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The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
. The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million.
An internal single market
An internal single market
has been established through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where the states have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market;
enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...
,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
,
fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and the oceans (about 90%). About 500 million pe ...
and
regional development Regional development is a broad term but can be seen as a general effort to reduce regional disparities by supporting (employment and wealth-generating) economic activities in regions. In the past, regional development policy tended to try to achiev ...
. Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the
Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for internationa ...

Schengen Area
.
A monetary union
A monetary union
was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of
19 member states
19 member states
which use the
euro currency
euro currency
. The EU has often been described as a ''
sui generis ''Sui generis'' ( , ) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
'' political entity (without precedent or comparison) with the characteristics of either a federation or confederation. The union and
EU citizenship Citizenship of the European Union is afforded to all citizens of member state of the European Union, European Union member states. It was formally created with the adoption of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, at the same time as the creation of the Eu ...
were established when the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
(ECSC) and the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
(EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957
Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signed ...
. The original member states of what came to be known as the
European Communities The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, ...
were the
Inner Six The Inner Six, or simply "the Six", were the six founding member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovern ...
: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 19 ...
. The communities and their successors have grown in size by
the accession of 21 new member states
the accession of 21 new member states
and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also ...
, came into force in 2009. In 2020, the United Kingdom became the only member state to
leave the EU
leave the EU
. Before this, four territories of member states had
left the EU Left may refer to: Music * Left (Hope of the States album), ''Left'' (Hope of the States album), 2006 * Left (Monkey House album), ''Left'' (Monkey House album), 2016 * Left (Sharlok Poems album), ''Left'' (Sharlok Poems album) Direction * Left ...
or its forerunners. Containing some 5.8 per cent of the
world population In demographics Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is oft ...

world population
in 2020, the EU had generated a nominal
gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the ...
(GDP) of around trillion in 2021, constituting approximately 18 per cent of global
nominal GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is ...
. Additionally, all EU countries have a very high
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
according to the
United Nations Development Program The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (french: Programme des Nations unies pour le développement, PNUD) is the global development network of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tha ...
me. In 2012, the EU was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's Will and testament, will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during t ...
. Through the
Common Foreign and Security Policy The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It ...
, the union has developed a role in external relations and
defence Defense or defence may refer to: Tactical, martial, and political acts or groups * Defense (military) A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is ty ...
. It maintains permanent
diplomatic missions A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
throughout the world and represents itself at the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
, the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
, the G7 and the
G20 The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located ...

G20
. Due to its global influence, the European Union has been described by some scholars as an
emerging superpower A potential superpower is a state (polity), state or a political and economic entity that is speculated to be—or to have the potential to soon become—a superpower. Currently, only the United States fulfills the criteria to be considered a ...
.


History


Background

During the centuries that followed the
fall of Rome The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roma ...
in 476, several European states viewed themselves as ''
translatio imperii ''Translatio imperii'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...

translatio imperii
'' ("transfer of rule") of the defunct
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
: the
Frankish Empire Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most popu ...

Frankish Empire
(481–843) and the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
(962–1806) were thereby attempts to resurrect . This political philosophy of a supra-national rule over the continent, similar to the example of the ancient Roman Empire, resulted in the early Middle Ages in the concept of a ''
renovatio imperii ''Renovatio imperii Romanorum'' ("renewal of the empire of the Romans") was a formula declaring an intention to restore or revive the Roman Empire. The formula (and variations) was used by several emperors of the Carolingian The Carolingian dy ...
'' ("restoration of the empire"), either in the forms of the ''Reichsidee'' ("imperial idea") or the religiously inspired ''Imperium Christianum'' ("christian empire"). Medieval
Christendom Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian state A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the ...
and the political power of the
Papacy The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...
have been cited as conducive to European integration and unity. In the eastern parts of the continent, the
Russian Tsardom The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, ''Russkoye tsarstvo''; later changed to: , ''Rossiyskoye tsarstvo''), also called the Tsardom of Muscovy, was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of th ...
, and ultimately the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...
(1547–1917), declared Moscow to be
Third Rome The continuation, succession and revival of the Roman Empire is a running theme of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean region. It reflects the lasting memories of power and prestige associated with the Roman Empire itself. Several polit ...
and inheritor of the after the
fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Cap ...
in 1453. The gap between
Greek East and Latin West Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
had already been widened by the political scission of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the
Great Schism of 1054 Great may refer to: Descriptions or measurements * Great, a relative measurement in physical space, see Size * Greatness, being divine, majestic, superior, majestic, or transcendent People with the name * "The Great", a historical suffix to people ...
, and would be eventually widened again by the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
(1945–1991) before the enlargement of the European Union towards Eastern Europe since 2004 onward. Pan-European political thought truly emerged during the 19th century, inspired by the liberal ideas of the and
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
s after the demise of Napoléon's Empire (1804–1815). In the decades following the outcomes of the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
, ideals of European unity flourished across the continent, especially in the writings of (1799–1882) or
Giuseppe Mazzini Giuseppe Mazzini (, , ; 22 June 1805 – 10 March 1872) was an Italian politician, journalist, activist for the unification of Italy and spearhead of the Italian revolutionary movement. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified ...

Giuseppe Mazzini
(1805–1872). The term ''
United States of Europe The United States of Europe (USE), the Federal States of Europe (FSE), the European State, the European Superstate, the European Federation and Federal Europe are similar hypothetical scenarios of a single sovereign state in Europe (hence supe ...
'' (french: États-Unis d'Europe) was used at that time by
Victor Hugo Victor-Marie Hugo (; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and dramatist of the Romantic movement Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellect ...

Victor Hugo
(1802–1885) during a speech at the
International Peace Congress International Peace Congress, or International Congress of the Friends of Peace, was the name of a series of international meetings of representatives from peace societies from throughout the world held in various places in Europe Europe is a ...
held in Paris in 1849: During the
interwar period In the history of the 20th century, the Interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months and 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as t ...
, the consciousness that national markets in Europe were interdependent though confrontational, along with the observation of a larger and growing US market on the other side of the ocean, nourished the urge for the economic integration of the continent. In 1920, advocating the creation of a European
economic union An economic union is a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and Non-tariff barriers to trade, others) are re ...
, British economist
John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in ma ...

John Maynard Keynes
wrote that "a Free Trade Union should be established ... to impose no protectionist tariffs whatever against the produce of other members of the Union." During the same decade,
Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coudenhove-Kalergi (16 November 1894 – 27 July 1972) was an Austrian-Japanese politician, philosopher and Count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social cla ...
, one of the first to imagine a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. His ideas influenced his contemporaries, among whom was then-
Prime Minister of France The prime minister of France (french: link=no, Premier ministre français), officially the prime minister of the French Republic, is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Exe ...
Aristide Briand Aristide Pierre Henri Briand (; 28 March 18627 March 1932) was a French statesman who served eleven terms as Prime Minister of France during the French Third Republic. He is mainly remembered for his focus on international issues and reconciliatio ...

Aristide Briand
. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
, the precursor of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
. In a radio address in March 1943, with war still raging, Britain's leader Sir
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, Winston Churchill in the Second World War, during the Second World War, ...

Winston Churchill
spoke warmly of "restoring the true greatness of Europe" once victory had been achieved, and mused on the post-war creation of a "Council of Europe" which would bring the European nations together to build peace.


Preliminary (19451957)

After World War II,
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integration has primarily ...
was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated parts of the continent. In a speech delivered on 19 September 1946 at the
University of Zürich The University of Zurich (UZH, german: Universität Zürich), located in the city of Zürich , neighboring_municipalities = Adliswil, Dübendorf, Fällanden, Kilchberg, Zurich, Kilchberg, Maur, Switzerland, Maur, Oberengstringen, Opfikon, ...
, Switzerland,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, Winston Churchill in the Second World War, during the Second World War, ...

Winston Churchill
went further and advocated the emergence of a
United States of Europe The United States of Europe (USE), the Federal States of Europe (FSE), the European State, the European Superstate, the European Federation and Federal Europe are similar hypothetical scenarios of a single sovereign state in Europe (hence supe ...
. The 1948 Hague Congress was a pivotal moment in European federal history, as it led to the creation of the
European Movement International The European Movement International is a lobbying In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distri ...
and of the
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a postgraduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges, Belgium, and a smaller campus in Warsaw, Poland. The College of Europe in Bruges was founded in 1949 by leading h ...

College of Europe
, where Europe's future leaders would live and study together. It also led directly to the founding of the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
in 1949, the first great effort to bring the nations of Europe together, initially ten of them. The council focused primarily on values—human rights and democracy—rather than on economic or trade issues, and was always envisaged as a forum where sovereign governments could choose to work together, with no supra-national authority. It raised great hopes of further European integration, and there were fevered debates in the two years that followed as to how this could be achieved. But in 1952, disappointed at what they saw as the lack of progress within the Council of Europe, six nations decided to go further and created the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
, which was declared to be "a first step in the federation of Europe". This community helped to economically integrate and coordinate the large number of
Marshall Plan The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The United States transferred over $12 billion (equivalent to $ billion in ) in economic rec ...

Marshall Plan
funds from the United States. European leaders
Alcide De Gasperi Alcide Amedeo Francesco De Gasperi (; 3 April 1881 – 19 August 1954) was an Italian statesman who founded the Christian Democracy party and served as Prime Minister of Italy in eight successive coalition governments from 1945 to 1953. De Gaspe ...

Alcide De Gasperi
from Italy,
Jean Monnet Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet (; 9 November 1888 – 16 March 1979) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, ...

Jean Monnet
and
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
from France, and
Paul-Henri Spaak Paul-Henri Charles Spaak (25 January 1899 – 31 July 1972) was an influential Belgian Socialist politician, diplomat and statesman. Along with Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxe ...
from Belgium understood that coal and steel were the two industries essential for waging war, and believed that by tying their national industries together, future war between their nations became much less likely. These men and others are officially credited as the
founding fathers of the European Union The founding fathers of the European Union are 11 men officially recognised as major contributors to European unity and the development of what is now the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member ...
.


Treaty of Rome (19571992)

In 1957, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany signed the
Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signed ...
, which created the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
(EEC) and established a
customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and Non-tariff barriers to tr ...
. They also signed another pact creating the
European Atomic Energy Community The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. ...

European Atomic Energy Community
(Euratom) for co-operation in developing
nuclear energy Nuclear energy may refer to: *Nuclear power, the use of sustained nuclear fission or nuclear fusion to generate heat and electricity *Nuclear binding energy, the energy required to split a nucleus of an atom *Nuclear potential energy, the potential ...

nuclear energy
. Both treaties came into force in 1958. The EEC and Euratom were created separately from the ECSC and they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly. The EEC was headed by
Walter Hallstein Walter Hallstein (17 November 1901 – 29 March 1982) was a German academic, diplomat and statesman who was the first President of the Commission of the European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regiona ...
(
Hallstein Commission The Hallstein Commission is the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Treaties of th ...
) and Euratom was headed by
Louis Armand Louis Armand (17 January 1905 – 30 August 1971) was a French engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex systems, arc ...

Louis Armand
(
Armand CommissionThe Armand Commission was the first Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), between 1958 and 1959. Its president was Louis Armand of France. There would be two further Commissions before the institutions of Euratom were Merger ...
) and then Étienne Hirsch. Euratom was to integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union among members. During the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France seeking to limit supranational power. Nevertheless, in 1965 an agreement was reached and on 1 July 1967 the
Merger Treaty The Merger Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Brussels, was a Treaties of the European Union, European treaty which unified the Executive (government), executive Institutions of the European Union, institutions of the European European Coal and Ste ...
created a single set of institutions for the three communities, which were collectively referred to as the ''
European Communities The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, ...
''. Jean Rey presided over the first merged commission (
Rey Commission Rey''Term: 1967-1970''  ''Party: LDR'' The Rey Commission is the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implement ...
). In 1973, the communities were enlarged to include Denmark (including
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, which later left the Communities in 1985, following a dispute over fishing rights), Ireland, and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
. Norway had negotiated to join at the same time, but Norwegian voters rejected membership in a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
. In 1979, the first direct elections to the European Parliament were held. Greece joined in 1981, Portugal and Spain following in 1986. In 1985, the
Schengen Agreement The Schengen Agreement ( , ) is a treaty which led to the creation of Europe's Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border ...
paved the way for the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states and some non-member states. In 1986, the began to be used by the EEC and the
Single European Act The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economi ...
was signed. In 1990, after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the former
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
became part of the communities as part of a reunified Germany.


Maastricht Treaty (19922007)

The European Union was formally established when the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
—whose main architects were
Helmut Kohl Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (; 3 April 1930 – 16 June 2017) was Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschlan ...

Helmut Kohl
and
François Mitterrand François Marie Adrien Maurice Mitterrand (26 October 19168 January 1996) was a French statesman who served as President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la Républiqu ...
—came into force on 1 November 1993. The treaty also gave the name
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Community
to the EEC, even if it was referred as such before the treaty. With further enlargement planned to include the former
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state that is administered and governed by a communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Uni ...
s of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
and
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
, the Copenhagen criteria for candidate members to join the EU were agreed upon in June 1993. The expansion of the EU introduced a new level of complexity and discord. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU. In 2002, euro banknotes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. Since then, the
eurozone The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro (euro sign, €) as their primary currency and sole legal tender. T ...

eurozone
has increased to encompass 19 countries. The euro currency became the second-largest reserve currency in the world. In 2004, the EU saw its biggest enlargement to date when Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the union.


Lisbon Treaty (2007present)

In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became EU members. Later that year, Slovenia adopted the euro, followed by Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014, and Lithuania in 2015. On 1 December 2009, the
Lisbon Treaty The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, als ...
entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. In particular, it changed the legal structure of the European Union, merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with a
legal personality In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
, created a permanent
president of the European Council The president of the European Council is the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council, as well as a principal representative of the European Union (EU) on the world stage. This Institutions of the European Union ...
, the first of which was
Herman Van Rompuy Herman Achille, Count Van Rompuy ( nl, Herman Achille, Graaf Van Rompuy, ; born 31 October 1947) is a Belgian politician, who served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 2008 to 2009 and then as the first permanent President of the European Co ...
, and strengthened the position of the
high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) is the chief co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the European Union (EU). The position is currently held by ...
. In 2012, the EU received the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's Will and testament, will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during t ...
for having "contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe." In 2013,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
became the 28th EU member. From the beginning of the 2010s, the cohesion of the European Union has been tested by several issues, including a debt crisis in some of the Eurozone countries, increasing migration from Africa and Asia, and the . A referendum in the UK on its membership of the European Union was held in 2016, with 51.9 per cent of participants voting to leave. The UK formally notified the European Council of its decision to leave on 29 March 2017, initiating the formal withdrawal procedure for leaving the EU; following extensions to the process, the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, though most areas of EU law continued to apply to the UK for a transition period which lasted until 23:00 GMT on 31 December 2020.


Demographics


Population

, the population of the European Union was about 447 million people (5.8 per cent of the world population). In 2015, 5.1million children were born in the EU-28 corresponding to a birth rate of 10 per 1,000, which is 8 births below the world average. For comparison, the EU-28 birth rate had stood at 10.6 in 2000, 12.8 in 1985 and 16.3 in 1970. Its population growth rate was positive at an estimated 0.23 per cent in 2016. In 2010, 47.3million people who lived in the EU were born outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4 per cent of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4million (6.3 per cent) were born outside the EU and 16.0million (3.2 per cent) were born in another EU member state. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4million), France (5.1million), the United Kingdom (4.7million), Spain (4.1million), Italy (3.2million), and the Netherlands (1.4million). In 2017, approximately 825,000 people acquired
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
of a member state of the European Union. The largest groups were nationals of Morocco, Albania, India, Turkey and Pakistan. 2.4million
immigrants Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective ident ...
from non-EU countries entered the EU in 2017.


Urbanisation

The EU contains about 40 urban areas with populations of over 1million. With a population of over 13 million,
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
is the largest metropolitan area and the only
megacity A megacity is a very large city, typically with a population of more than 10 million people. Precise definitions vary: the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in its 2018 "World Urbanization Prospects" report counted urban ...
in the EU. Paris is followed by
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
,
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...

Barcelona
,
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, the
Ruhr The Ruhr ( ; german: Ruhrgebiet ), also referred to as Ruhr area, Ruhr district, Ruhr region, or Ruhr valley, is a polycentric Polycentric is an English adjective, meaning "having more than one center," derived from the Greek words ''polús'' ( ...

Ruhr
,
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
, and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
, all with a metropolitan population of over 4million.https://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do The EU also has numerous
polycentric Polycentric is an English adjective, meaning "having more than one center," derived from the Greek words ''polús'' ("many") and ''kentrikós'' ("center"). Polycentricism (or polycentricity) is the abstract noun formed from polycentric. They may re ...
urbanised regions like
Rhine-Ruhr The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region (german: Metropolregion Rhein-Ruhr) is the largest metropolitan region in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital ci ...
(
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
,
Dortmund Dortmund (; Westphalian Westphalian may refer to: * The culture or people of the Westphalia region of Germany * Westphalian language, one of the major dialect groups of West Low German * Westphalian sovereignty, a concept in international relati ...

Dortmund
,
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, 199 ...

Düsseldorf
et al.),
Randstad The Randstad (; "Rim City") is a conurbation in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Po ...

Randstad
(
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
,
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2n ...

Rotterdam
,
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
,
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...

Utrecht
et al.),
Frankfurt Rhine-Main The Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, often simply referred to as Frankfurt Rhine-Main, Frankfurt Rhine-Main area, or Rhine-Main area ( German: ''Rhein-Main-Gebiet'' or ''Frankfurt/Rhein-Main'', abbreviated FRM) is the second-largest metropolitan re ...
(
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
,
Wiesbaden Wiesbaden () is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the state of Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a German states, state in Germany. Its ...

Wiesbaden
,
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
et al.), the
Flemish Diamond The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: ''Vlaamse Ruit'') is the Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Southern Dutch (). Flemis ...
(
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
,
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
,
Leuven Leuven (, ) or Louvain (, , ; german: link=no, Löwen ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivisio ...

Leuven
,
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
et al.) and Upper Silesian area (
Katowice Katowice ( , , ; german: Kattowitz) is the capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship Silesian Voivodeship, or Silesia Province ( pl, województwo śląskie ) is a voivodeship A voivodeship is the area administered by a voivode (Governor ...

Katowice
,
Ostrava Ostrava (; pl, Ostrawa; german: Ostrau ) is a city in the north-east of the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is ...

Ostrava
et al.).


Languages

The European Union has 24 official languages:
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
,
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
,
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
,
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
,
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
, ,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
,
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
, Latvian,
Lithuanian Lithuanian may refer to: * Lithuanians Lithuanians ( lt, lietuviai, singular ''lietuvis/lietuvė'') are a Balts, Baltic ethnic group. They are native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,561,300 people. Another million or more make up the Lith ...
,
Maltese Maltese may refer to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to Malta * Maltese alphabet * Maltese cuisine * Maltese culture * Maltese language, the Semitic language spoken by Maltese people * Maltese people, people from Malta or of Maltese ...
,
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
,
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Euro ...
,
Slovak Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia (''Slovenská republika'') * Slovaks, a Western Slavic ethnic group * Slovak language, an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages * Slovak, Arkans ...
,
Slovene Slovene or Slovenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Slovenia, a country in Central Europe * Slovene language, a South Slavic language mainly spoken in Slovenia * Slovenes, an ethno-linguistic group mainly living in Slovenia * Sla ...
,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, and
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
. Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every official language and the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
provides translation for documents and plenary sessions. Due to the high number of official languages, most of the institutions use only a handful of working languages. The European Commission conducts its internal business in three ''procedural languages'': English, French, and German Similarly, the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
uses French as the working language, while the
European Central Bank The European Central Bank (ECB) is the prime component of the Eurosystem The Eurosystem is the monetary authority In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financia ...

European Central Bank
conducts its business primarily in English. Even though
language policy Language policy is an interdisciplinary academic field. Some scholars such as Joshua A. Fishman and Ofelia García consider it as part of sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of socie ...
is the responsibility of member states, EU institutions promote multilingualism among its citizens.See Articles 165 and 166 (ex Articles 149 and 150) of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other ...
, o
eur-lex.europa.eu
/ref> In 2012, English was the most widely spoken language in the EU, being understood by 51 per cent of the EU population when counting both native and non-native speakers. However, following the UK's exit from the block in early 2020, the percentage of the EU population who spoke English as their native language fell from 13 per cent to 1 per cent. German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (18 per cent of the EU population), and the second most widely understood foreign language, followed by French (13 per cent of the EU population). In addition, both are official languages of several EU member states. More than half (56 per cent) of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. A total of twenty official languages of the EU belong to the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
, represented by the
Balto-Slavic The Balto-Slavic languages are a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It traditionally comprises the Baltic languages, Baltic and Slavic languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other ...

Balto-Slavic
,Slavic:
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
,
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
,
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
,
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
,
Slovak Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia (''Slovenská republika'') * Slovaks, a Western Slavic ethnic group * Slovak language, an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages * Slovak, Arkans ...
and
Slovene Slovene or Slovenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Slovenia, a country in Central Europe * Slovene language, a South Slavic language mainly spoken in Slovenia * Slovenes, an ethno-linguistic group mainly living in Slovenia * Sla ...
. Baltic: Latvian and
Lithuanian Lithuanian may refer to: * Lithuanians Lithuanians ( lt, lietuviai, singular ''lietuvis/lietuvė'') are a Balts, Baltic ethnic group. They are native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,561,300 people. Another million or more make up the Lith ...
.
the ,,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
,
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Euro ...
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
.
the
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
,
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
and
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
.
the Hellenic,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and the
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
branches. Only four languages, namely
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
,
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
,
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
(all three
Uralic The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Uralic languages with the most native speakers are Hungarian lang ...

Uralic
), and
Maltese Maltese may refer to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to Malta * Maltese alphabet * Maltese cuisine * Maltese culture * Maltese language, the Semitic language spoken by Maltese people * Maltese people, people from Malta or of Maltese ...
(
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
), are not Indo-European languages. The three official alphabets of the European Union (
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, and
modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...

modern Greek
) all derive from the Archaic Greek scripts.
Luxembourgish Luxembourgish ( ; also ''Luxemburgish'', ''Luxembourgian'', ''Letzebu(e)rgesch''; Luxembourgish: ) is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: ...
(in Luxembourg) and
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
(in Cyprus) are the only two national languages that are not official languages of the EU. On 26 February 2016, it was made public that Cyprus has asked to make Turkish an official EU language, in a "gesture" that could help solve the division of the country. Already in 2004, it was planned that Turkish would become an official language when Cyprus reunites. Besides the 24 official languages, there are about 150
regional In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography Image:Snow-cholera-map-1.jpg, upright=1.2, Original map by John Snow showing the Cluster (ep ...
and
minority language A minority language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between sel ...
s, spoken by up to 50 million people.
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
,
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
and
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
are not recognised official languages of the European Union but have official status in one member state (Spain): therefore, official translations of the treaties are made into them and citizens have the right to correspond with the institutions in these languages. The
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and internationa ...
ratified by most EU states provides general guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage. The
European Day of Languages The European Day of Languages is observed 26 September, as proclaimed by the Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE) (french: Conseil de l'Europe, CdE) is an international organization, international organisation founded in the wake of W ...
is held annually on 26 September and is aimed at encouraging language learning across Europe.


Religion

The EU has no formal connection to any religion. Article 17 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other ...
recognises the "status under national law of churches and religious associations" as well as that of "philosophical and non-confessional organisations". The preamble to the Maastricht Treaty, Treaty on European Union mentions the "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe"."Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union"
Discussion over the draft texts of the European Constitution and later the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also ...
included proposals to mention Christianity or a god, or both, in the preamble of the text, but the idea faced opposition and was dropped. Christians in the European Union are divided among members of Catholicism (both Latin Church, Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite), numerous Protestant denominations (Anglicans, Lutherans, and Reformed tradition, Reformed forming the bulk of this category), and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 2009, the EU had an estimated List of countries by Muslim population, Muslim population of 13 million, and an estimated Jewish population of over a million. The other world religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism are also represented in the EU population. According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2015 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union, accounting for 71.6 per cent of the EU population. Catholics are the largest Christian group, accounting for 45.3 per cent of the EU population, while Protestants make up 11.1 per cent, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox make up 9.6 per cent, and other Christians make up 5.6 per cent. Eurostat's Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2005 that 52 per cent of EU citizens believed in a god, 27 per cent in "some sort of spirit or life force", and 18 per cent had no form of belief. Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years. The countries where the fewest people reported a religious belief were Estonia (16 per cent) and the Czech Republic (19 per cent). The most religious countries were Malta (95 per cent, predominantly Catholic) as well as Cyprus and Romania (both predominantly Orthodox) each with about 90 per cent of citizens professing a belief in their respective god. Across the EU, belief was higher among women, older people, those with religious upbringing, those who left school at 15 or 16, and those "positioning themselves on the right of the political scale".


Member states

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Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
poly 261 28 273 39 279 59 284 61 286 66 271 97 275 105 275 116 284 122 308 111 320 83 308 75 310 71 302 60 305 54 297 46 298 36 290 32 291 16 282 16 277 22 280 28 275 33 270 32 264 26 Finland poly 260 29 259 38 252 37 252 42 248 41 244 54 238 64 238 72 235 77 237 83 226 83 223 100 227 106 230 111 227 115 229 121 223 127 220 141 229 160 227 163 231 173 238 171 238 168 242 164 250 164 254 135 261 130 262 117 252 115 257 93 270 83 271 66 279 59 273 39 Sweden poly 312 142 307 131 311 123 294 123 279 132 280 142 290 137 295 138 304 141 Estonia poly 310 164 319 155 318 148 313 142 295 140 298 153 288 149 282 142 277 161 295 158 Latvia poly 288 180 295 184 301 184 309 178 307 170 312 168 308 162 294 157 279 161 279 174 289 174 Lithuania poly 300 198 294 182 290 180 270 183 265 184 264 179 250 182 248 186 238 190 238 197 234 199 239 203 241 223 249 225 251 229 255 226 261 230 265 232 268 235 270 237 273 235 276 240 281 237 283 237 289 236 296 242 297 239 297 234 301 223 305 222 304 217 301 214 296 201 Poland poly 254 250 257 245 261 244 269 236 272 235 276 240 279 238 289 235 297 243 274 250 269 253 269 257 259 254 Slovakia poly 299 251 291 245 270 252 269 257 258 252 249 268 254 271 260 279 268 278 275 274 290 272 294 258 Hungary poly 355 291 354 280 361 274 355 269 349 272 346 270 343 259 332 248 330 243 328 242 324 247 314 250 312 248 301 250 294 255 292 265 288 271 282 274 288 281 293 284 293 288 296 290 302 287 301 291 308 294 308 297 317 297 322 297 329 295 339 287 347 288 Romania poly 309 327 312 322 309 318 305 316 305 310 308 305 302 298 304 294 309 295 310 298 328 297 340 287 354 291 350 297 352 301 348 304 355 309 348 314 347 311 340 316 339 317 339 321 329 324 323 321 316 325 Bulgaria poly 308 383 305 376 306 374 293 368 294 359 289 351 289 344 294 339 295 333 301 332 304 328 310 326 317 326 322 322 329 325 340 321 340 316 342 319 340 328 328 329 320 331 325 335 339 340 336 342 348 344 350 348 347 358 344 353 348 352 349 348 343 347 345 344 334 341 335 338 328 335 317 341 313 337 311 342 320 350 332 359 339 365 358 359 340 377 331 380 335 376 337 378 342 373 340 370 345 372 353 362 337 366 328 363 327 367 320 367 326 372 319 374 320 382 334 393 355 393 372 372 372 378 368 383 368 377 364 384 365 390 361 387 355 396 340 400 339 395 329 397 329 393 332 392 320 380 314 384 311 378 Greece poly 419 384 415 381 421 378 421 373 428 371 435 365 430 374 434 376 424 383
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
poly 236 248 224 238 221 231 225 227 236 221 240 220 249 225 254 226 260 231 266 230 267 236 261 243 249 245 244 243 Czech Republic poly 198 263 201 257 204 260 207 258 213 260 224 255 233 248 238 248 241 244 245 244 248 246 255 246 253 250 256 254 250 265 249 268 238 272 229 271 220 268 218 263 210 264 208 266 Austria poly 249 267 253 273 242 279 244 284 236 282 230 281 227 277 229 271 238 272 Slovenia poly 179 298 180 293 174 292 176 287 173 283 178 282 178 278 176 275 181 274 185 273 189 269 189 273 195 273 197 269 199 272 204 269 207 267 210 265 218 263 220 269 230 271 226 281 219 283 222 289 219 290 220 297 231 304 236 319 247 323 253 325 250 327 274 341 273 349 269 341 260 341 257 348 262 355 261 358 257 360 257 364 251 371 248 369 244 377 244 378 244 386 237 386 237 383 230 381 222 375 219 376 219 370 226 368 238 370 245 367 250 365 253 358 248 346 246 347 241 342 241 341 237 340 234 336 230 332 224 331 184 357 181 355 183 343 182 333 185 333 190 329 193 330 196 339 194 340 193 352 224 331 211 317 209 317 203 309 204 308 202 298 190 292 184 297 Italy rect 224 394 251 405
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
poly 14 333 21 334 24 337 27 339 29 333 36 329 33 325 40 319 39 311 43 312 49 298 57 295 54 292 55 289 43 284 42 281 39 280 36 291 36 292 19 313 24 314 20 317 23 318 19 324 19 327 Portugal poly 41 358 38 355 35 355 37 345 32 338 28 338 29 333 37 329 33 326 39 319 39 311 42 312 49 300 56 295 55 292 54 290 43 283 39 280 42 270 39 269 45 266 50 268 51 264 58 266 69 274 71 272 80 279 89 280 95 283 99 287 102 287 114 299 119 301 120 298 124 301 124 304 127 305 135 308 140 309 140 314 145 339 140 337 133 343 126 339 116 349 113 342 120 345 128 337 132 335 136 338 143 335 139 312 136 316 131 317 128 317 114 320 116 322 104 331 100 338 106 345 98 346 92 353 92 356 85 354 76 361 73 357 71 361 66 357 53 354 53 357 46 355 Spain poly 100 286 111 297 118 300 119 298 126 302 128 302 128 305 139 307 140 301 144 298 152 296 155 300 157 298 165 304 169 305 189 328 195 318 195 306 192 312 188 311 187 327 170 305 178 298 180 294 173 292 176 288 174 284 179 281 176 276 179 272 175 266 170 267 175 262 180 258 178 255 182 256 186 244 190 240 178 234 173 232 169 227 169 225 165 225 162 220 157 216 155 212 151 212 147 218 142 222 137 221 137 224 133 223 125 220 121 218 124 225 121 230 113 227 111 223 107 224 101 223 97 223 97 232 109 241 111 251 115 258 107 284 France poly 202 178 209 178 211 181 218 182 216 185 218 187 231 181 235 184 231 187 238 189 238 197 235 201 238 203 240 222 236 220 234 224 223 228 221 230 224 238 232 247 224 255 217 258 211 259 207 257 203 261 199 256 189 255 183 256 185 244 190 241 181 235 178 224 181 214 180 207 185 201 190 195 192 187 197 187 199 189 202 186 Germany poly 177 225 174 229 172 235 180 237 180 229 Luxembourg poly 155 210 157 220 166 225 175 232 173 226 178 225 177 215 171 210 164 212 160 209 Belgium poly 191 188 178 189 162 209 167 209 171 207 170 210 179 215 180 207 188 204 184 200 188 198 Netherlands poly 201 177 209 177 222 181 228 176 227 159 219 170 221 177 216 175 214 163 218 158 215 143 202 157 Denmark poly 102 181 92 179 82 181 79 179 75 173 78 168 89 162 84 159 89 151 98 154 100 153 97 150 104 146 109 147 100 156 108 166 106 174 103 177 Republic of Ireland, Ireland desc bottom-left
Through successive Enlargement of the European Union, enlargements, the European Union has grown from the Inner Six, six founding states (Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) to members. Countries accede to the union by becoming party to the founding Treaties of the European Union, treaties, thereby subjecting themselves to the privileges and obligations of EU membership. This entails a partial delegation of sovereignty to the institutions in return for representation within those institutions, a practice often referred to as "pooling of sovereignty". To become a member, a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, defined at the 1993 meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Council. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, Article 50 of the
Lisbon Treaty The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, als ...
provides the basis for a member to Withdrawal from the European Union, leave the EU. Two territories have left the union:
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
(an autonomous area, autonomous province of Denmark) withdrew in 1985; the United Kingdom formally invoked Article 50 of the Consolidated Treaty on European Union in 2017, and became the only sovereign state to leave when it Brexit, withdrew from the EU in 2020. There are six countries that are recognised as Future enlargement of the European Union, candidates for membership: Accession of Albania to the European Union, Albania, Accession of Iceland to the European Union, Iceland, Accession of North Macedonia to the European Union, North Macedonia, Accession of Montenegro to the European Union, Montenegro, Accession of Serbia to the European Union, Serbia, and Accession of Turkey to the European Union, Turkey, though Iceland suspended negotiations in 2013. Accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Accession of Kosovo to the European Union, Kosovo are officially recognised as potential candidates, with Bosnia and Herzegovina having submitted a membership application. Georgia (country), Georgia and Ukraine are preparing to formally apply for EU membership in 2024, in order to join the European Union in the 2030s. The four countries forming the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are not EU members, but have partly committed to the EU's economy and regulations: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through Switzerland–European Union relations, bilateral treaties. The relationships of the Microstates and the European Union, European microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City include the use of the euro and other areas of co-operation.


Geography

The European Union's member states cover an area of .This figure includes the extra-European territories of member states which are part of the European Union, and excludes the European territories of member states which are not part of the Union. For more information see Special member state territories and the European Union. The EU's highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps, Above mean sea level, above sea level. The lowest points in the EU are Lammefjorden, Denmark and Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands, at below sea level. The landscape, climate, and economy of the EU are influenced by its coastline, which is long. Including the overseas territories of France which are located outside the continent of Europe, but which are members of the union, the EU experiences most Köppen climate classification, types of climate from Polar climate, Arctic (north-east Europe) to tropical (French Guiana), rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. The majority of the population lives in areas with a temperate oceanic climate, maritime climate (North-Western Europe and Central Europe), a Mediterranean climate (Southern Europe), or a warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (Northern Balkans and Central Europe). The EU's population is highly urbanised, with some 75 per cent of inhabitants living in urban areas as of 2006. Cities are largely spread out across the EU with a large grouping in and around the Benelux. Several Special member state territories and the European Union, overseas territories and Dependent territory, dependencies of various member states are also formally part of the EU.


Politics

The European Union operates through a hybrid system of Supranational union, supranational and intergovernmentalism, intergovernmental decision-making, and according to the principles of Principle of conferral, conferral (which says that it should act only within the limits of the competences conferred on it by the Treaties of the European Union, treaties) and of Subsidiarity#European Union law, subsidiarity (which says that it should act only where an objective cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states acting alone). European Union law, Laws made by the EU institutions are passed in a variety of forms. Generally speaking, they can be classified into two groups: those which come into force without the necessity for national implementation measures (regulations) and those which specifically require national implementation measures (directives). Constitutionally, the EU bears some resemblance to both a confederation and a federation, but has not formally defined itself as either. (It does not have a formal constitution: its status is defined by the Treaty of European Union and the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other ...
). It is more integrated than a traditional confederation of states because the general level of government widely employs qualified majority voting in some decision-making among the member states, rather than relying exclusively on unanimity. It is less integrated than a federal state because it is not a state in its own right: sovereignty continues to flow 'from the bottom up', from the several peoples of the separate member states, rather than from a single undifferentiated whole. This is reflected in the fact that the member states remain the 'masters of the Treaties', retaining control over the allocation of competences to the union through constitutional change (thus retaining so-called ''Kompetenz-kompetenz''); in that they retain control of the use of armed force; they retain control of taxation; and in that they retain a right of unilateral withdrawal under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. In addition, the principle of subsidiarity requires that only those matters that need to be determined collectively are so determined. The European Union has seven principal decision-making bodies, its Institutions of the European Union, institutions: the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
, the
European Central Bank The European Central Bank (ECB) is the prime component of the Eurosystem The Eurosystem is the monetary authority In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financia ...

European Central Bank
and the European Court of Auditors. Competence in scrutinising and amending legislation is shared between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, while executive tasks are performed by the European Commission and in a limited capacity by the European Council (not to be confused with the aforementioned Council of the European Union). The monetary policy of the
eurozone The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro (euro sign, €) as their primary currency and sole legal tender. T ...

eurozone
is determined by the European Central Bank. The interpretation and the application of EU law and the treaties are ensured by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The EU budget is scrutinised by the European Court of Auditors. There are also a number of ancillary bodies which advise the EU or operate in a specific area. EU policy is in general promulgated by Directive (European Union), EU directives, which are then implemented in the Sovereignty, domestic legislation of its Member state of the European Union, member states, and Regulation (European Union), EU regulations, which are immediately enforceable in all member states. Lobbying#European Union, Lobbying at EU level by special interest groups is regulated to try to balance the aspirations of private initiatives with public interest decision-making process.


Institutions


European Council

The European Council gives political direction to the EU. It convenes at least four times a year and comprises the
president of the European Council The president of the European Council is the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council, as well as a principal representative of the European Union (EU) on the world stage. This Institutions of the European Union ...
(presently Charles Michel), the president of the European Commission and one representative per member state of the European Union, member state (either its head of state or head of government). The
high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) is the chief co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the European Union (EU). The position is currently held by ...
(presently Josep Borrell) also takes part in its meetings. It has been described by some as the union's "supreme political authority". It is actively involved in the negotiation of Treaties of the European Union, treaty changes and defines the EU's policy agenda and strategies. The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions, and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. It acts externally as a "head of state, collective head of state" and ratification, ratifies important documents (for example, international agreements and treaties). Tasks for the president of the European Council are ensuring the external representation of the EU, driving consensus and resolving divergences among member states, both during meetings of the European Council and over the periods between them. The European Council should not be mistaken for the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
, an international organisation independent of the EU based in Strasbourg.


European Commission

The European Commission acts both as the EU's executive (government), executive arm, responsible for the day-to-day running of the EU, and also the Right of initiative (legislative), legislative initiator, with the sole power to propose laws for debate. The commission is 'guardian of the Treaties' and is responsible for their efficient operation and policing. It operates ''de facto'' as a Cabinet (government), cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, European commissioners for different areas of policy, one from each member state, though commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 27 is the president of the European Commission (presently Ursula von der Leyen for 20192024), President of the European Commission#Appointment, appointed by the European Council, subject to the Parliament's approval. After the President, the most prominent commissioner is the high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy, who is ''ex-officio'' a Vice-President of the European Commission, vice-president of the European Commission and is also chosen by the European Council. The other 26 commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated president. The 27 commissioners as a single body are subject to approval (or otherwise) by vote of the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
.


Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union (also called the Council and the "Council of Ministers", its former title) forms one half of the EU's legislature. It consists of a representative from each member state's government and meets in Council of the European Union#Configurations, different compositions depending on the policy area being addressed. Notwithstanding its different configurations, it is considered to be one single body. In addition to the legislative functions, members of the council also have executive functions, executive responsibilities, such as the development of a
Common Foreign and Security Policy The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It ...
and the coordination of broad economic policies within the Union. The Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Presidency of the council rotates between member states, with each holding it for six months. Beginning on 1 July 2021, the position is held by Slovenia. In some policies, there are several member states that ally with strategic partners within the union. Examples of such alliances include the Visegrad Group, Benelux, the Baltic Assembly, the New Hanseatic League, the Weimar Triangle, the Lublin Triangle, EU Med Group, the Craiova Group and Bucharest Nine.


European Parliament

The European Parliament is one of three Legislature of the European Union, legislative institutions of the EU, which together with the Council of the European Union is tasked with amending and approving the European Commission's proposals. 705 Member of the European Parliament, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly Elections in the European Union, elected by Citizenship of the European Union, EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. MEPs are elected on a national basis and they sit according to Political groups of the European Parliament, political groups rather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into European Parliament constituency, sub-national constituencies where this does not affect the proportional nature of the voting system. In the ordinary legislative procedure, the European Commission proposes legislation, which requires the joint approval of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to pass. This process applies to nearly all areas, including the budget of the European Union, EU budget. The parliament is the final body to approve or reject the proposed membership of the commission, and can attempt motions of censure on the commission by appeal to the European Court of Justice, Court of Justice. The president of the European Parliament (presently David Sassoli) carries out the role of speaker in Parliament and represents it externally. The president and Vice President of the European Parliament, vice-presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.


Budget

The European Union had an agreed budget of  billion for the year 2007 and  billion for the period 2007–2013, representing 1.10 per cent and 1.05 per cent of the EU-27's Gross national income, GNI forecast for the respective periods. In 1960, the budget of the then European Economic Community was 0.03 per cent of GDP. In the 2010 budget of  billion, the largest single expenditure item is "''Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, cohesion & competitiveness''" with around 45 per cent of the total budget. Next comes "''
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
''" with approximately 31 per cent of the total. "''Rural development, environment and
fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and the oceans (about 90%). About 500 million pe ...
''" takes up around 11 per cent. "''Administration''" accounts for around 6 per cent. The "''EU as a global partner''" and "''citizenship, freedom, security and justice''" bring up the rear with approximately 6 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. The Court of Auditors is legally obliged to provide the parliament and the council (specifically, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council) with "a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions". The Court also gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions. The parliament uses this to decide whether to approve the commission's handling of the budget. The European Court of Auditors has signed off the European Union accounts every year since 2007 and, while making it clear that the European Commission has more work to do, has highlighted that most of the errors take place at national level.>> In their report on 2009 the auditors found that five areas of Union expenditure,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...
and the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, cohesion fund, were materially affected by error. The European Commission estimated in 2009 that the financial effect of irregularities was  million. In November 2020, members of the union, Hungary and Poland, blocked approval to the EU's budget at a meeting in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), citing a Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, proposal that linked funding with adherence to the rule of law. The budget included a COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 recovery fund of billion. The budget may still be approved if Hungary and Poland withdraw their vetoes after further negotiations in the council and the European Council.


Competences

Member states retain all powers not explicitly handed to the European Union. In some areas the EU enjoys exclusive competence. These are areas in which member states have renounced any capacity to enact legislation. In other areas the EU and its member states share the competence to legislate. While both can legislate, member states can only legislate to the extent to which the EU has not. In other policy areas the EU can only co-ordinate, support and supplement member state action but cannot enact legislation with the aim of harmonising national laws. That a particular policy area falls into a certain category of competence is not necessarily indicative of what Legislature of the European Union, legislative procedure is used for enacting legislation within that policy area. Different legislative procedures are used within the same category of competence, and even with the same policy area. The distribution of competences in various policy areas between member states and the union is divided in the following three categories:


Legal system and justice

The European Union is based on a series of Treaties of the European Union, treaties. These first established the European Community and the EU, and then made amendments to those founding treaties. These are power-giving treaties which set broad policy goals and establish institutions with the necessary legal powers to implement those goals. These legal powers include the ability to enact legislationSee Article 288 (ex Article 249 TEC) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, o
eur-lex.europa.eu
/ref> which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants.According to the principle of Direct Effect first invoked in the Court of Justice's decision in See: Craig and de Búrca, ch. 5. The EU has
legal personality In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
, with the right to sign agreements and international treaties. Under the principle of Supremacy (European Union law), supremacy, national courts are required to enforce the treaties that their member states have ratified, and thus the laws enacted under them, even if doing so requires them to ignore conflicting national law, and (within limits) even constitutional provisions.According to the principle of Law of the European Union#Supremacy, Supremacy as established by the ECJ in Case 6/64, ''Falminio Costa v. ENEL'' [1964] ECR 585. See Craig and de Búrca, ch. 7. See also: Factortame litigation: ''Factortame Ltd. v. Secretary of State for Transport (No. 2) [1991] 1 AC 603'', ''Solange II'' (''Re Wuensche Handelsgesellschaft'', BVerfG decision of 22 October 1986 [1987] 3 CMLR 225,265) and ''Frontini v. Ministero delle Finanze'' [1974] 2 CMLR 372; ''Raoul George Nicolo'' [1990] 1 CMLR 173. The direct effect and supremacy doctrines were not explicitly set out in the European Treaties but were developed by the Court of Justice itself over the 1960s, apparently under the influence of its then most influential judge, Frenchman Robert Lecourt


Court of Justice of the European Union

The judiciary, judicial branch of the European Union is formally called the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
and consists of two courts: the European Court of Justice, Court of Justice and the General Court (European Union), General Court. The Court of Justice primarily deals with cases taken by member states, the institutions, and Preliminary ruling, cases referred to it by the courts of member states. Because of the doctrines of direct effect and supremacy, many judgments of the Court of Justice are automatically applicable within the internal legal orders of the member states. The General Court mainly deals with cases taken by individuals and companies directly before the EU's courts, and the European Union Civil Service Tribunal adjudicates in disputes between the European Union and European Civil Service, its civil service. Decisions from the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice but only on a point of law.


Fundamental rights

The treaties declare that the European Union itself is "founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, freedom, democracy, equality before the law, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minority group, minorities ... in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail." In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty gave legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU's legal acts can be judged. It consolidates many rights which were previously recognised by the Court of Justice and derived from the "constitutional traditions common to the member states." The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has, on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights. Signing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is a condition for EU membership.and is effectively treated as one of the Copenhagen criteri
Assembly.coe.int.
This is a political and not a legal requirement for membership.
Previously, the EU itself could not accede to the convention as it is neither a stateThe European Convention on Human Rights was previously only open to members of the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe

Article 59.1 of the Convention
, and even now only states may become member of the Council of Europe

.
nor had the competence to accede.Opinion (2/92) of the European Court of Justice on "Accession by the Community to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
1996 E.C.R. I-1759
(in French), ruled that the European Community did not have the competence to accede to the ECHR.
The Lisbon Treaty and Protocol 14 to the ECHR have changed this: the former binds the EU to accede to the convention while the latter formally permits it. The EU is independent from the Council of Europe, although they share purpose and ideas, especially on the rule of law, human rights and democracy. Furthermore, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Social Charter, as well as the source of law for the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Charter of Fundamental Rights are created by the Council of Europe. The EU has also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The EU opposes the death penalty and has proposed its worldwide abolition. Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership. On 19 October 2020, the European Union revealed new plans to create a legal structure to act against human rights violations worldwide. The new plan was expected to provide the European Union with greater flexibility to target and sanction those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses around the world.


Acts

The main legal acts of the European Union come in three forms: Regulation (European Union), regulations, Directive (European Union), directives, and Decision (European Union), decisions. Regulations become law in all member states the moment they come into force, without the requirement for any implementing measures,See: Case 34/73, ''Variola v. Amministrazione delle Finanze'
[1973
/nowiki> ECR 981].
and automatically override conflicting domestic provisions. Directives require member states to achieve a certain result while leaving them discretion as to how to achieve the result. The details of how they are to be implemented are left to member states.To do otherwise would require the drafting of legislation which would have to cope with the frequently divergent legal systems and administrative systems of all of the now 28 member states. See Craig and de Búrca, p. 115 When the time limit for implementing directives passes, they may, under certain conditions, have direct effect in national law against member states. Decisions offer an alternative to the two above modes of legislation. They are legal acts which only apply to specified individuals, companies or a particular member state. They are most often used in competition law, or on rulings on State Aid, but are also frequently used for procedural or administrative matters within the institutions. Regulations, directives, and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy.


European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman was established by the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
. The ombudsman is elected by the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
for the length of the parliament's term, and the position is renewable. Any EU citizen or entity may appeal to the ombudsman to investigate an EU institution on the grounds of maladministration (administrative irregularities, unfairness, discrimination, abuse of power, failure to reply, refusal of information or unnecessary delay). Emily O'Reilly has been the ombudsman since 2013.


Home affairs and migration

Since the creation of the European Union in 1993, it has developed its competencies in the area of justice and home affairs; initially at an intergovernmental level and later by supranationalism. Accordingly, the union has legislated in areas such as European Arrest Warrant, extradition, family law, asylum law, and criminal justice. Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties.See Articles 157 (ex Article 141) of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other ...
, o
eur-lex.europa.eu
/ref> In more recent years, these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation.See Article 2(7) of the Amsterdam Treaty o
eur-lex.europa.eu
By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexism, sexual discrimination in the work-place, ageism, age discrimination, and racism, racial discrimination.Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19 July 2000, pp. 22–26); Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2 December 2000, pp. 16–22). The EU has also established agencies to co-ordinate police, prosecutorial and immigrations controls across the member states: Europol for co-operation of police forces, Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors, and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities. The EU also operates the Schengen Information System which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities. This co-operation had to particularly be developed with the advent of open borders through the
Schengen Agreement The Schengen Agreement ( , ) is a treaty which led to the creation of Europe's Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border ...
and the associated cross border crime. File:OffeneGrenzeNiederndorf-Oberaudorf.jpg, The borders inside the
Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for internationa ...

Schengen Area
between Germany and Austria File:Europol_building,_The_Hague,_the_Netherlands_-_930.jpg, Europol Headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands File:Eurojust-building-2017.jpg, Eurojust Headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands File:Warsaw Spire, Poland 22 June 2016.jpg, Seat of Frontex in Warsaw, Poland


Foreign relations

Foreign policy co-operation between member states dates from the establishment of the community in 1957, when member states negotiated as a bloc in international trade negotiations under the EU's common commercial policy. Steps for a more wide-ranging co-ordination in foreign relations began in 1970 with the establishment of European Political Cooperation which created an informal consultation process between member states with the aim of forming common foreign policies. In 1987 the European Political Cooperation was introduced on a formal basis by the
Single European Act The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economi ...
. EPC was renamed as the
Common Foreign and Security Policy The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is the organised, agreed foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It ...
(CFSP) by the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
. The aims of the CFSP are to promote both the EU's own interests and those of the international community as a whole, including the furtherance of international co-operation, respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.Article 21 of the Maastricht Treaty, Treaty on European Union (as inserted by the Treaty of Lisbon), o
eur-lex.europa.eu
/ref> The CFSP requires unanimity among the member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular issue. The unanimity and difficult issues treated under the CFSP sometimes lead to disagreements, such as those which occurred over the Iraq War, war in Iraq. The coordinator and representative of the CFSP within the EU is the
high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) is the chief co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the European Union (EU). The position is currently held by ...
who speaks on behalf of the EU in foreign policy and defence matters, and has the task of articulating the positions expressed by the member states on these fields of policy into a common alignment. The high representative heads up the European External Action Service (EEAS), a unique EU departmentRettman, Andrew (23 October 2009
EU states envisage new foreign policy giant
EU Observer
that has been officially implemented and operational since 1 December 2010 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry into force of the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also ...
. The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. Besides the emerging international policy of the European Union, the international influence of the EU is also felt through Enlargement of the European Union, enlargement. The perceived benefits of becoming a member of the EU act as an incentive for both political and economic reform in states wishing to fulfil the EU's accession criteria, and are considered an important factor contributing to the reform of European formerly Communist countries. This influence on the internal affairs of other countries is generally referred to as "soft power", as opposed to military "hard power".


Security and defence

The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes. 21 EU members are members of NATO while the remaining member states follow policies of Neutrality (international relations), neutrality. The Western European Union, a military alliance with a mutual defence clause, was disbanded in 2010 as its role had been transferred to the EU. Since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, France is the only member officially recognised as a List of states with nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon state and the sole holder of a Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. France and Italy are also the only EU countries that have Power projection, power projection capabilities outside of Europe. Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium participate in NATO nuclear sharing. Most EU member states opposed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Following the Kosovo War in 1999, the European Council agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO". To that end, a number of efforts were made to increase the EU's military capability, notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. After much discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel. EUFOR, EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from middle and northern Africa to the western Balkans and western Asia. EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European Defence Agency, European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Military Staff. The European Union Military Staff is the highest military institution of the European Union, established within the framework of the European Council, and follows on from the decisions of the Helsinki European Council (December 10-11, 1999), which called for the establishment of permanent political-military institutions. The European Union Military Staff is under the authority of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Political and Security Committee. It directs all military activities in the EU context, including planning and conducting military missions and operations in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy and the development of military capabilities, and provides the Political and Security Committee with military advice and recommendations on military issues. Frontex is an Agencies of the European Union, agency of the EU established to manage the cooperation between national border guards securing its external borders. It aims to detect and stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and terrorist infiltration. In 2015 the European Commission presented its proposal for a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency having a stronger role and mandate along with national authorities for border management. In an EU consisting of 27 members, substantial security and defence co-operation is increasingly relying on collaboration among all member states.


Humanitarian aid

The ECHO (European Commission), European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, or "ECHO", provides humanitarian aid from the EU to developing country, developing countries. In 2012, its budget amounted to million, 51 per cent of the budget went to Africa and 20 per cent to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, and 20 per cent to the Middle East and Mediterranean. Humanitarian aid is financed directly by the budget (70 per cent) as part of the financial instruments for external action and also by the European Development Fund (30 per cent).Mikaela Gavas 2010
Financing European development cooperation: the Financial Perspectives 2014–2020.
London: Overseas Development Institute
The EU's external action financing is divided into 'geographic' instruments and 'thematic' instruments. The 'geographic' instruments provide aid through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI, billion, 2007–2013), which must spend 95 per cent of its budget on official development assistance (ODA), and from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which contains some relevant programmes. The European Development Fund (EDF, billion for the period 2008–2013 and billion for the period 2014–2020) is made up of voluntary contributions by member states, but there is pressure to merge the EDF into the budget-financed instruments to encourage increased contributions to match the 0.7 per cent target and allow the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
greater oversight. In 2016, the average among EU countries was 0.4 per cent and five had met or exceeded the 0.7 per cent target: Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom. If considered collectively, EU member states are the largest contributor of List of development aid country donors, foreign aid in the world.


International cooperation and development partnerships

The European Union uses foreign relations instruments like the European Neighbourhood Policy which seeks to tie those countries to the east and south of the European territory of the EU to the union. These countries, primarily developing countries, include some who seek to one day become either a member state of the European Union, or more closely integrated with the European Union. The EU offers financial assistance to countries within the European Neighbourhood, so long as they meet the strict conditions of government reform, economic reform and other issues surrounding positive transformation. This process is normally underpinned by an Action Plan, as agreed by both Brussels and the target country. International recognition of sustainable development as a key element is growing steadily. Its role was recognised in three major UN summits on sustainable development: the 1992 Earth Summit, UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa; and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro. Other key global agreements are the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations, 2015). The SDGs recognise that all countries must stimulate action in the following key areas – people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership – in order to tackle the global challenges that are crucial for the survival of humanity. EU development action is based on the European Consensus on Development, which was endorsed on 20 December 2005 by EU Member States, the council, the European Parliament and the commission. It is applied from the principles of Capability approach and Rights-based approach to development. Partnership and cooperation agreements are bilateral agreements with non-member nations.


Trade

The European Union is the largest exporter in the world and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services. Internal trade between the member states is aided by the removal of barriers to trade such as tariffs and border controls. In the
eurozone The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro (euro sign, €) as their primary currency and sole legal tender. T ...

eurozone
, trade is helped by not having any currency differences to deal with amongst most members. The European Union Association Agreement does something similar for a much larger range of countries, partly as a so-called soft approach ('a carrot instead of a stick') to influence the politics in those countries. The European Union represents all its members at the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
(WTO), and acts on behalf of member states in any disputes. When the EU negotiates trade related agreement outside the WTO framework, the subsequent agreement must be approved by each individual EU member state government. The European Union has concluded European Union free trade agreements, free trade agreements (FTAs) and other agreements with a trade component with many countries worldwide and is negotiating with many others. The European Union's services trade surplus rose from $16 billion in 2000 to more than $250 billion in 2018. In 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China became the EU's largest trading partner, displacing the United States.


Economy

As a political entity the European Union is represented in the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
(WTO). EU member states own the estimated second largest after the United States (trillion) net wealth in the world, equal to around 20 per cent (~trillion) of the trillion (~trillion) global wealth. 19 member states have joined a monetary union known as the
eurozone The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro (euro sign, €) as their primary currency and sole legal tender. T ...

eurozone
, which uses the euro as a single currency. The currency union represents 342million EU citizens. The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. Of the top Fortune Global 500, 500 largest corporations in the world measured by revenue in 2010, 161 had their headquarters in the EU. In 2016, unemployment in the EU stood at 8.9 per cent while inflation was at 2.2 per cent, and the account balance at −0.9 per cent of GDP. The average annual net earnings in the European Union was around () in 2015. There is a significant variation in nominal GDP per capita within individual EU states. The difference between the richest and poorest regions (281 NUTS-2 regions of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) ranged, in 2017, from 31 per cent (Severozapaden, Bulgaria) of the EU28 average () to 253 per cent (Luxembourg), or from to .


Internal market

Two of the original core objectives of the European Economic Community were the development of a common market, subsequently becoming a single market, and a
customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of trade pact, intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and Non-tariff barriers to tr ...
between its member states. The single market involves Internal market, the free circulation of goods, capital, people, and services within the EU, and the customs union involves the application of a common external tariff on all goods entering the market. Once goods have been admitted into the market they cannot be subjected to customs duties, discriminatory taxes or import quotas, as they travel internally. The non-EU member states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland participate in the single market but not in the customs union. Half the trade in the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU. Free movement of capital is intended to permit movement of investments such as property purchases and buying of shares between countries. Until the drive towards economic and monetary union the development of the capital provisions had been slow. Post-Maastricht there has been a rapidly developing corpus of ECJ judgements regarding this initially neglected freedom. The free movement of capital is unique insofar as it is granted equally to non-member states. The free movement of persons means that Citizenship of the European Union, EU citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. This required the lowering of administrative formalities and recognition of professional qualifications of other states. The free movement of services and of establishment allows self-employed persons to move between member states to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis. While services account for 60 per cent to 70 per cent of GDP, legislation in the area is not as developed as in other areas. This lacuna has been addressed by the Services in the Internal Market Directive 2006 which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services. According to the treaty the provision of services is a residual freedom that only applies if no other freedom is being exercised.


Monetary union and financial services

The creation of a European Currency Unit, European single currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969. In 1992, having negotiated the structure and procedures of a currency union, the member states signed the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
and were legally bound to fulfil the agreed-on rules including the Euro convergence criteria, convergence criteria if they wanted to join the Currency union, monetary union. The states wanting to participate had first to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. In 1999, the currency union started, first as an accounting currency with History of the euro, eleven member states joining. In 2002, the currency was fully put into place, when euro banknotes, euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone, which by then consisted of 12 member states. The eurozone (constituted by the EU member states which have adopted the euro) has since grown to 19 countries. The euro, and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU, are under the control of the
European Central Bank The European Central Bank (ECB) is the prime component of the Eurosystem The Eurosystem is the monetary authority In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financia ...

European Central Bank
(ECB). The ECB is the central bank for the eurozone, and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. It is at the centre of the European System of Central Banks, which comprehends all EU national central banks and is controlled by its General Council, consisting of the President of the European Central Bank, President of the ECB, who is appointed by the European Council, the vice-president of the ECB, and the governors of the national central banks of all 27 EU member states. The European System of Financial Supervision is an institutional architecture of the EU's framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority. To complement this framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the central bank. The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU. To prevent the joining states from getting into financial trouble or crisis after entering the monetary union, they were obliged in the Maastricht treaty to fulfil important financial obligations and procedures, especially to show budgetary discipline and a high degree of sustainable economic convergence, as well as to avoid excessive government deficits and limit the government debt to a sustainable level.


Industry and digital economy

The European Commission working sectors are: aeronautics, automotive, biotechnology, chemicals, construction, cosmetics, defence, electronics, firearms, food and drink, gambling, healthcare, maritime, mechanics, medical, postal, raw materials, space, textile, tourism, toys and social economy (Societas cooperativa Europaea).


Energy

In 2006, the Treaty of Accession 2005, EU-27 had a gross inland energy consumption of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe). Around 46 per cent of the energy consumed was produced within the member states while 54 per cent was imported. In these statistics, nuclear energy is treated as primary energy produced in the EU, regardless of the source of the uranium, of which less than 3 per cent is produced in the EU.
Nuclear energy and renewable energy are treated differently from oil, gas, and coal in this respect.
The EU has had legislative power in the area of energy policy for most of its existence; this has its roots in the original
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
. The introduction of a mandatory and comprehensive European energy policy was approved at the meeting of the European Council in October 2005, and the first draft policy was published in January 2007. The EU has five key points in its energy policy: increase competition in the internal market, encourage investment and boost interconnections between electricity grids; diversify energy resources with better systems to respond to a crisis; establish a new treaty framework for energy co-operation with Russia while improving relations with energy-rich states in Central Asia and North Africa; use existing energy supplies more efficiently while increasing renewable energy commercialisation; and finally increase funding for new energy technologies. In 2007, EU countries as a whole imported 82 per cent of their oil, 57 per cent of their natural gas and 97.48 per cent of their uranium demands. The three largest suppliers of natural gas to the European Union are Russia, Norway and Algeria, that amounted for about three quarters of the imports in 2019. There is a strong Russia in the European energy sector, dependence on Russian energy that the EU has been attempting to reduce.


Infrastructure

The European Union is working to improve cross-border infrastructure, for example through the Trans-European Networks (TEN). Projects under TEN include the Channel Tunnel, LGV Est, the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, the Øresund Bridge, Öresund Bridge, the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Strait of Messina Bridge. In 2010 the estimated network covers: of roads; of railways; 330 airports; 270 maritime harbours; and 210 internal harbours. Rail transport in Europe is being synchronised with the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), an initiative to greatly enhance safety, increase efficiency of trains and enhance cross-border interoperability of rail transport in Europe by replacing signalling equipment with digitised mostly wireless versions and by creating a single Europe-wide standard for train control and command systems. The developing European transport policies will increase the pressure on the environment in many regions by the increased transport network. In the pre-2004 EU members, the major problem in transport deals with congestion and pollution. After the recent enlargement, the new states that joined since 2004 added the problem of solving accessibility to the transport agenda. The Highways in Poland, Polish road network was upgraded such as the A4 autostrada (Poland), A4 autostrada.


Telecommunications and space

The Galileo (satellite navigation), Galileo positioning system is another EU infrastructure project. Galileo is a proposed Satellite navigation system, to be built by the EU and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Galileo project was launched partly to reduce the EU's dependency on the US-operated Global Positioning System, but also to give more complete global coverage and allow for greater accuracy, given the aged nature of the GPS system.


Agriculture and fisheries

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the long lasting policies of the European Community. The policy has the objectives of increasing agricultural production, providing certainty in food supplies, ensuring a high quality of life for farmers, stabilising markets, and ensuring reasonable prices for consumers.Article 39 (ex Article 33) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, o
eur-lex.europa.eu
/ref> It was, until recently, operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. Until the 1990s, the policy accounted for over 60 per cent of the then European Economic Community, European Community's annual budget, and accounts for around 34 per cent. The policy's Incomes policy, price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction. These were Buffer stock scheme, intervention stores of products bought up by the community to maintain minimum price levels. To dispose of surplus stores, they were often sold on the world market at prices considerably below Community guaranteed prices, or farmers were offered subsidies (amounting to the difference between the community and world prices) to export their products outside the community. This system has been criticised for under-cutting farmers outside Europe, especially those in the Third World, developing world. Supporters of CAP argue that the economic support which it gives to farmers provides them with a reasonable standard of living. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the CAP has been subject to a series of reforms. Initially, these reforms included the introduction of set-aside in 1988, where a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn from production, milk quotas and, more recently, the 'de-coupling' (or disassociation) of the money farmers receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by the Fischler reforms in 2004). Agriculture expenditure will move away from subsidy payments linked to specific produce, toward direct payments based on farm size. This is intended to allow the market to dictate production levels. One of these reforms entailed the modification of the EU's sugar regime, which previously divided the sugar market between member states and certain African-Caribbean nations with a privileged relationship with the EU.


Competition

The EU operates a European Union competition law, competition policy intended to ensure undistorted competition within the single market.Article 3(1)(g) of the Treaty of Rome The European Commissioner for Competition, European commissioner for competition (presently Margrethe Vestager) is one of the most powerful positions in the commission, notable for the ability to affect the commercial interests of trans-national corporations. For example, in 2001 the commission for the first time prevented a merger between two companies based in the United States (General Electric and Honeywell) which had already been approved by their national authority. Another high-profile case European Union Microsoft competition case, against Microsoft, resulted in the commission fining Microsoft over  million following nine years of legal action.


Labour market

The EU seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent in September 2018. The euro area unemployment rate was 8.1 per cent. Among the member states, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.3 per cent), Germany and Poland (both 3.4 per cent), and the highest in Spain (14.9 per cent) and Greece (19.0 in July 2018).


Social policy and equality

The European Union has long sought to mitigate the effects of free markets by protecting workers rights and preventing Social dumping, social and environmental dumping. To this end it has adopted laws establishing minimum employment and environmental standards. These included the Working Time Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011, Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The EU has also sought to coordinate the social security and health systems of member states to facilitate individuals exercising free movement rights and to ensure they maintain their ability to access social security and health services in other member states. Social security main legislation is found in the Equal Treatment in Occupational Social Security Directive 86/378, the Equal Treatment in Social Security Directive 79/7/EEC, the Social Security Regulation 1408/71/EC and 883/2004/EC and the Directive 2005/36/EC The European Social Charter is the main body that recognises the social rights of European citizens. A European unemployment insurance has been proposed among others by the commissioner of Jobs Nicolas Schmit. A European Directive about Minimum Wage has also been discussed, as well as a European Directive about Minimum Income.https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/662900/IPOL_BRI(2021)662900_EN.pdf Since 2019 there has been a European commissioner for equality and the European Institute for Gender Equality has existed since 2007. In 2020, the first ever European Union Strategy on LGBTIQ equality was approved under Helena Dalli mandate. In December 2021 the Comission anounced the intention of codifying a european LGBT hate crime. Housing, youth, childhood, Functional diversity or elderly care are supportive competencies of the European Union and can be financed by the European Social Fund. The European Pillar of Social Rights contains a preamble and 3 chapters with target values for 20 fields: Chapter I: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market (general education, professional training and lifelong learning, gender equality, equal opportunities, active support for employment) Chapter II: Fair working conditions (secure and adaptable employment, wages, information about employment conditions and protection in the event of dismissals, social dialogue and involvement of workers, work-life balance, healthy, safe and well-adapted working environments and data protection) Chapter III: Social protection and inclusion (childcare and support for children, social protection, unemployment benefits, minimum income, old age income and pensions, healthcare, inclusion of people with disabilities, long-term care, housing and assistance for the homeless, access to essential services) The EPSR is intended to act as a reference document of sorts, by means of which the labour markets and social standards in the Member States may approach the standards defined in the Pillar in the long term.


Regional and local policy

Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds are supporting the development of underdeveloped regions of the EU. Such regions are primarily located in the states of Central Europe, central and southern Europe. Several funds provide emergency aid, support for candidate members to transform their country to conform to the EU's standard (Phare, Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession, ISPA, and Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development, SAPARD), and support to the Commonwealth of Independent States (Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States, TACIS). TACIS has now become part of the worldwide EuropeAid Co-operation Office, EuropeAid programme. Demographic transition to a society of ageing population, low fertility-rates and depopulation of non-metropolitan regions is tackled within this policies.


Environment and climate

In 1957, when the European Economic Community was founded, it had no environmental policy. Over the past 50 years, an increasingly dense network of legislation has been created, extending to all areas of environmental protection, including air pollution, water quality, waste management, nature conservation, and the control of chemicals, industrial hazards, and biotechnology. According to the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental law comprises over 500 Directives, Regulations and Decisions, making environmental policy a core area of European politics.Institute for European Environmental Policy (2012) Manual of European Environmental Policy, Earthscan, London. European policy-makers originally increased the EU's capacity to act on environmental issues by defining it as a trade problem. Trade barriers and competitive distortions in the Common Market could emerge due to the different environmental standards in each member state. In subsequent years, the environment became a formal policy area, with its own policy actors, principles and procedures. The legal basis for EU environmental policy was established with the introduction of the Single European Act in 1987. Initially, EU environmental policy focused on Europe. More recently, the EU has demonstrated leadership in global environmental governance, e.g. the role of the EU in securing the ratification and coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol despite opposition from the United States. This international dimension is reflected in the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme, which recognises that its objectives can only be achieved if key international agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. The Lisbon Treaty further strengthened the leadership ambitions. EU law has played a significant role in improving habitat and species protection in Europe, as well as contributing to improvements in air and water quality and waste management. Mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities of EU environmental policy. In 2007, member states agreed that, in the future, 20 per cent of the energy used across the EU must be renewable energy, renewable, and carbon dioxide emissions have to be lower in 2020 by at least 20 per cent compared to 1990 levels. The European Union claims that already in 2018, its GHG emissions were 23% lower that in 1990. The EU has adopted an Emissions trading, emissions trading system to incorporate carbon emissions into the economy. The European Green Capital is an annual award given to cities that focuses on the environment, energy efficiency, and quality of life in urban areas to create smart city. In the 2019 European Parliament election, 2019 elections to the European Parliament, the green parties increased their power, possibly because of the rise of post materialist values. Proposals to reach a zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 were suggested in 2018 – 2019. Almost all member states supported that goal at an EU summit in June 2019. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland disagreed. In June 2021 the European Union passed a European Climate Law with targets of 55% GHG emissions reduction by the year 2030 and carbon neutrality by the year 2050. In 2021 the European Union and the United States pledged to cut methane emissions by 30% by the year 2030. The pledge is considered as a big achievement for climate change mitigation. In 2017, the EU emitted 9.1 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.


Education and research

Basic education is an area where the EU's role is limited to supporting national governments. In higher education, the policy was developed in the 1980s in programmes supporting exchanges and mobility. The most visible of these has been the Erasmus Programme, a university exchange programme which began in 1987. In its first 20 years, it supported international exchange opportunities for well over 1.5 million university and college students and became a symbol of European student life. There are similar programmes for school pupils and teachers, for trainees in vocational education, vocational education and training, and for adult learners in the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013. These programmes are designed to encourage a wider knowledge of other countries and to spread good practices in the education and training fields across the EU. Through its support of the Bologna Process, the EU is supporting comparable standards and compatible degrees across Europe. Scientific development is facilitated through the EU's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, Framework Programmes, the first of which started in 1984. The aims of EU policy in this area are to co-ordinate and stimulate research. The independent European Research Council allocates EU funds to European or national research projects. EU Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, research and technological framework programmes deal in a number of areas, for example energy where the aim is to develop a diverse mix of renewable energy to help the environment and to reduce dependence on imported fuels.


Health care and food safety

The EU has no major competences in the field of health care and Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that "A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities". The European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (European Commission), Directorate-General for Health and Consumers seeks to align national laws on the protection of people's health, on the consumers' rights, on the safety of food and other products. All EU and many other European countries offer their citizens a free European Health Insurance Card which, on a reciprocal basis, provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries. A directive on cross-border healthcare aims at promoting co-operation on health care between member states and facilitating access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare for European patients. The EU has some of the highest levels of life expectancy in the world, with Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, Malta, Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Greece all among the world's top 20 countries with the highest life expectancy. In general, life expectancy is lower in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. In 2018, the EU region with the highest life expectancy was Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Spain at 85.2 years, followed by the Spanish regions of La Rioja (Spain), La Rioja and Castilla y León both at 84.3 years, Trentino in Italy at 84.3 years and Île-de-France in France at 84.2 years. The overall life expectancy in the EU in 2018 was 81.0 years, higher than the World average of 72.6 years.


Culture

Cultural co-operation between member states has been an interest of the European Union since its inclusion as a community competency in the Maastricht Treaty. Actions taken in the cultural area by the EU include the Culture 2000 seven-year programme, the European Cultural Month event, and orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra. The European Capital of Culture programme selects one or more cities in every year to assist the Sociocultural evolution, cultural development of that city.


Sport

Association football is by far the most popular sport in the European Union by the number of registered players. The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing. Sport is mainly the responsibility of the member states or other international organisations, rather than of the EU. There are some EU policies that have affected sport, such as the free movement of workers, which was at the core of the Bosman ruling that prohibited national football leagues from imposing quotas on foreign players with European citizenship. The
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also ...
requires any application of economic rules to take into account the specific nature of sport and its structures based on voluntary activity. This followed lobbying by governing organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, due to objections over the application of free market principles to sport, which led to an increasing gap between rich and poor clubs. The EU does fund a programme for Israeli, Jordanian, Irish, and British football coaches, as part of the Football 4 Peace project.


Symbols

The flag of Europe consists of a Circle of stars, circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background. Originally designed in 1955 for the Council of Europe, the flag was adopted by the
European Communities The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, ...
, the predecessors of the present European Union, in 1986. The Council of Europe gave the flag a symbolic description in the following terms, though the official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the "Western world":
Guide graphique relatif à l'emblème européen
' (1996), p. 3: ''Description symbolique: Sur le fond bleu du ciel, les étoiles figurant les peuples d'Europe forment un cercle en signe d'union. Elles sont au nombre invariable de douze, symbole de la perfection et de la plénitude''...''Description héraldique: Sur fond azur, un cercle composé de douze étoiles d'or à cinq rais, dont les pointes ne se touchent pas''. c.f.
''Motto of the European Union, United in Diversity'' was adopted as the motto of the union in 2000, having been selected from A motto for Europe, proposals submitted by school pupils. Since 1985, the flag day of the union has been Europe Day, on 9 May (the date of the 1950 Schuman declaration). The Anthem of Europe, anthem of the EU is an instrumental version of the prelude to the ''Ode to Joy'', the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), ninth symphony. The anthem was adopted by European Community leaders in 1985 and has since been played on official occasions. Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythology, Greek mythological figure of Europa (mythology), Europa has frequently been employed as a National personification, personification of Europe. Known from the myth in which Zeus seduces her in the guise of a white bull, Europa has also been referred to in relation to the present union. Statues of Europa and the bull decorate several of the EU's institutions and a portrait of her is seen on the 2013 series of euro banknotes. The bull is, for its part, depicted on all residence permit cards. Charlemagne, Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne ( la, Carolus Magnus) and later recognised as ''Pater Europae'' ("Father of Europe"),Riché, Preface xviii, Pierre Riché reflects: "[H]e enjoyed an exceptional destiny, and by the length of his reign, by his conquests, legislation and legendary stature, he also profoundly marked the history of Western Europe." has a symbolic relevance to Europe. The commission has named Charlemagne building, one of its central buildings in Brussels after Charlemagne and the city of Aachen has since 1949 awarded the Charlemagne Prize to champions of European unification. Since 2008, the organisers of this prize, in conjunction with the European Parliament, have awarded the European Charlemagne Youth Prize, Charlemagne Youth Prize in recognition of similar efforts led by young people.


Media

Media freedom is a Fundamental rights, fundamental right that applies to all Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union and its EU citizens, citizens, as defined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.Maria Poptcheva
Press freedom in the EU Legal framework and challenges
EPRS , European Parliamentary Research Service, Briefing April 2015
Within the EU enlargement process, guaranteeing media freedom is named a "key indicator of a country's readiness to become part of the EU". The majority of media in the European Union are national-orientated, although some EU-wide media focusing on European affairs have emerged since the early 1990s, such as Euronews, Eurosport, EUobserver, EURACTIV or Politico Europe. Arte, ARTE is a public Franco-German TV network that promotes programming in the areas of culture and the arts. 80 per cent of its programming are provided in equal proportion by the two member companies, while the remainder is being provided by the European Economic Interest Grouping ''ARTE GEIE'' and the channel's European partners. The MEDIA Programme of the European Union has supported the European popular film and audiovisual industries since 1991. It provides support for the development, promotion and distribution of European works within Europe and beyond.


Impact

The European Union has had a significant positive economic impact on most member states. According to a 2019 study of the member states who joined from 1973 to 2004, "without European integration, per capita incomes would have been, on average, approximately 10 per cent lower in the first ten years after joining the EU." Greece was the exception reported by the study, which analysed up to 2008, "to avoid confounding effects from the global financial crisis". A 2021 study in the ''Journal of Political Economy'' found that the 2004 enlargement had aggregate beneficial economic effects on all groups in both the old and new member states. The largest winners were the new member states, in particular unskilled labour in the new member states. The European Union has contributed to peace in Europe, in particular by pacifying border disputes, and to the spread of democracy, especially by encouraging democratic reforms in aspiring Eastern European member states after the collapse of the USSR. Scholar Thomas Risse wrote in 2009, "there is a consensus in the literature on Eastern Europe that the EU membership perspective had a huge anchoring effects for the new democracies." However, R. Daniel Kelemen argues that the EU has proved beneficial to leaders who are overseeing democratic backsliding, as the EU is reluctant to intervene in domestic politics, gives authoritarian governments funds which they can use to strengthen their regimes, and because freedom of movement within the EU allows dissenting citizens to leave their backsliding countries. At the same time, the union provides an external constraint that prevents soft authoritarian regimes from progressing into hard dictatorships.


See also

* Outline of the European Union * Special member state territories and the European Union * List of country groupings * List of multilateral free-trade agreements * Euroscepticism * Pan-European nationalism * Brexit withdrawal agreement * European Union–United Kingdom free trade agreement


Notes


References


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External links



– Europa (web portal), official web portal
Historical Archives of the European Union

Eurostat – European Union Statistics Explained

CIA World Factbook: European Union
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
The European Union: Questions and Answers
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