Definition of 'European Union - EU'
A group of European countries that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official currency, the euro. The EU's goal is to create a barrier-free trade zone and to enhance economic wealth by creating more efficiency within its marketplace.
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(a) Physical barriers
All border controls within the EU on goods have been abolished, together with customs controls on people, but the police still carry out random spot checks as part of the fight against crime and drugs.
any product legally manufactured and sold in one member state must be allowed to be placed on the market in all others. Where services are concerned, EU countries mutually recognise or coordinate their national rules allowing people to practise professions such as law, medicine, tourism, banking or insurance. (c) Tax barriers
Tax barriers have been reduced by partially aligning national VAT rates, which must be agreed by the EU member states
(d) Public contracts
Regardless of who awards them, public contracts in any EU country are now open to bidders from anywhere in the EU.
Ten ways in which Europeans have benefited from the Single Market
1. Increased prosperity: over the last 15 years the Single Market has increased the EU's prosperity by 2.15% of GDP. In 2006 alone this meant an overall increase of EUR 240 billion - or EUR 518 for every EU citizen - compared to a situation without the Single Market. 2. More jobs: 2.75 million extra jobs have been created over the period 1992-2006 as a result of the Single Market. 3. Easier to travel and shop: EU citizens can travel across most of the EU without carrying a passport and without being stopped for checks at borders. Shoppers have full consumer rights when shopping outside their country and there are no limits on what they can buy and...
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