The European Union Contemporary World
The European Union Since the end of WWII and the Cold War, European countries have gradually developed a feeling of collective identity and shared interests.
Marshall Plan • American aid program to Europe after WWII • 1948-1952 • Aim to rebuild devastated areas, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous again and (arguably) to stop the spread of Soviet Communism.
Creation of the ECSC • European Coal & Steel Community (1952) • First organization to be based on the ideas of supranationalism • Symbolic importance “Make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible” -Common market for coal and steel to neutralize competition.
Founding of the EEC • European Economic Community (1958) • Development of a common market for agricultural & industrial products Huge increase in trade
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) • 1962 • Promotes European agricultural promotion through subsidies and protection from foreign competition • Has been criticized
Expansions • 1st expansion (1973): Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom • 2nd expansion (1981): Greece • 3rd expansion (1986): Spain & Portugal
Maastrict Treaty • Founding of the European Union (1993) • Political & economic union of the EEC • Broader powers in foreign policy, security, justice & internal affairs • Free circulation of goods, services, money and people (European community) • European citizens • Vote in elections for the European Parliament • Common currency (launched in 1999)
Major Expansion/The Future? *Major expansion (2004): Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuanian, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia & Romania (2007). *Candidates? Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina & Kosovo. -Debated *Constitution?
Criteria to Join • Stable democracy • Respect for human rights and the law • Functioning market economy (supply & demand) • Acceptance of obligations of membership (EU law)
Facts • Population: Close to 500 million! • Members: 28 • Official languages: 24
European Parliament *President: Martin Schulz (since 2012) *German *Function islegislative, think laws (similar to lower house) *The “approvers”
EU Parliament • Has to approve decisions made by the heads of government • Represents the people of the EU • Only organ where employees can be directly elected by EU citizens • Most important task is legislation • Overall supervision and control of the EU duties • Can set up investigations and keeps people in check • Work on various topics, different commissions.
European Council *President: Herman Van Rompuy (since 2009) *Belgian *The “directors”
European Council • Heads of governments & the President of the European Commission • Power of national decision makers • Presidency rotates every 6 months between the members • Meet 4 times a year (summits) • At meetings leaders try and agree on a line of action or proclaim guidelines and objectives, rather than every day legislatures procedures. • Fierce negotiations, horse trading • Countries often judge their leaders based on benefits they bring to the country
European Commission *President: Jose Manuel Barroso (since 2004) *Portuguese *They are “the government” of the EU *”The people who take action” *Function is executive
European Commission • Composed of 28 commissioners • Each country proposes their commissioner for different departments • Commissioners must be approved by the Parliament • Only organ that can propose new laws, that can be heard, drafted, modified accepted or refused by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
Council of Ministers • Heads of departments in national governments e.g. Ministers of Justice, Ministers of Agriculture etc. • National interests often take center stage • Varies depending on the issue • The “advisors” • Function is legislative (think laws) • Similar to upper house
Official Languages Important documents are translated into EACH of these languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Itailan, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish.