European Union

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Introduction and Overview of the European Union
– The EU is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states primarily located in Europe.
– The EU has a total area of 4,233,255km (1,634,469sqmi) and a population of over 448 million.
– It is often described as a sui generis political entity, combining characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.
– The EU generated a nominal GDP of around US$16.6 trillion in 2022, constituting approximately one sixth of global nominal GDP.
– All EU states, except Bulgaria, have a very high Human Development Index according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Objectives, Policies, and Institutions of the EU
– EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market.
– The EU enacts legislation in justice and home affairs and maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.
– Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area.
– The eurozone is a group of 20 EU member states that have fully implemented the economic and monetary union and use the euro currency.
– The EU has developed a role in external relations and defense through the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
– EU decision-making bodies include the European Parliament, European Council, Council of the European Union, European Commission, Court of Justice of the European Union, European Central Bank, and European Court of Auditors.

Historical Background and Establishment of the EU
– Ideas of European unity gained momentum after World War I and its aftermath.
– The oldest organization for European integration, the Paneuropean Union, was founded in 1923.
– The question of what to fight against and what for during World War II led to discussions on European integration.
– European integration was seen as an antidote to extreme nationalism that caused the war.
– Calls for a European Union were reiterated by Winston Churchill in 1946.
– The EU was established with the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 and became an international legal juridical person with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.
– The EU’s beginnings can be traced back to the Western Union, the International Authority for the Ruhr, the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community.
– Various treaties, such as the Modified Brussels Treaty, the Merger Treaty, the Single European Act, the Treaty of Amsterdam, and the Treaty of Nice, have expanded the EU’s power and policy areas.
– In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Recent Developments and Future Prospects
– The United Kingdom became the only member state to leave the EU in 2020.
– Ten countries are aspiring or negotiating to join the EU.
– The EU maintains permanent diplomatic missions worldwide and represents itself in international organizations like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
– The EU has been described by some scholars as an emerging superpower due to its global influence.
– The EU continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
– UK’s withdrawal from the EU in 2020
– Denmark abolishes one of its opt-outs
– Croatia adopts the Euro
– EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the Next Generation EU program
– Imposition of heavy sanctions on Russia and military aid to Ukraine following the invasion attempt

Governance and Decision-making in the EU
– Member states retain all powers except those delegated collectively to the Union.
– Exclusive competence and mandate awarded to the Union in certain fields.
– EU and member states share competence to legislate in some areas.
– EU can only coordinate and support member state action in other policy areas.
– Executive branch consists of the European Council and European Commission.
– Legislative branch includes the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
– Judicial branch is represented by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
– European Council presidency rotates between member states every six months.
– President of the European Commission is elected by the European Council.
– President of the European Council represents the EU.Summary:

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
European Union (geographical name)
economic, scientific, and political organization consisting of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, & Romania
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European Union