellence in research and innovation. The European Union has its own research and innovation policies and programs as does each individual EU Member State, given the shared nature of policy jurisdiction in this area. Since 2000, the "European research area" (ERA) has been gradually taking shape. ERA is the research and innovation equivalent of the "common market" for goods and services. It aims to enable the free flow of researchers and knowledge across borders, better coordination of research programs and coherent research and innovation policies at national and EU levels, thus securing the competitive future of the EU and prosperity of its citizens. Recognizing that future economic growth and jobs will increasingly come from innovative products, services, and business models, EU leaders have made reaching an R&D investment level of 3 percent of GDP a central goal in the Europe 2020 strategy to achieve smart growth and expand employment.