See also: Europe (homonymy)
The European Union was born the February 7th 1992, during the signature of the Traité on the European Union with Maastricht by the twelve Member States of the European Economic community (the EEC). It is an intergovernmental and supranational union made up of 27 States of which the Bulgaria and the Romania which joined it on January 1st 2007.
The EU is the first economic power and commercial of planet with approximately 29,89% of the world GDP (the World Bank, Total GDP, 2006).
It is a construction of a new type, without preceding history, between different States but pertaining to same the Continent, the Europe (though the Limites of Europe are defined by cultural criteria as much as geographical, in particular in the case of Cyprus, which geographically belongs rather to the Asia). The European Union is a legal entity independent of the States which compose it and has clean competences (common Agricultural policy, fishing, marketing policy, etc), as well as competences which it shares with its Member States. She is recognized as being a International organization (as well as ALENA, MERCOSUR, ASEAN, etc) but with a clean political role more important than for the other international organizations, as well as a capacity of constraint on her members more important. On the economic plan, it has a Customs union, like for thirteen of its Member States, of a single currency, the Euro. The Union is thus a hybrid supranational structure impressed at the same time federalism and of intergouvernementalism.
PillarsThe treaty on the European Union, signed the October 19th 1992 and come into effect on November 1st 1993, bases the EU on three pillars, which are characterized by the mode from decision employed, according to the fields concerned:
- 1st pillar : the European Communities (in the plural), “heiresses” of ECSC, Euratom and the European Community (EC, in the singular, called in the past European Economic community, the EEC) instituted by the the Treaty of Rome and revised by the Single act. It is about a supranational pillar relating to the integrated policies (Common Agricultural policy, customs union, interior market, Euro, etc). For the matters concerned with this pillar, the Member States transferred a relatively great part of their competences to the European Union.
- 2nd pillar : the foreign Politics and of common safety (PESC), intergovernmental co-operation, foreign affairs safety. The whole of the rules relating to the PESC appears in the Title V of the treaty on the European Union.
- 3rd pillar : police and legal penal matter co-operation, intergovernmental co-operation. The matters concerned with the third pillar are commonly called matters JAI (Justice and Interior matters), even if the Traité of Amsterdam modified the name of Title VI of the treaty on the European Union to essentially give an account of the transfer of nonpenal matters (visas, asylum, immigration) in the first Community pillar.
The image of the pillar was essential on spring 1991, on the model of the ancient temple, the pediment, the European Union is supported by three pillars which give to the unit its stability and its balance. The the Treaty of Rome of 2004, which founded a constitutional treaty for the EU, after her signature by the heads of state and government the October 29th 2004, was not ratified by référundum by France and the Netherlands in the first half of 2005. A treaty " simplifié" referring in particular to the institutional part of the constitutional treaty draft, was approved by the 27 in 2007 with in the chair Angela Merkel. This new treaty will be the subject of a ratification by the Parliaments of 26 European states and by référundum in Ireland.
The European Union is thus a hybrid system in which, for certain fields, the States entirely yield their sovereignty to the Union, while, for others, the States prefer to have recourse to intergovernmental co-operations.
See also: detailed Amorce=Article, Euro
The Treaty of Maastricht ratifies in particular the creation of a currency known as single. The euro is the common currency of the 27 Member States of the European Union and the single currency of 13 of them, like, de facto, certain States and territories, like Kosovo or Monténégro.Tout country pertaining to the European Union can decide to adhere to the euro. The European Central bank located at Frankfurt is charged to manage its emission and to guarantee its value with respect to the other currencies, in particular the dollar. Put in circulation since January 1st, 2002 in its fiduciary form for the private individuals, but of use as of on January 1st, 1999 for the companies, it succeeded European Currency Unit (ECU), that is to say “the European Unit of Account”, brought into service in 1979.
The Member States of the European Union clearly distinguish it from the others International organizations. It is, by certain aspects, a confederation and, on other points, has characteristics of Federal state, so much so that one prefers to see often there an entity Sui generis , forming a category with it only and returning in no other. The question of its evolution is very discussed by the opinions and the governments of the Member States even if, since the High ranking authority, one can only note one increase in competences and the prerogatives of the Union, in spite of multiple crises which enamelled the project. The preamble to the constitution project begins again, for the people of Europe, a “ will to be plain in diversity ”, which is a call reiterated to continue the deepening of the Union and the series of the treaties which regularly extended its scope since its creation. A current called federalistic wishes its transformation into a Federal state with whole share. The choice to even write a constitution goes in this direction, although the document which establishes it remains Strictly speaking a treaty. If it comes into effect, the Union will be equipped with a legal personality (what is today the case only for only the European Community, one of the three pillars of the Union). Certain specialists in the public International law and the constitutional Law consider that the Union is right now a State which includes Sovereign states…
See also: Amorce=Voir the article on the, European Right
Institutional weight of the 27 Member Statesaccording to the treaty of valid Nice until 2014, date on which the modifying treaty will come into force (if ratified by all the members)
A minimum of 255 votes out of 345 (i.e. 73,9%) is necessary to constitute a qualified majority. Moreover:
- any decision must be approved by a majority (in certain cases of two thirds) of the Member States;
- any Member State can require confirmation which the number of favorable votes represents at least 62% of the total population of the EU.
See also: History of the European Union, Dates of the construction of the European Union
The shortly after the Second world war, the Europe breathless seeks a means of consolidating the Paix so dearly acquired. March 17th, 1948, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom sign in Brussels the Treaty of Western Union which envisages an economic material collaboration, social, cultural, and of collective self-defense. This treaty was competed with as of the following year by the creation of the NATO which includes a greater number of European countries, but also the United States and Canada still very largely present in Europe, which this first Treaty of defensive alliance of Brussels would not have made it possible to defend.
In same time, the principle of a plain Europe was posed, in particular under the impulse of the France and the Germany, even if the speech of the British Winston Churchill with Zurich were determining as well as the role of the countries of the Benelux and the Italy. The Europe then sought a model of integration which would put it forever safe from a new war. The idea was concretized by Robert Schuman, French Minister for the foreign affairs, in its speech of the May 9th 1950 inviting to put the coal and the Acier under a High ranking authority common to the France and the federal Germany. The choice from these two Economic sectors aims at establishing a guarantee of Paix: the iron and steel industry is highly strategic since closely related to the Industrie of the armament, dependant on its resource S.
the treaty instituting the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was signed the April 18th 1951 in Paris: the six countries founders (France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Italy) were intended to support the exchanges of Raw materials necessary to the iron and steel industry to accelerate the economic dynamic after the war, in order to equip the Europe with an autonomous capacity of Production. This treaty is the founding document aiming to the bringing together between the overcome winners and European ones, within Europe which in the long term would take its destiny in hand, independently of the influences external then considerable of the United States, via its Marshall plan, and this in spite of the attempt at dialog of this American help within OEEC.
This treaty expired on July 23rd 2002, became obsolete after the fusion of the executive bodies and legislative within the European Community which acquired the legal Personality, and the single treaty.
the failure of the CED: for memory, the May 27th 1952 is signed in Paris a Treaty instituting the “European Community of defense” (CED) allowing the rearmament of the West Germany within the framework of a “European army”… in period of “cold war”. Whereas the five other countries of ECSC had ratified the treaty, the August 30th 1954, the French Parliament rejected the ratification, because of the joint opposition of the gaullists and the Communists who refused a supranational army. The old Treaty of alliance of Brussels of 1948 is then modified in 1954 to create the Western European Union (UEO) which will be, until the Traité of Amsterdam, the only European organization to deal of defense and safety.
Although reinforcing the old treaty of alliance, the UEO will remain an entity symbolic system without being able nor real co-operation vis-a-vis the power of NATO especially at the time of the Cold war and the hardening of the Soviet mode in its zone of occupation in the east of Europe. Its principal role will remain however related to the development of the French and British autonomous nuclear forces (in particular after the business of the Suez Canal and of conflicts of decolonization of the two old colonial powers, ensuring the neutrality of the other European countries in these conflicts and avoiding leaving the defense of Western Europe to the only American control in NATO.
the the Treaty of Rome, signed the March 25th 1957 : “the six” countries decide to go further in the co-operation. The economic domains, but so political and social, are concerned. The goal is to lead economically to a “Common Market” allowing freedom of movement of the people, the goods and the capital. The European Economic community (the EEC) is the international entity, of supranational type, instituted by the Treaty of Rome, and obtains an autonomous capacity of financing, independent of the Marshall plan concerted in the OEEC. This treaty also founds a third European Community one indefinite duration, the Euratom or European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), between the members of the two other communities (original ECSC and the news the EEC.)
the Treaty Merger of the executives is signed in 1965 and amalgamates the executives (by the creation of the European commission and the European Council) of the three European Communities (ECSC, the EEC and Euratom), whereas these communities already have common institutions as regards Justice.
the European Single act is signed the February 17th 1986 by nine Member States, followed by Denmark (following the positive test of a referendum), Italy and Greece on February 28th, 1986. Entered in application on July 1st 1987 the purpose of, it was of redynamiser the European Construction by fixing the completion of the interior market in 1993. Allowing freedom of movement also capital and services. By this treaty, Community competences are extended to the fields of the Recherche, technological development, the environment and the industrial relations policy. The Single act devotes also the existence of the European Council bringing together the heads of state and government. It decides to reinforce the capacities of the the European Parliament by means of the “procedure of co-operation”. This treaty starts a common step as regards foreign politics as well as a co-operation as regards safety without it being carried reached neither with the Western European Union (UEO) nor with NATO. The UEO will find a role limited in the payment of peace in Europe in particular after the fall of Communism in Russia, the ethnic conflicts leading to the dismantling of the Yougoslave federation to died of Tito, and the UEO will manage to contain new conflicts in Albania and to pacify the revolutions in the European countries released in the East. However, these countries will not be long in joining NATO only able to defend them in the immediate absence of the single act.
the Traité of Maastricht is signed the February 7th 1992 and between in force on November 1st 1993. The European Union took the continuation of the Common Market and the European Economic community, become European Community (EC) by amalgamating the ECSC which expired in 2002. It marks a new stage in the process of union unceasingly narrower between the people of Europe. Now, the European policy is based on three pillars:
- 1st pillar: the communities (mainly the EC or Common Market , and Euratom);
- 2nd pillar: co-operation as regards foreign politics and common safety (PESC), even of common defense (PESCD);
- 3rd pillar: police and legal penal matter co-operation.
The Traité of Maastricht creates the European citizenship and makes it possible to circulate and reside freely in the Community countries, the right to vote and be elected in the State where one resides for the European and municipal elections.
It is decided to create “a single currency under the aegis of a European Central bank”. It will be the Euro.
The scope of the Community are extended, according to the principle of subsidiarity/substitution, with new fields: education, Professional training, Culture, Public health, Protection of the Consuming S, Networks transeuropéens of transport, Industrial policy, services (Water, energy) and Environment.
the Traité of Amsterdam is signed the October 2nd 1997 and between in force on May 1st 1999. Putting back on the three pillars of Maastricht, the treaty of Amsterdam affirms the principles of liberty, of democracy and respect of the human rights and proposes the installation of a space of freedom, safety and justice. It includes explicitly the principle of the Sustainable development. It poses the principle of the reinforced Coopérations allowing the countries which wish it to advance more quickly. It outlines the reform of the European Institutions for the adhesion of the Central European country and Eastern (PECO). It widens the list of the rights, of which it guarantees the respect: social rights, equality man-women, public services, reinforces the protection of the basic rights and prohibits any discrimination. A “high representative of the PESC” is named, assisted by a European Unit of planning of the policy and fast alarm. A protocol takes again the Principe of subsidiarity of the treaty THIS.
the Treated of Nice (agreement at the time of the Summit of Nice of December 2000) signed the February 26th 2001 and come into effect the 2003. This treaty, which was to reform the institutions of the Union for the adhesion of the PECO, arrived only partially to this objective. This treaty gives to the European Parliament reinforced a colegislator role. The right of recourse to the Court of justice of the Communities is wide. The treaty provides a legal base to the political parties of the Member States. In order to facilitate the decision-making process by the “qualified majority” with 27 new fields within the Council, the system of weighting of the voices is altered. The treaty of Nice improves the procedure relating to the implementation of the “reinforced co-operations”: the right to veto is removed, and the field extended to PESC including as regards defense.
The Charte of the basic rights was adopted during this Summit of Nice, but no constraining legal authenticity to him is recognized well that it was adopted by all the authorities of the Union. A “declaration on the future of the Union” was annexed to the treaty.
the constitutional treaty . Following work of the Convention on the future of Europe which it takes again for the majority, the European Council of the June 18th 2004 adopted a project of “European Constitution” which was signed with Rome the October 29th 2004. He gathers, enriches and clarifies the treaties founders. He integrates and would make juridically operative the “Charter of the basic rights” in Part II.
The Treaty of Nice, fixed the principles and the methods of evolution of the institutional system as Europe would widen. It defines a new distribution of the voices allotted in each State in the Conseil, as well as a redefinition of the qualified majority.
However, the system of decision provided for in this treaty is complex and privileges the countries with median demography like the Spain and the Poland compared to the other Member States. The risk of paralysis, which was the principal motivation of the treaty of Nice, thus remains present at present. This is why Convention proposed in its project to thus redefine the qualified majority: the necessary qualified majority is consisted of two thirds of the Member States, representing at least the three fifths of the population of the Union (Article 24-2).
The modifying Treated agreement at the time of the Summit of Lisbon . The European Council on June 23rd, 2007 in Lisbon, elected an intergovernmental Conference in order to adopt before 2009 the treaty known as simplified. This one preserves in particular fundamental constitutional treaty:
- legal personality of the Union
- the charter of the basic rights which acquires constraining force (except for RU)
- the provisions of participative democracy
- the following institutional changes:
- the creation of a stable Presidency of the European Council (for 2 years and half);
- the decision on the basis of majority double (even if the coming into effect is deferred to 2014 with possibility of asking for the weighting of Nice until 2017 + a safety net of the type compromised of reinforced Ioannina);
- the creation of an High representative for the foreign affairs, Member of the Commission and the Council of Ministers (with double cassette) and having a diplomatic service;
- relative tendencies at the Commission.
See also: Amorce=Voir, Principal changes between the Treaty of Rome of 2004 and the treaty of Nice
Impulses of France and Germany
See also: Amorce=Voir the article on the, Franco-German Friendship
Perhaps because of the number of wars (three in less than one century) which opposed them, the Franco-German initiatives seem astonishing. The Treated of the Elysium in 1963, officialized this Franco-German bringing together.
- Eurocorps, including one Franco-German Brigade, based in Germany;
- television channel Arte;
- Manual of history Franco-German commun run
- Franco-German Office for youth…
See also: Amorce=voir also, List of the areas of the European Union
who also comprises exclusions for certain geographical and historical reasons.
Another chart of the Convention countries
See also: Amorce=voir the general article of the, Geography of Europe
The majority of the territories of the European Union are on the continent of Europe. Because of its colonial past, Europe has also a certain number of non-European territories on all the continents of the sphere, with share Asia.
On the continent of EuropeThe Union extends since the parallel 35e in the Mediterranean until beyond polar circle in Scandinavia.
Several mountainous solid masses extend in the Union. The culminating point is reached with the Mount Blanc, in the the Alps. By decreasing order of altitude, one finds for example:
the the Alps (4 810 m) (totality except the Swiss Alps)
- the Teide on the island of Tenerife (3 718 m)
- the Sierra Nevada (3 480 m with the Mulhacén)
- the the Pyrenees (3 404 m with the peak of Aneto Spanish slope)
- the Sicily (3 350 m with the mount Etna, changing with the liking of the eruptions)
- the Rila 2.925 m with the Mussala
- the Mount Olympe with the Mitikas 2.918 m
- the Pirin 2.915 m with Vihren
- the Corsica (2 706 m with the Monte Cinto)
- the Carpates (2 655 m with the Mount Gerlachovský)
- the Crete (2 456 m)
- the Pico (2.351) of the the Azores
- the the Scandinavian Alps (2 111 m) (totality except the Norwegian Scandinavian Alps)
- the Massif Central (1 886 m with the Puy de Sancy)
- the Sardinia
- the the Jura (totality except the Swiss Jura)
- the Sudètes (1 602 m)
- the Black Forest (1 493 m)
- the Forest of Bavaria (1 456 m)
- the the Vosges (1 424 m)
- the Mounts Grampians (1 343 m)
- the Metalliferous Mounts (1 244 m)
- the Harz (1 142 m)
- the Fichtelgebirge (1 053 m)
- the the Jura souabe (1 015 m)
- the Forest of Thuringe (982 m)
- the Rhön (950 m)
- the Taunus (882 m)
- the Rothaargebirge (843 m)
- the Hunsrück (816 m)
- the Vogelsberg (773 m)
- the Eiffel (747 m)
- the the Ardennes (694 m)
- the the Westerwald (657 m)
- the Odenwald (626 m)
- the Armorican Massive (417 m)
A big number of islands is included in the European Union. Largest are Great Britain and Ireland. But the majority of the islands of the EU are at sea the Mediterranean.
- Great Britain
- Corsica Sardinia
- Balearic Islands
- the Canaries
- the Azores
- the lakes Vänern and Vättern (Sweden)
- the lakes Saimaa, Hauki and Suvas (lake plate of Finland)
- the Lake Peïpous, or lake of Tchoudes (Estonia/Russia; partly only in the EU)
- the Lake Balaton (Hungary)
- the Lake Léman (France/Swiss; partly only in the EU)
- the Lake of Constancy, or Bodensee (Germany and Swiss Austria/; partly only in the EU)
- the Lake Garda (Italy)
Country and territories out of the European Union wedged in this oneSome enclaves are contained in the Union; some are without access to the sea:
- the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (access to the sea)
- the Swiss and the Liechtenstein (not of access to the sea);
- the Western Balkans:
- the Croatia (access to the sea);
- the Albania (access to the sea);
- the Bosnia Herzégovine (access to the sea);
- the Serbia, including the Kosovo (not of access to the sea);
- the Montenegro (access to the sea);
- the old Yugoslav republic of Macedonia (not of access to the sea);
- Andorra (not of access to the sea)
- Monaco (access to the sea)
- two small landlocked States of the Italian peninsula
- the Vatican (not of access to the sea)
- San Marino (not of access to the sea)
Areas ultra-peripherals of the European Union on other continents and areas with specific statute in the EU
- in North America :
- in the Northern Atlantic Ocean: Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon
- in the the Caribbean: the French West Indies (the Martinique, the Guadeloupe, the island of Saint Martin's day (left French), the island of St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre)
- in South America : the French Guiana
- in Europe : Åland, Corsica community of
- in Occidental Asia : Cyprus (including the zones of British sovereignty, but not the Turkish autonomous region in the East of the island)
- in Africa :
- at the edge of the Mediterranean: Malta, autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla and other zones of Spanish sovereignty in Africa (uninhabited)
- in the Northern Atlantic Ocean: Madeira, the the Azores, the the Canaries
- in the Indian Ocean: the island of the Meeting, Mayotte
Autonomous territories or with special statute out of the European Union, dependant on country of the EU
- in North America :
- in the Northern Pacific Ocean: the island of Clipperton
- in the Northern Atlantic Ocean: the Greenland, the Bermuda
- in the Caribbean: the Dutch West Indies (left Dutchwoman Sint-Maarten, islands of Bonaire, Curaçao, Sheba, Saint-Eustace), Aruba, the Antilles British (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turkish islands and Caïques)
- in South America : the Falkland Islands (Falklands), the South Georgia and the islands Sandwich of the South
- in Europe : the Faroe Islands, and dependences of the British Crown associated with the United Kingdom (the island of Man, old the Anglo-Norman islands: baillage of Jersey, baillage of Guernesey and dependences)
- in Asia : part of Cyprus (Turkish zone), the British Territory of the Indian Ocean.
- in Africa :
- in the Southern Atlantic Ocean: the island Grey waxbill, the island of the Rise, the Archipelago Tristan da Cunha
- in the Western Indian Ocean: the Scattered islands (uninhabited, district of the TAAF)
- in Oceania :
- in the Southern Indian Ocean: several districts of TAAF (the islands Kerguelen, the islands Saint-Paul-and-Amsterdam, the islands Crozet)
- in the Southern Pacific Ocean: Wallis-and-Futuna, the French Polynesia, the New Caledonia, Pitcairn
- in the Antarctic (not recognized internationally): the Ad3elie coast (district of the TAAF), the British Territory of the Antarctic
Institutions and policy
The European Union is equipped with five institutions, which play each one a specific role:
- the the European Parliament, whose members are directly elected by the citizens of the Member States, has a Co-legislature role with the Council of the Union and vote only the budget;
- the European commission (driving of the Union and its executive body);
- the Conseil of the European Union (component legislative of the Union where the ministers by speciality meet, representing the governments of the Member States);
- the Court of justice (guaranteed respect of the legislation and at the same time creative of European right);
- the Court of Auditors (control committee of the correct and legal use of the budget of the Union).
Beside these five institutions, one finds six other bodies important:
- the European Council (it gives to the Union the impulses necessary to its development and the main trends of its policies)
- the Economic and Social Committee (it expresses the opinions of the civil society organized in the fields economic and social);
- the Committee of the Areas (it expresses the opinions of the local government agencies and regional);
- the European Central bank (it is responsible for the monetary policy and the management of the euro);
- the European Mediator (it treats the complaints of the European citizens for bad administration on behalf of the institutions or bodies of the Union);
- the European Investment Bank (it contributes to the realization of the objectives of the Union by financing investment plans);
In addition, the European Union is chaired by a country in turn for a six months period; it is what one calls the Rotating presidency
Mode of governorship
The governorship of the EU always oscillated between the model of the intergovernmental conference, where the States preserve the whole of their prerogatives, and the supranational model, where part of the sovereignty of the States is delegated to the Union.
In the first case, the Community decisions are in fact of the treaties between States which must thus be taken unanimously. This model, near to the principle of the traditional intergovernmental organizations, is defended by the current Eurosceptic. According to them, only the Heads of State have democratic legitimacy to represent their citizens. In fact thus the nations must control the institutions of the Union.
The second case is that of the federalistic current europhile and . They estimate that the institutions must represent the citizens directly. For them, with the widening of the Union with 25 Member States in 2004, then to 27 at the beginning of 2007, the methods of decision making within the institutions must be adapted in order to avoid any risk of paralysis.
Today the European Union uses a hybrid mode of governorship: the Council of Ministers is the representative of the States (for the decisions not requiring the unanimity, the voices of each State are however balanced by their demographic weights), and the Parliament the representative of the citizens.
The model of governorship of the Union is thus today one of the Enjeu X of the fights of influence between the various European institutions: Parliament, European commission and the Council of Ministers.
The documents produced by the Commission (in particular the White papers) and the treaties state certain principles. They govern many decisions:
- the increase in European Union strengthens peace between the nations members.
- Certain fields (of which the economy) are managed better at community level rather than national.
- In these fields the files are prepared by technicians (of the Commission assisted by lobbies).
- the economy is optimal in a " saving in marché" where the " is allowed; free competition and not faussée".
- the obstacles with competition and the trade are exceptions which it is a question of reducing.
- Debate on the European Union
- Debate on the European constitutional treaty
Processus of decision
See also: Amorce= See the articles on the, Decision-making process, Operation of the European commission
Two principles guide the Decision-making process S of the European Union since the Traité EU (1992): the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of proportionality. These principles are the subject of protocols annexed to the Traité of Amsterdam (1997).
the European commission is seen entrusted Right to take initiatives on the preparation of the majority of the Dossier S concerning the First pillar of the European Union (CAP, Euro,…), and this right with the Member States divides on the two other pillars.
the European Council allots to each Member State a number of voices (redefined in 2001 by the Traité of Nice), which determine the adoption or not voted laws. The European Constitution, pushed back by France by referendum in 2005, envisaged to modify this system of voice by a system of double qualified majority based on the population of each Member State (reinforcing the capacity of France).
Only body directly elected by the Citizen S of the Union, the the European Parliament acquired during the recent history an increasingly important weight: simple consultative body at the beginning, it acquired a reality capacity of Codécision to parity with the Council of Ministers for many files. In 2004, it even could influence the nomination of the European commission. Its representativeness remains however handicapped by the rates of abstention to the elections from the European deputies generally higher than those from the national elections.
The prélégislative activity of the European Union is the subject in theory of an alarm system of the French Parlement, according to the procedure of article 88-4 of the Constitution of 1958.
the president of the European commission takes part in the meetings of the European Council. At the conclusion of the Summits, the European Council writes conclusions which he addresses to the European commission.
the Commission has a monopoly of the right to take initiatives in the first pillar of the European Union which enables him to weigh in the formation of the acts of the Council of the Union and the Parliament. Article 250 TCE still increases the importance of this role: it stipulates that the Council of the Union “can take a note constituting amendment of the proposal only unanimously taking a decision”. The Council of the Union can thus deviate from the Commission proposal only unanimously, which sometimes confers on the Commission a role of conciliation between Member States.
the Parliament cannot propose laws (regulations and directives), but it can deposit amendments and use of its veto in certain fields. The Parliament sits in Brussels and Strasbourg
the monopoly of the right to take initiatives of the commission knows limits. The Parliament and the Council of the Union can ask the Commission which she legislates in a field. Moreover, within the framework of the second and the third pillars, the commission shares the right to take initiatives with the Member States.
the Council (of the ministers) of the European Union prepares the meetings of the European Council and adopts, with the European Parliament, the legal texts which will translate into actions the orientations fixed by the Heads of State or government.
the governments of the Member States will transpose these legislations in their States (checking of the transpositions by the European Court of justice)
DisputeThe European Union is sometimes décriée for its character insufficiently judged Démocratique, its opponents describing it as “Technocratie”. Certain parties Souverainiste S oppose the European Construction, or criticize it on this basis.
A report/ratio (sept.2006) of Bernard Carayon watch that in practice political control does not exist, apart from that which can exert the parliamentary Europeans. There is no formal structure of dialog between the European members of Parliament and the national members of Parliament. This report/ratio recommends that the Council of State is seized as for the legal contents of the texts under development, under its function of legal council of the Gouvernement.
See also: Souveraineté#Construction European, Sovereignty and European construction
Certain countries of the European Union grouped in order to advance together on joint projects in which other Convention countries do not wish to take part. These projects bear the name of Coopérations reinforced, and are clearly defined and subjected to conditions by the Constitution in the process of ratification.
Among the projects which do not concern all the members of the Union, one finds: Euro (it is however the common currency of the Union and only two Member States obtained a clause known as of opting-out ), Europol (police collaboration), the space Schengen (organization of freedom of movement of the goods and people), the Mécanisme of European rate of exchange, etc There exist moreover institutions which functions apart from the framework of the Union, like the European space agency.
Some consider, as a practitioner of the policy-fiction, that the possible failure of the ratification of the constitutional treaty would launch a new wave of co-operations reinforced between country eager to go from the front one. Among the countries quoted for possible closer co-operations, one quotes in general the France, the Germany, the countries of the Benelux, the Italy…
Relations with the European countries non-members
the European Economic space (EEE):
- created in 1994, it associates the Member States of the EU with three countries of the EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway). The Swiss , another member of EFTA, refused this adhesion after popular Votation. This space opened the European market with these three countries and prepares them with a possible adhesion (that the Norway refused twice by Référendum, in 1972 and 1994).
- Application of great freedoms of circulation to these three countries: n the other hand they must accept responsibility for the Community legal asset.
- the European Union concluded from the bilateral agreements with the Suisse.
Agreements with the small countries (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican but also of the territories like the island of Man, Jersey, Guernesey, the Faroe Islands).
To take again the formula of Jean Monnet, Europe was not made in one day, or in one year, it is an old idea which spent years to be concretized.
1957 : “Europe of the Six”: The current European Union is at the beginning the result of the will of the 6 countries founders. In 1957: the Germany, the Belgium, the France, the Italy, the Luxembourg and the Netherlands create the European Economic community (the EEC).
1973 : “Europe of the Last nines” Adhesion of the Denmark, the Ireland and the the United Kingdom.
1981 : “Europe of the Ten” the Greece enters in its turn the European Community.
1986 : “The Twelve” Adhesion of the Spain and the Portugal.
1990 : “The Twelve” Reunification of Germany (old the German Democratic republic forms part of the Twelve then)
1995 : “Europe of the Fifteen” Adhesion of the Austria, the Finland and the Sweden.
2004 : “Europe of the Twenty-five” Adhesion of Cyprus, Malta, of the Slovenia, the Poland, the Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Estonia, the Latvia, the Lithuania, the Slovakia.
2007 : “Europe of Twenty-seven” the Bulgaria and the Romania signed a Treaty of Accession in April 2005 which came into effect on January 1st 2007. The Slovenia adopts the euro.
For the future: if the Macedonia is candidate since 2004, the Croatia on the other hand, also candidate, saw the carryforward sine die of the opening of its negotiations of adhesion in 2005, because of a co-operation considered to be insufficient with the International penal court. The negotiations between the European Union and the Croatia finally began the October 3rd 2005.
The Turkey is a candidate, often disputed (initially for geographical reasons, for the not-recognition of Cyprus, non-observance of the Human rights…), to adhere to the European Union, in spite of a unanimous declaration in this direction, the Council of the Union as of December 1999 (with Helsinki).
See also: Amorce=voir articles on the, Widening of the European Union, Limiting of Europe
Foreign relations of the European UnionAugust 1st
The European Union has gradually obtained common mechanisms of action with other countries and continents, like within the international institutions. Thus the European countries express themselves with one voice in many circumstances in the debates in the United Nations and in a permanent way within OMC.
One of the original aspects of these foreign relations is the history of long life tied with the countries known as ACP (Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific), of which much was colonies of European countries (the Lome Convention, Accord of Cotonou, Partnership agreements economic being negotiated).
Economy of the EU
See also: Amorce=voir the principal article:, Economy of the European Union
the European Union is the first world economic power in 2006 with 29,89% of the world GDP (the World Bank, Total GDP 2006). It is thus the first agricultural power (1st world importer and 2nd exporter) with the United States, the first world power of services and the first industrial power of the world.
It is in the middle of the world exchanges while being:
- the first business partner of the United States,
- the first training partner of China,
- the first business partner of India,
- the first business partner of Russia,
- the first business partner of the country composing Mercosur
Budget and action plans of the EU
See also: Amorce=Voir the principal article:, Budget of the European Union
Each country takes part in the European budget, and receives assistances of the European Union according to its economic situation and the richness of its inhabitants.
It is the commission of Romano Prodi which proposed the budget for 2007 - 2013 (7 years), of 1025 billion euros - that is to say 1,24% of the GDP of the UE-, with the European Council, which refuses. In June 2005, Jean-Claude Juncker and the Luxembourg presidency proposes a compromise has 871 billion is 1,06% of the GDP, 20 countries accept, but the United Kingdom poses its veto to protect its “British Rabais” and to underline the cost of the CAP. In December 2005, the United Kingdom proposes a budget of 846,7 billion d'€ is 1,03% of the GDP of the Europe of the 25. In the 16 December 17th night, a median agreement is found with 862,3 Mds d'€ is 1,045% of the GDP.
Les successive tensions which reduced the proposal from 1025 billion (expert of the commission) to the 862,3 Mds of the final agreement, pushed by the British, finally seems to arrange all the “rich” countries of the EU (Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom) which build of their financial participation the largest part of the European budget. Injured countries being the 10 new Eastern European countries, which had to admit to see their hopes of assistance to the fall: none of these 10 countries not receiving a similar help have those granted to Ireland (388,7€/h.), Portugal (300,4€/h.), Spain (200,1€/h.) or Greece (378,5€/h.). The maximum going to the Lithuanians, 105,5€/h., and with the Malteses, 112,5€/h., coutumièrement around the 37,3€/h than receive the Poles.
The European Union has many action plans annual or multiannual in many fields, profiting each one from a community budget. Thus 2004 is the year of the sport.
Employment Policies of the EU
A collateral action until 1997: use and the unemployment absent of the treaties founders
The Treaty of Rome, founder of the European Economic community (the EEC) fixed like objectives the search for a “Economic progress and social balanced and durable” (title first, article B) and the installation of a “Close cooperation” between the Member States as for the relative questions in employment (Ill title, chapter first, article 118). It did not envisage, on the other hand, of specific instrument of fight against unemployment, certainly because the weakness of its level did not justify it.
The objectives by the European authorities is thus above all, within the favourable framework of the Single European market, to restore the competitiveness of the companies and to reabsorb imbalances between offer and demand for labor on the job market. They recommend a greater flexibility on the job markets of the Member States, the adjustment of the real wages according to the labor productivity, a handing-over in question of the mechanisms of compensation for unemployment, as well as a modernization of the systems of formation, that the recently held European Councils strongly encouraged.
The single European market, by allowing the lifting of the nontariff obstacles the intracommunity commercial exchanges, was to support a revival of the economic growth and, therefore, an improvement of the employment picture. The argumentation was founded on the report/ratio which evaluated, conversely, the cost of “Not-Europe”.
With white paper, for the first time employment becomes an element of concern for the European commission. Through this document, it identifies the factors of unemployment in Europe and counts, in glance, a list of recommendation.
At the time of the European Council of Essen, two principles were fixed: the search for a European strategy for the use and the fixing of indicative priorities gathered in an action plan for employment. This “strategy” of Essen was developed by the European Councils of Madrid (1995) and Dublin (1996).
The European Union has five structural bases, whose effects on employment are more or less direct: European regional development fund (FEDER); the Funds European of orientation and agricultural guarantee (EAGGF); the financial Instrument of orientation of fishing (IFOP); Funds of cohesion; funds of a company European (FSE) who, of the four funds, is the only one to be founded to combat unemployment. Create in 1958, the Funds of a company European, is intended to promote the user friendliness and the geographical and professional mobility of the workers, like facilitating the adaptation to the industrial changes and the evolution of the systems of production, in particular by training and the reconversion vocational.
Since 1997, European strategy for employment: treaty of Amsterdam and process of Luxembourg
The treaty of Amsterdam marks a deep change in the community approach of the questions of employment and unemployment. For the first time, the questions of employment are seen of attaching an importance equivalent to that of the other economic aspects of the Union: a title exclusively devoted to employment is integrated in the treaty. The European strategy for employment is not a Community policy, she encourages the co-operation as regards employment by the means of “good practices which constitute instruments of qualitative evaluation and reciprocal influence of the States the ones towards the others; she supports convergence by laying down common objectives.
In November 1997, the extraordinary summit on the use of Luxembourg concretizes the orientations of the treaty of Amsterdam, within the European strategy of employment (SEE). The Member States are invited to reclassify their existing policies within the four pillars of the SEE: to support the employability (capacity of professional insertion); to develop the company spirit; to encourage the capacity of adaptation of the companies and their workers; to reinforce the policies of equal opportunity.
For the first time in the history of European construction, the Member States lay down common targets in precise figure to reduce unemployment. Each government preserves the responsibility for its Employment Policy.
Managements and labor will take part in all these stages of analysis and of formulation, a preparatory meeting will be held every six-month period before the meeting of the Council to carry out an exchange of views on the implementation of the Community Charter of the fundamental social rights of the workers of 1989.
The annual cycle of coordinated implementation and follow-up of the national policies of the employment, known under the name of process of Luxembourg, includes/understands an adaptable annual program of planning, follow-up, analysis and readjustment.
To the process of Luxembourg were added the processes of Cardiff (comprehensive approach of the structural reforms of the markets of the goods, services and capital) and the process of Cologne (respect of the independence and the autonomy of all the speakers of the salary negotiations and the monetary policies), whose integration owes, according to the Commission, to reinforce the strategy for employment in order to make succeed structural reforms and modifications, pledges of a competitive company spirit and promotion of the still latent potential of employment in many sectors and country of the European Union. The employment level is not regarded any more as the resultant of the elimination of the dysfunctions and rigidities of the markets (work, well, capital), but the integration of the reforms on these three markets east, for the European authorities, the condition of the improvement of the employment picture in the Member States of the European Union.
The four fundamental pillars of the European Strategy of employment are declined in the form of guiding lines for employment, which form the concrete transposition in the national policies of the common objectives defined at community level. They are adopted by the Council on Commission proposal and structure the National plans of action for employment (PNAE) worked out by each Member State, according to the principle of subsidiarity.
The National plan of action for employment (PNAE) is a document presented each year by all the Member States. He answers the objections and/or remarks addresses the Member State on the basis of Plan of the previous year. The whole of the PNAE is the subject of an annual review expressed in the “Report/ratio united on the employment”, which makes recommendations with the Member States - initially in total form, then State by State.
See also: Armorce=voir the principal article:, Demography of the European Union
See also: Amorce=Pour information to more see the articles according to, Immigration policy in the European Union, Mobility in the European Union, Cities of the European Union of more than 100.000 inhabitants
Main citiesThe metropolises of London and Paris and conurbation the Rhine-Ruhr constitute the three only urban surfaces of more than 10 million inhabitants who account European Union. Come then conurbation from Randstad (Amsterdam/Rotterdam/$the Hague/Utrecht) and the agglomeration of Madrid, with more de 6 million inhabitants, then twenty agglomerations whose population lies between 2 and 5 million inhabitants (see table below - in bold characters, population of the cities alone of more than 1,5 million inhabitants ).
Three other cities count a little more than one million inhabitants without constituting agglomerations of more than 1,5 million inhabitants:
- Sofia (Bulgaria)
- Prague (Czech Republic)
- Dublin (Ireland)
the European Flag, a circle of twelve gold stars on blue bottom. The stars, represent the people of Europe, and form a circle as a sign of union. They are with the invariable number of twelve, symbol of the perfection and plenitude in the tradition Greek antique, and not, as one could believe it, the twelve countries who formed then part of the EEC, of 1986 to 1995. The flag was adopted the November 8th 1955 by the Committee of the Ministers for the the Council of Europe, expressing the wish to see the other European organizations adopting this same symbol. The the European Parliament takes of it the initiative at the time of a motion for a resolution in 1979, following the first elections of the Parliament to the universal direct suffrage, whereas it sat in buildings of the Council of Europe with Strasbourg where floated already says it European flag. This resolution is adopted in 1983, confirmed by the Council of Ministers in June 1985 and application in 1986, in all the Community institutions;
- the European Anthem: the Ode with the joy, melody drawn from the 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1823), whose arrangement of Herbert von Karajan was retained by the Council of Europe like official European anthem in 1972;
- the May 9th, the Day of Europe, which commemorates the Déclaration Schuman, the May 9th 1950, regarded as the birth certificate of European construction;
- the European single currency: the Euro (€), since January 1st 1999 (materialized since 2002). Additional European characteristic: the euro is the currency of certain countries of the EU and the common currency of the Union, but not of each Member State;
- the Currency of the European Union In varietate concordia (Latin expression meaning “Plain in diversity”) proclaimed official currency the May 4th 2000 by the the European Parliament (will become the European currency only at the time of the coming into effect of the the Treaty of Rome of 2004). It was chosen by a regrouping of young Europeans.
See also: Amorce=Voir articles on:, Official languages of the European Union, Languages in the European Union, Political linguistics of the European Union
From the four official languages of the beginnings of ECSC (French, German, Italian and Dutch), the European Union has from now on twenty-three official languages and three Alphabet S for twenty-seven States (list within the framework). The Irish, “first national language” of the Ireland, profited moreover between 1973 (coming into effect of the Treaty of Accession) and 2007 from a special statute (translation of the treaties and right to be used in the correspondence with the Union): it became at January 1st 2007 a working language without becoming for as much an official language.
But with each widening, the tension is strong, including out of linguistic matter, because not only of the additional difficulties of translation and interpretation but also to satisfy national susceptibilities. The Treaty of Accession of Austria (official language: German) includes/understands a list of Austrian terms thus specifically . The Croatian and, later undoubtedly, will the Serbe be treated like two languages different or a Diasystème from a common language? Languages minority but more spoken in the Union that the Maltese or Irish, feel forsaken or been unaware of (it is the case in particular Catalan, Basque, Russian of the Baltic States, Turkish spoken by the Cypriot ones, even of the Luxembourg). Ireland wishing for its part to prevent that the national language is put on the same plan as regional or minority languages, the government indicated that it could in the future claim for Irish a statute of official language, without however requiring the translation of the whole of the documents in this language (claim which will be partially reached in 2007, cf supra ). In addition, the translation in Maltais is still very incomplete in 2005 because of the enormous encountered material difficulties.
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