European Union Brief Info

Topics: European Union, European Parliament, Treaty of Lisbon Pages: 2 (759 words) Published: March 21, 2013
The European Union

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union of 7 member states which are located primarily in Europe. Its capital is Brussels. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community, formed by the Inner Six countries, which were France, Italy, West Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands, in 1951 and 1958 respectively. In the intervening years the community and its successors have grown size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. In 1986, in addition to the accession of Spain and Portugal, a flag was adopted. The flag of Europe consists of a circle of 12 golden stars on an azure background. It is often used to indicate Eurozone countries. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the Europe Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. The EU has developed a single market through a standardized system of laws which apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes 22 EU and 4 non-EU states) passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people. Goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. A monetary union, the Eurozone, was established in 1999 and is composed of 17 member states. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy the EU has developed a role in external relations and defense....
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