European Union

Article

January 21, 2022

The European Union (EU) is a sui generis politico-economic union of twenty-seven European States which delegate or transmit by treaty the exercise of certain powers to Community bodies. It extends over a territory of 4.2 million square kilometers, is populated by more than 446 million inhabitants and is the second largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP behind the United States and ahead of China. . The European Union has been governed by the Treaty of Maastricht (TEU) and the Treaty of Rome (TFEU), in their current version, since 1 December 2009 and the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. Its institutional structure is partly supranational and partly intergovernmental: the European Parliament is elected by direct universal suffrage, while the European Council and the Council of the European Union (informally the "Council of Ministers") are composed of representatives of the Member States members. The President of the European Commission is elected by Parliament on a proposal from the European Council. The Court of Justice of the European Union is responsible for ensuring the application of European Union law. The declaration of 9 May 1950 by Robert Schuman, then French Minister for Foreign Affairs, is considered to be the founding text of European construction. Under the impetus of political figures nicknamed the "fathers of Europe", such as Konrad Adenauer, Jean Monnet and Alcide De Gasperi, six States created the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. After the failure of a European Defense Community in 1954, a European Economic Community (EEC) was established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome. Economic cooperation was deepened by the Single European Act in 1986. In 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht took over from the Single Act and established a political union which took the name of European Union and which provided for the creation of a economic and monetary union with a single currency: the euro (€). Established in 1999, the euro zone had nineteen states in 2017. New institutional reforms were introduced in 1997 and 2001. Following the failure of a draft European constitution after the refusal by referendum of the French peoples and Dutch institutions were again reformed in 2009 by the Treaty of Lisbon to incorporate the measures provided for in this draft constitution. Since the formation of the EEC, the number of Member States has increased from 6 to 27. The founding members of the European Economic Community, in 1957, are Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. They were joined in 1973 by three members of the European Free Trade Association: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Union expanded towards the south with first the accession of Greece in 1981, then that of Spain and Portugal in 1986. Meanwhile, in 1985, Greenland decided to withdraw by ratifying the Greenland Treaty and now has the status of an associated overseas country and territory. With the end of the Cold War, the eastern part of Germany joined the European Economic Community in 1990. In 1995 the European Union included neutral states: Austria, Finland and Sweden. In 2004, ten new States, mostly from the Eastern bloc, were added to the fifteen already members: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Czechia. Two additional States, Bulgaria and Romania, completed this fifth enlargement in 2007. In 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the Union. Finally, in 2020, the United Kingdom leaves the Union following a referendum of British citizens. Because of its "contribution to the promotion of

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