What Is The EU?

Cooperation between the EU member states is largely based on facilitating the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the EU, without customs duties or other obstacles. For this to function smoothly, the EU has created what is known as the internal market. The EU countries also cooperate in other areas such as the environment, agriculture, reception of refugees and fighting organised crime.

Anyone who is a citizen of an EU country has the right to travel, work and live in any other EU country. No country may give preference to its own citizens over citizens of another EU country. However, a country’s authorities may require that individuals staying more than three months in that country register themselves. In order to be able to register, it is necessary to provide proof of employment in the host country, or of sufficient other financial resources. It is also necessary to have the European Health Insurance Card as proof of health insurance coverage.

Purposes: (All of these apply only for the members of the EU)

Goods are to be sold on the same terms in all EU countries:

The member countries must not have any priority to its own country when it comes to goods or services. It must be possible to buy and sell all goods on the same terms throughout the EU. I think this is statement it’s very good because it will prevent that someone takes advantages. It really improves equality amongst the members.

Schengen is the EU’s passport union:

In essence it has eliminated all border controls within the Europe Union meaning that as a citizen of an EU country (or the four non-EU as above) you can roam freely from country to country. However if you are from outside the EU, for example the US, then you will need a Schengen Visa - however this does mean that you can then roam freely within the EU for the length of your visa.

Countries participating in a monetary union:

Approximately half of the EU member states are part of the EMU, also known as the monetary union. Within these countries the common currency – the euro – is used. The other EU countries have chosen to remain outside the monetary union, or fail to meet the requirements for participation. I actually believe that this regulation allows to make it easier for the countries to experience and understanding the different traditions between them.

Environmental policy for a better environment:

The EU has a common set of regulations on the environment since pollution in one country often has an impact on the environment in another. The regulations are designed to preserve, protect and improve the environment, to protect human health and to utilise our natural resources in the best possible way. Some examples include regulations on waste, air and water quality and the use of chemicals. The EU also has regulations that protect birds and endangered animal and plant species.

I like this one because it shows that the Political Agreements are not only focused on economy, and wealth, but they really care about the environment.

Cooperation to fight crime

The EU countries cooperate to fight cross-border organised crime. There are, for example, common regulations on terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography offences. Cooperation to combat crime also takes place between the member states’ police and prosecution authorities. Another proof of solidarity.

How it was formed?

After the Second World War, several European countries wanted to work together to prevent new wars. For this reason the European Coal and Steel Community was formed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany in 1952. This was the first step in the creation of the EU. 

At first the six countries decided to cooperate in the production of coal and steel. These were important raw materials in arms production and by cooperating in this way the countries wanted to prevent future wars between them. Another objective was to facilitate the reconstruction of their industries following the Second World War. This cooperation also meant that those employed in the coal and steel industries were free to work in any of the six countries.

I think that this unification it is a great agreement but it came too late, they should’ve done it before WW2, or even before WW1, in that case it would have prevented a lot of deaths and resentment amongst Europe.

Quotations of the two ex-enemies:

"With this step, the Union is finally overcoming the division of the European continent into east and west. The new and bigger Union will ... find a place in the world as a Europe of peace, solidarity and democracy."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

“The European Union is not only a large market, common policies, a single currency and a zone of free movements. It is above all a collective ambition, shared disciplines, the assertion of solidarity, the concern to naturally turn to your European family."

French President Jacques Chirac

I’m glad that these two countries which had been “archenemies" learnt to work together for the benefit of both.

Members of the EU: (Year of EU entry)

Austria (1995)

Belgium (Founding member)

Bulgaria (2007)

Cyprus (2004)

Czech Republic (2004)

Denmark (1973)

Estonia (2004)

Finland (1995)

France (Founding Member)

Germany (Founding Member)

Greece (1981)

Hungary (2004)

Ireland (1973)

Italy (Founding Member)

Latvia (2004)

Lithuania (2004)

Luxembourg (Founding Member)

Malta (2004)

Netherlands (Founding Member)

Poland (2004)

Portugal (1986)

Romania (2007)

Slovakia (2004)

Slovenia (2004)

Spain (1986)

Sweden (1995)

United Kingdom (1973)

And this is how it works:

The EU can only decide about issues that the member states have agreed to cooperate on. When there is an EU law on a particular matter, this law has precedence over the EU states’ own laws. EU decisions are often taken jointly by the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The European Court of Justice follows up the implementation of EU regulations ensuring that they are implemented in the same way in all EU member states and the European Court of Auditors scrutinises the EU’s finances.

Cooperation between the member states of the EU is based upon a number of treaties. These treaties take the form of intergovernmental agreements, which the member states have agreed upon. Included in the treaties is how decisions shall be taken and within which areas member states are to cooperate. On certain matters both the member states and the EU can take decisions. In other matters the member states may decide themselves.

This is how the decisions are taken:

The Commission presents a proposal.

The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers discuss the proposal.

The Council of Ministers takes a decision, sometimes together with the European Parliament.

The European Parliament takes part in the EU’s legislative process and monitors the Commission

The European Parliament is elected directly by the people in the member states every fifth year and has 736 members (MEPs).

The most important tasks of the Parliament are to:

* participate in the decisions made by the Council of Ministers on new EU regulations

* approve the EU budget together with the Council of Ministers

* approve the Commission and monitor its working procedures

* appoint the European Ombudsman, who receives and examines complaints from citizens.

Mostly the Parliament checks that everything is working well.

The most important things that I have learnt from this research were for example the importance of being tolerant to different cultures in order to work together and cooperate. Otherwise I also learnt about European Union, which at the beginning of this project I knew nothing at all.

This project made realize how this organizations work, and not only that but now I understand the weird terms that they use . For example here in Mexico, the government says, we will let you know all that it’s going on in the government and what we are doing with your taxes, and then you go and look for it on the internet or with your local major and they show you pages with complicated terms, and unexplainable charts, and you really do not understand anything, now, with a little bit of research you do can understand what they are talking.

Teacher, I know this might not seem enough information, but I’ll add a lot of images and explain most of the text, so my project will be like poster.

Living in America.

I think that one of the most difficult things to do when you move to a foreign country, it is to adapt.