Reading: European Union
What is the European Union?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of certain countries in Europe. Since July 2013, there are 28 member states in the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The EU has grown out of 3 communities founded after World War II to establish peace and prosperity in Europe. The European Coal and Steel Community was set up in 1951, the European Atomic Energy Commission was founded in 1957 and the European Economic Community was also founded in 1957.
The fundamental laws of the EU are set out in the various treaties agreed and ratified by the member states. A treaty is ratified when it is formally accepted by the member state.
The most important treaty is the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community in 1957. Since the Treaty of Rome, the following treaties have been agreed and ratified by all the Member States: the Merger Treaty in 1967, the Single European Act in 1986, the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty) in 1992, the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, the Treaty of Nice in 2002 and the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.
The European Union has 4 main aims:
- To establish European citizenship. This means protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
- To ensure freedom, security and justice. This means co-operation in the field of justice and home affairs.
- To promote economic and social progress. This involves the single market, the euro, environmental protection and social and regional development.
- To assert Europe’s role in the world.
The European Union is run by 5 main institutions:
- a) The European Parliament
- b) The Council of the European Union
- c) The European Commission
- d) The Court of Justice
- e) The Court of Auditors
There is also the European Council which defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities.
Under Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union any European country may apply for membership if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them. A country wishing to join the EU submits a membership application to the Council of the European Union which asks the European Commission to assess the applicant’s ability to meet the conditions for membership. If the Commission’s opinion is positive, the Council of the European Union must then agree upon a negotiating mandate. Negotiations are then formally opened.
Joining the EU
Under Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union any European country may apply for membership if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them. A country wishing to join the EU submits a membership application to the Council of the European Union which asks the European Commission to assess the applicant’s ability to meet the conditions for membership (Copenhagen criteria) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. If the Commission’s opinion is positive, the Council of the European Union must then agree upon a negotiating mandate. Negotiations are then formally opened.
Leaving the EU
Under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union any member state may decide to withdraw from the EU. The member state must notify the European Council of its intention. The EU must negotiate an agreement with the member state, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the EU. The agreement is negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union .
The agreement is concluded on behalf of the EU by the Council of the European Union, if it has the approval of a qualified majority of the member states, not including the member state that is leaving. The qualified majority must be at least 72% of the members of the Council of the European Union and representing at least 65% of the population of the member states.
The EU treaties cease to apply to the member state from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, if there is no agreement, 2 years after the original notification unless the European Council unanimously decides to extend this period.
On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the EU. The UK leaving the EU is known as ‘Brexit’ (short for ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’).
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#1: The European Union reading in the Europe Module explains what the EU is and what it takes to join or leave it. In the Additional Readings: European History, the article, “Brexit: All you need to know about theUK leaving the EU” details facts pertaining the UK’s plans for leaving. Use those two articles to answer the question:
Question to Answer:
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW WILL LEAVING THE EU AFFECT THE UK, THE REST OF EUROPE, AND THE UNITED STATES?
Remember that your response should be your opinion using facts from the articles to support your response.
Cultural forces continually apply pressure on a country. Some of these cultural forces pull the nation together (centripetal forces) and others pull it apart (centrifugal forces).
Question to Answer:
USING THE POWER POINTS LOCATED IN “LEARNING ABOUT EUROPE” EXPLAINAT LEAST 4 CENTRIPETAL FORCES AND 4 CENTRIFUGAL FORCES THAT AFFECT THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE. FOCUS ON EUROPE AS A WHOLE, AND NOT ON ANY ONE COUNTRY.
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