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European Union

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member


states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic
Community (EEC) formed by six countries in the 1950s. In the following years
the EU has grown in size by the joining of new members. The Maastricht
Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993.

History
The origin of EU goes back to the period of Second World War in 1945. There
were frequent (lagatar) and bloody wars with the neighbouring countries. And
with the aim of ending these wars, EU was formed. As a first step towards it in
1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands came
together and formed the European Coal and Steel Community. This was done
with the vision to unite European countries economically and politically in
order to secure lasting peace. This removed the restrictions on coal, steal and
iron ore among these countries. These countries signed the treaty of Rome in
1957 thus creating EEC.
In 1973 countries Denmark, United Kingdom and Ireland joined the EEC
followed by Greece in 1981. In 1986 Portugal and Spain joined raising the
membership to 12.

By the mid of 1980 it was found out that the intent of “common market” was
not achieved and the were still some non tariff barrier like mobility of labour.
Thus a new market initiative was started in the year 1985 to turn custom
union in a common market and a “Single Market” act was signed in the year
1986. The intention was to remove all the remaining barriers and integrate the
market by 1992.

The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty
came into force on 1 November 1993, and in 1995 Austria, Sweden, and
Finland joined the newly established EU. In 2002, euro notes and coins
replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states. The year 2004 saw
the biggest success when 10 more countries joined the union and in 2007
Bulgaria and Rome joined the union raising the membership to 27.

Aim of EU
The important aims of EU are

 the promotion of peace and the well-being of the Union´s citizens


 an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers
 sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and
social justice
 a social market economy - highly competitive and aiming at full
employment and social progress
 a free single market
The European Union is built on institutional system which is one of its kind in
the world. The institution are as follows.

• Council of European Union


• European Parliament
• European Commission
• Court of Justice
• European of Central Bank.

Council of European Union


The Council is the EU's main decision-making body. It represents the member
states, and its meetings are attended by one minister from each of the EU’s
national governments. Which ministers attend which meeting depends on
what subjects are on the agenda. If, for example, the Council is to discuss
environmental issues, the meeting will be attended by the Environment
Minister from each EU country and it will be known as the ‘Environment
Council’. Each minister in the Council is empowered to commit his or her
government and is answerable to his or her national parliament and to the
citizens that parliament represents.
The Council has six key responsibilities:
1. To pass European laws – jointly with the European Parliament in many
policy areas.
2. To co-ordinate the broad economic policies of the member states.
3. To conclude international agreements between the EU and other
countries or international organisations.
4. To approve the EU’s budget, jointly with the European Parliament.
5. To develop the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), based
on guidelines set by the European Council.
6. To co-ordinate co-operation between the national courts and police
forces in criminal matters

European Parliament
The European Parliament (EP) is elected by the citizens of the European Union
to represent their interests. Elections are held every five years, and every EU
citizen is entitled to vote, and to stand as a candidate, wherever they live in
the EU.
Parliament has three main roles:
1. Passing European laws – jointly with the Council in many policy areas.
The fact that the EP is directly elected by the citizens helps guarantee
the democratic legitimacy of European law.
2. Parliament exercises democratic supervision over the other EU
institutions, and in particular the Commission. It has the power to
approve or reject the nomination of commissioners, and it has the right
to censure the Commission as a whole.
3. The power of the purse. Parliament shares with the Council authority
over the EU budget and can therefore influence EU spending. At the end
of the procedure, it adopts or rejects the budget in its entirety.

European Commission
The Commission is independent of national governments. Its job is to
represent and uphold the interests of the EU as a whole. It drafts proposals for
new European laws, which it presents to the European Parliament and the
Council.
It is also the EU’s executive arm – in other words, it is responsible for
implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. That means
managing the day-to-day business of the European Union: implementing its
policies, running its programmes and spending its funds.
The European Commission has four main roles:
1. to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council;
2. to manage and implement EU policies and the budget;
3. to enforce European law (jointly with the Court of Justice);
4. to represent the European Union on the international stage, for example
by negotiating agreements between the EU and other countries.

Court of Justice
The job of court of Justice is to make sure that EU legislation is interpreted and
applied in the same way in all EU countries, so that the law is equal for
everyone. It ensures, for example, that national courts do not give different
rulings on the same issue.
The Court is composed of one judge per member state, so that all 27 of the
EU’s national legal systems are represented. For the sake of efficiency,
however, the Court rarely sits as the full court.