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)
Established 1 Nov 1993, on entry into force of T-XT9113 - Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), signed 7 Feb 1992. Received full legal personality, 2 Oct 1997, on signature of T-XT9706 - Treaty of Amsterdam, following agreement among the Heads of State and Government meeting as the E-XE7976 - European Council, 16-17 Jun 1997, Amsterdam (Netherlands). The Amsterdam treaty allows the Union to negotiate as one entity. Means of operation of the Union were revised by the T-XT0128 - 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 T-XT2073 - 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:
- T-XT5133 - Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (Treaty of Paris);
- Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (Treaty of Rome); and
- T-XT5766 - Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Treaty of Rome).
These treaties set up what was collectively referred to as H-XF0662 - European Communities (EC):
- H-XD0663 - European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which ceased to exist in Jul 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 H-XD0665 - European Community, which ceased to exist, 1 Dec 2009, when Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, original Treaty of Rome amended to become T-XT5765 - Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and European Union replaced the Community;
- H-XD0666 - 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; U-XF2687 - 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 Jun 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 T-XT8633 - Single European Act (SEA), signed Feb 1986 and ratified by member parliaments by 31 Mar 1987, came into force on 1 Jul 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.
T-XT1216 - 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.
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The Union is based on the rule of law and founded on treaties that have been approved voluntarily and democratically by all EU countries. Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the States. The EU's 7 main institions are:
E-XE7976 - European Council, consisting of Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States and headed by President, sets EU's overall political direction, but has no powers to pass laws.
Three institutions involved in EU legislation produce through the "Ordinary Legislative Procedure" policies and laws that apply throughout the EU:
- F-XF0667 - European Parliament (EP), which represents EU citizens and is directly elected by them;
- E-XE3068 - Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries and with rotating Presidency;
- E-XE2442 - European Commission (EC), which represents the interests of the EU as a whole.
Three other key institutions:
- F-XF0668 - Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), upholds the rule of European law;
- F-XF8309 - European Court of Auditors, which checks financing of the EU's activities.
- E-XF2923 - European Central Bank (ECB), which is responsible for European monetary policy.
Advisory bodies that must be consulted when proposed legislation involves their area of interest:
- E-XE0669 - European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), representing civil society groups;
- E-XE3088 - Committee of the Regions (COR), which represents local and regional governments.
Other institutions that play specialized roles:
- E-XJ5453 - European External Action Service (EEAS), which assists the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;
- F-XF0670 - European Investment Bank (EIB), which finances EU investment projects and helps small businesses through the F-XF3054 - European Investment Fund (EIF);
- E-XK1266 - European Ombudsman, who investigates complaints about maladministration by EU institutions and bodies;
- European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), who safeguards the privacy of people's personal data.
- Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which helps to manage threats to EU institutions' computer systems;
- E-XM1289 - European School of Administration (EUSA), which provides training in specific areas for members of EU staff;
- European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), which sets competitive examinations for recruiting staff to work in all EU institution;
- E-XE9782 - Publications Office of the European Union (Publications Office), which publishes information about the EU.
EU agencies are distinct from EU institutions, as they have separate legal entities set up to perform specific tasks under EU law. Separated into 5 categories:
'Decentralized Agencies' - contribute to the implementation of EU policies and support cooperation between the EU and national governments. Set up for an indefinite period and located across the EU:
- E-XJ2738 - Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER);
- E-XM2741 - Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC);
- E-XE2347 - Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO);
- D-XD5516 - European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA);
- E-XM2692 - Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency;
- E-XM4608 - European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA);
- J-XJ8472 - European Asylum Support Office (EASO);
- D-XJ7382 - European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA);
- E-XJ2856 - European Banking Authority (EBA);
- E-XJ3125 - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC);
- E-XE5357 - European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training;
- D-XM3659 - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA);
- F-XF2419 - European Environment Agency (EEA);
- E-XJ1778 - European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA);
- F-XF6211 - European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);
- F-XF9170 - European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound);
- E-XM3145 - European GNSS Agency;
- E-XJ0071 - European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE);
- E-XJ4312 - European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA);
- E-XE4411 - European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA);
- E-XE2027 - European Medicines Agency (EMA);
- E-XF2543 - European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA);
- F-XJ1550 - European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA);
- F-XF6502 - European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL);
- E-XE1915 - European Police Office (Europol);
- E-XM4609 - European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) (in preparation);
- F-XM2732 - European Union Agency for Railways;
- E-XJ2854 - European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA);
- F-XF1462 - European Training Foundation (ETF);
- D-XM3280 - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA);
- E-XE2565 - European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO);
- F-XM4610 - Single Resolution Board (SRB);
- F-XF6206 - Eurojust;
- E-XE2993 - Centre de traduction des organes de l'Union européenne (CdT).
'Agencies under Common Security and Defence Policy' - set up to carry out very specific technical, scientific and management tasks:
- F-XF7202 - European Defence Agency (EDA);
- E-XE1617 - European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS);
- E-XE4478 - European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen).
'Executive Agencies' - set up for a limited period to manage specific tasks related to EU programmes:
- Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA);
- Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME);
- European Research Council Executive Agency (ERC Executive Agency);
- Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA);
- Research Executive Agency (REA);
- Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).
'EURATOM Agencies and Bodies' - support the aims of T-XT5766 - Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Treaty of Rome) - EURATOM:
- F-XF1965 - Euratom Supply Agency (ESA);
- E-XM5102 - European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (Fusion for Energy).
'Other Organizations' - include bodies set up as part of EU programmes and public-private partnerships:
- E-XM2083 - European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT);
- Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking;
- Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking;
- ECSEL Joint Undertaking;
- Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking;
- F-XM5100 - Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) 2 Joint Undertaking;
- SESAR Joint Joint Undertaking;
- Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking.
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