The European Union

The European Union

HISTORY
After WWII the economies of the most of European countries were ruined and there was a danger of Soviet Union political influence – communism was spreading through the eastern countries.
To face these challenges the western countries had to cooperate and organize themselves.

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Jean Monnet (French statesman) and Robert Schuman (French foreign minister) persuaded 6 wartime enemies (France, West Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg), to come together and discus how the terrible events could be prevented.

1951 – The Treaty of Paris

· The Coal and Steel community was established to connect heavy industries of 6 nations.
· Schuman:  “If you do not have full control over energy and steel, you cannot declare war
· The main target was to sustain peace
· It was set up to establish single common market for coal, steel and iron ore to ensure security of supply, improve production…
1957 – The Treaty of Rome
· European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) were established
· It was established to create common market and coordinate development of nuclear energy industries of member states
1967 – ESCS, EEC and EURATOM were combined and they came into being as the European Community – 6 members
1973 ­­– The first enlargement process – Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom were accepted
1981 – Greece joined in
1986 – Spain and Portugal joined in
1992The Maastricht Treaty
· EU was officially founded
· Two main targets:
o European citizenship – every citizen can travel and work in the Union, can vote in European elections
o Shared prosperity – EU wants to create wealth and share it with poor regions – in order to achieve it they have to give more power to EU parliament
1995 – Austria, Finland and Sweden joined in
1st January 1999 – the Euro was launched to make it easy to travel, trade and work in another member state

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· EU has its own flag - a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background, the stars represents 12 original countries
· It has its own anthemOde to the Joy by Beethoven
· Europe Day is celebrated on 9 May

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ADVANTAGES
· Joining the EU brings a lot trade simplifications, it simplifies traveling within the EU…
 
COPENHAGEN CRITERIA
· Set of political and economic conditions for entering EU
· Criteria were established in Copenhagen in 1993 at the European Council
· It says what country has to achieve to become a member (the stability of institution, democratic law, protection of human rights and minorities…)

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INSTITUTIONS
· The European Council
o the supreme political body, establishes the goals of the Union
o heads of states meet at least twice a year
o each member state holds the presidency for 6 months
· The Council of EU
o The supreme law making body
o Called Council of Ministers
o They discuss European law, budget, foreign affairs, agriculture, industry…
· The European Commission
o The executive body
o 20 members – they don’t depend on national governments
o Proposes European laws and ensures their application
· The European Parliament
o Members are elected every 5 years
o Aren’t group by nationality, but by political party
o Meet in Strasbourg for a monthly session and in Brussels for committee meetings
o Helps to adopt European laws and budget
· The European Court of Justice
o Supreme court of EU
o 15 judges
o It settles conflicts in EU
o Ensures that the treaties are respected and applied
 
OUR COUNTRY
· In 1996 – we applied for the entry to the EU and we were recommended by the European Commission to be accepted.

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