Europe Today The European Union & The United Kingdom
Western Europe Today • In Western Europe today, all national leaders share their power with elected law makers • Citizens take part in government by voting and through membership in a variety of political parties. • Many countries of Western Europe belong to a group called the European Union (EU)
The European Union • The European Union is a political and economic grouping of countries in Western Europe • The main purpose of the EU is to encouragetrade • This means that goods, services and people flow freely among the member nations
EU Economies • Traditionally, each European nation has had its own currency, or system of money • To make trade simpler, many EU countries are using the euro, the currency of the EU • Members have also done away with tariffs on the goods they trade with one another • A tariff is a duty or fee that must be payed on imported or exported goods, making them more expensive
EU – Benefits of membership • Economic equality- EU members are sharing their wealth. Poorer countries, such as Ireland receive money to help them build businesses. • Higher standard of living- a persons quality of life based on the availability of goods and services (food, housing, schools, healthcare…etc) • Raised environmental standards- Recycling centers for paper, glass and plastics, waste clean up, assistance in poorer countries…etc.
EU – Benefits of membership • Job Training- Citizens of a member nation may work in any part of the EU. • Court of Human Rights- protects the rights of all its citizens in whichever member country the live.
Austria Belgium Bulgaria 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 Current European Union Members
EU Member Spotlight:The United Kingdom • The United Kingdom (U.K.) is a small island nation of Western Europe • Four different political regions make up the U.K. • England • Scotland • Wales • Northern Ireland • London, located on Southeastern England is the capital of the U.K.
U.K. Government • The government of the U.K. is a constitutional monarchy • The British monarch (Queen) is a symbol of power rather than an actual ruler • The power to govern belongs to parliament
U.K. Government • The British parliament is made up of two parts: The House of Lords and The House of Commons. (similar to the Senate and House of Representatives in U.S. Congress) • The Prime Minister leads the government and is the head of state (similar to the U.S President)
U.K. Culture • With a long history as an imperial power, the U.K. has been exporting it’s culture for hundreds of years • Former British colonies like India and Canada have modeled their governments on the British parliamentary system • British culture has also set trends in sports, music and literature
The Beatles The Rolling Stones Elton John Ozzy Osbourne Sting Dido British music has influenced the world for many years, all the way through modern times U.K. Culture: Music
The best known cultural export of the United Kingdom, aside from the English Language itself, may be literature William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet) Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) U.K. Culture: Literature
U.K. Economy • The U.K. is an important trading and financial center • Many British citizens make their living in mining and manufacturing • The U.K. has plenty of coal, natural gas and oil, but it has few other natural resources • The nation imports many raw materials used in manufacturing • It also imports food, because the farms of the U.K. produce only enough to feed about two-thirds of its large population
Review • What is the purpose of the European Union? • What form of currency is used by most countries in the EU? • What form of government does the United Kingdom currently have? • Who is the head of state in the United Kingdom?