The aftermath of WWII pushed Europe to find peace. The ideas was that economic cooperation would help countries that trade with one another would be more likely to avoid conflict. The EEC was created in 1958 with Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Now the EU with 28 members has evolved from a purely economic union to a union that creates policy on climate, environment, health, security, justice, migration, etc. It became the European Union in 1993. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom Pillar I: European communities: common market, customs union, economic and monetary union, Competition, CAP, CCP, CFP, Public health, social policy, culture, youth, environment, nuclear power, energy, etc.
Pillar II: Common Foreign and Security Policy: foreign policy, coordinated position on international crises, respect for the obligations of member states toward NATO
Pillar III: Justice and Home Affairs: asylum, immigration, crossing of external borders, combating drug addiction, fraud, international crime, customs operations, police (Europol)
751 membered body established in 1952 (as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, 1962 as European Parliament). It is the EU's law-making body. Legislative role: passing EU laws, together with the Council of the EU, based on European Commission proposals, deciding on international agreements, deciding on enlargements, reviewing the Commission's work programme. Supervisory role: democratic scrutiny of all EU institutions, electing the Commissions President, granting discharge, examining citizen's petitions and setting up inquiries, discussing monetary policy, questioning commission and council, election observations. Budgetary Role: establishing the EU budget with Council, approving the EU's long term budget.
The EP decides on international agreements and enlargements.
The CJEU gives rulings on cases brought before it. The most common types of case are:
Interpreting the law (preliminary rulings) - national courts of EU countries are required to ensure EU law is properly applied, but courts in different countries might interpret it differently. If a national court is in doubt about the interpretation or validity of an EU law, it can ask the Court for clarification. The same mechanism can be used to determine whether a national law or practice is compatible with EU law.
Enforcing the law (infringement proceedings) - this type of case is taken against a national government for failing to comply with EU law. Can be started by the European Commission or another EU country. If the country is found to be at fault, it must put things right at once, or risk a second case being brought, which may result in a fine.
Annulling EU legal acts (actions for annulment) - if an EU act is believed to violate EU treaties or fundamental rights, the Court can be asked to annul it - by an EU government, the Council of the EU, the European Commission or (in some cases) the European Parliament. Private individuals can also ask the Court to annul an EU act that directly concerns them.
Ensuring the EU takes action (actions for failure to act) - the Parliament, Council and Commission must make certain decisions under certain circumstances. If they don't, EU governments, other EU institutions or (under certain conditions) individuals or companies can complain to the Court.
Sanctioning EU institutions (actions for damages) - any person or company who has had their interests harmed as a result of the action or inaction of the EU or its staff can take action against them through the Court.
The euro is the official currency for 19 of the 28 EU member countries. When the EU was founded in 1957, the Member States concentrated on building a 'common market' for trade. However, over time it became clear that closer economic and monetary co-operation was needed for the internal market to develop and flourish further, and for the whole European economy to perform better, bringing more jobs and greater prosperity for Europeans. In 1991, the Member States approved the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty), deciding that Europe would have a strong and stable currency for the 21st century. The non-euro countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden. The benefits of the euro include: More choice and stable prices for consumers and citizens, Greater security and more opportunities for businesses and markets
Improved economic stability and growth, More integrated financial markets, A stronger presence for the EU in the global economy, and a tangible sign of a European identity.
1973: UK, Denmark and Ireland
1986: Spain and Portugal
1995: Sweden, Finland and Austria
2004: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
2007: Bulgaria and Romania
The enlargements of 1973, the 80s, and 1995 expanded the European integration project from six to 15 members. Each aided the growth of common norms and practices to govern anticipated future enlargements.
This enlargement saw the emergence of conditionality, the practice of tying membership to the fulfillment of explicit conditions. It also saw the emergence of the extended use of transition periods, and it confirmed that in negotiations most of the concessions would be made by the candidates. Greece became the 10th member of the EC in 1981. All three southern candidates (Greece, Portugal, Spain) presented similar profiles. Economically they were underdeveloped compared to most EC member states, with large agricultural sectors, outdated industries, and high unemployment. Politically, they were new and fragile democracies. Strategically, the Mediterranean region seemed increasingly sensitive, given its proximity to the Middle East and North Africa. In the end, the political and strategic arguments for enlargement prevailed over the economic reservations of some member states. Despite their concerns about agriculture, France and Italy welcomed the 'rebalancing' of the EC through the admission of states sharing their latin cultures. Now membership was at 12. Within 5 years of the southern enlargement, new requests came from Turkey, Cyprus, and Malta in 1990. These requests were shelved due to the cold war. Then came Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The first three had economic and cultural ties to the west and were now free to reinterpret their own neutrality. All four governments wished to enhance their access to EC markets with a seat at the Brussels table, where decisions affecting them were being made. Denmark supported its Nordic neighbours and Germany backed Austria. All four negotiations concluded in 1994, then all four sought ratification. Three succeeded while the combination of fish, farming, and oil defeated the accession treaty in Norway. Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU in 1995, membership now at 15. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU's relations with 16 of the EU's closest Eastern and Southern Neighbours. To the South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria and Tunisia and to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Russia takes part in Cross-Border Cooperation activities under the ENP and is not a part of the ENP as such. The ENP has been launched in 2003 and developed throughout 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. It is based on the values of democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights. Under the revised ENP, stabilization of the region, in political, economic, and security related terms, will be at the heart of the new policy. Moreover, the revised ENP puts a strong emphasis on two principles: the implementation of a differentiated approach to our Neighbours, to respect the different aspirations of our partners and to better answer EU interests and the interests of our partners; and an increased ownership by partner countries and Member States. Justice and Home Affairs. Now called the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Policy areas include immigration, common European Asylum System, Borders and visas, organized crime and human trafficking, terrorism, police, citizenship, justice, gender equality, discrimination, cross-border judicial cooperation. It is a complex mix of intergovernmental and supranational.