European Union (EU)
Union européenne (UE)
Unión Europea (UE)
Europäische Union (EU)
União Européia (UE)
Unione Europea (UE)
Europese Unie (EU)
Europeiska Unionen (EU)
Europaeiske Union (EU)
Euroopan Unioni (EU)
Evropaiki Enosi (EE)
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Established 1 Nov 1993, on entry into force of Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), signed 7 Feb 1992. Received full legal personality, 2 Oct 1997, on signature of Treaty of Amsterdam, following agreement among the Heads of State and Government meeting as the European Council, 16-17 June 1997, Amsterdam (Netherlands). The Amsterdam treaty allows the Union to negotiate as one entity. Means of operation of the Union were revised by the Nice Treaty, signed 26 Feb 2001, Nice, which came into effect 1 Feb 2003. Further revisions, especially regarding enlargement, were formalized in the Treaty of Accession, also known as Treaty of Athens, signed 16 Apr 2003, Athens, which entered into force with the accession of 10 new member states on 1 May 2004. Further modified by Treaty of Lisbon, signed Dec 2007, which added further responsibilities to the Union previously held by the European Communities.
The European Union is the culmination of the process of integration initiated by the European Community Treaties:
• Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (Treaty of Rome); and
These treaties set up what was collectively referred to as European Communities (EC):
• European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which ceased to exist in July 2002, following expiration of the Paris Treaty, leaving the European Community responsible for the steel sector;
• 'European Economic Community (EEC)', known since the Maastricht Treaty as European Community, which ceased to exist, 1 Dec 2009, when Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, original Treaty of Rome amended to become Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and European Union replaced the Community;
• European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which ceased to exist as a community, 1 Dec 2009, when Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, and European Commission took over its responsabilities.
The preamble to the EEC Treaty speaks of 'an ever closer union'. Meeting on 29 Oct 1972, Paris (France), the Heads of State and Government declared that the aim should be to establish the European Union by 1980. Several initiatives, proposals and projects existed prior to and after this meeting, among which may be quoted: a proposed European Defence Community (EDC), 1952-1954; an abandoned project of political union contained in Fouchet plans, 1961-1962; Leo Tindemans' report, 1975; the 'Three Wise Men' report, 1979; Crocodile Club activities 1980 to 1984; Genscher-Colombo project of the European Act. Meanwhile, the European Council passed a series of resolutions on what was to become the European Union: 1973, Copenhagen (Denmark); Dec 1974, Paris; Dec 1978, Brussels (Belgium). In June 1983, Stuttgart (Germany FR), the Heads of State and Government, in the Solemn Declaration on the European Union, reaffirmed their intention of continuing to work towards it. The European Parliament adopted, 14 Feb 1984, the Treaty establishing the European Union; a resolution of Feb 1989 called for cooperation between the Community and national institutions to facilitate ratification of the Treaty.
The Single European Act (SEA), signed Feb 1986 and ratified by member parliaments by 31 Mar 1987, came into force on 1 July 1987. It amended the EEC Treaty and paved the way for completing the single market.
The Maastricht Treaty aimed to prepare for a European Monetary Union and introduce elements of a political union (citizenship, common foreign and internal affairs policy). Apart from establishing the European Union, it introduced the co-decision procedure, giving Parliament more say in union decision-making.
Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG) is an intergovernmental treaty, signed 2012 by all EU Member States except Czech Rep and UK. It is not an EU treaty but an intergovernmental treaty, but with with the intention to bring it into EU law.
The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
According to Article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon: (1) promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples; (2) offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime; (3) establish an internal market; work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment; promote scientific and technological advance; combat social exclusion and discrimination, and promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child; promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States; respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced; (4) establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro; (5) in its relations with the wider world, uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens; contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and faire trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.Available with paid subscription only.
Among its greatest achievements, the European Union lists: peace, stability and prosperity, raised living standards and the single European currency - the euro; creation of the Schengen Area; the single or 'internal' market as the main economic engine. The Union is active in various topics for which organizations, funds, institutions and/or programmes are created, usually functioning within one of the main EU institutions:
• Audiovisual and media;
• Climate action;
• Customs - EU Customs Union;
• Development and Cooperation;
• Digital economy and society;
• Economic and monetary affairs - European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU);
• Education, training and youth;
• Employment and social affairs;
• Energy - Energy Union planned;
• EU citizenship;
• Food safety;
• Foreign and security policy;
• Fraud prevention;
• Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection;
• Human rights - Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
• Institutional affairs;
• Justice and Home Affairs;
• Maritime affairs and fisheries;
• Regional policy;
• Research and innovation - towards a European Research Area;
• Single market;
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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations
Relations with 20 inter-governmental organizations.
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PublicationsAvailable with paid subscription only.
Members in 28 countries
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