The European Union
What’s the European union?
The European Union, or European Community (EEC) as it was known then,
was established in 1957. It was created to look at the economy of some
of the countries in Europe after the Second World War had dramatically
crippled it. The committee was set up so that it would be easier for
the countries to trade without too much trouble. This was called the
common market. It was also set up so that there would be a lasting
reconciliation between France and Germany (because obviously Germany
was the 'enemy'.) Another reason why it was set up was to develop some
kind of political union so that there would be less change on a World
War Three. So to summarise the European Union
is a union which has 15
countries that all try to work together to help trade, tourism, social
and environmental issues
. It is constantly coming up with new ideas
and rulings that make the country members of the EU nice places to
live. Europe without the EU would be a poorer place to live.
The benefits of joining the EU
There are several benefits for businesses and people:
-Can encourage trade between the member countries
-It can help the candidate countries to reduce the cost to firms
because no commission will be needed on exchanging money
-More competition because there will be an increase in trade and might
make firms lower costs and boost the economy.
-We should aware the fact that firms can take advantage of economies
of scale when they start to trade in one large market.
The costs of joining the EU
There are also many disadvantages too:
-They argue that the trade cycles of the countries from the EU may not
be sufficient enough to be in line with each other to support a single
-Members of the EU have also got to pay an amount each year towards
the EU budget. This can be a disadvantage, as it will decrease their
budget for the country.
-Domestic firms may suffer from competition because companies may
trade with other countries.
-There are worries that EU integration will cause a loss of economic
control, as it will lose individual countries’ identity, especially if
they join the EURO as well.
Countries in the EU
Belgium 1957, France 1957, Netherlands 1957, Germany 1957, Italy 1957,
Luxembourg 1957, Denmark 1973, Ireland 1973,UK 1973, Greece 1981,
Portugal 1986, Spain 1986, Austria 1995, Finland 1995, Sweden 1995,
Hungary 2004, Poland 2004 ,Czech Republic 2004, Slovak Republic 2004,
Slovenia 2004, Estonia 2004, Latvia 2004, Lithuania 2004, Malta 2004
What's EU Enlargement?
On the 1 May 2004 the EU grew from 15 to 25 members.
This was the largest growth of the Union since it begun.
There were a lot of news stories in the UK about whether or not the
enlargement would benefit the UK. Some people were worried that
workers in the new member states would move to Britain to get
The euro is the single currency of the European Monetary Union, which
was adopted by 11 Member States from 1 January 1999. The 11 Member
States are Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland. Greece
became the 12th Member State to adopt the Euro on 1 January 2001. The
name "euro" was chosen by the European Heads of State or Government at
the European Council meeting in Madrid in December 1995.
The EU History
1952 Six countries - Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of
Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - create the European
Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) by pooling their coal and steel
resources in a common market controlled by an independent
1958 The Rome Treaties set up the European Economic Community (EEC)
and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), extending the
common market for coal and steel to all economic sectors in the
1973 The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark join the European
1979 The European Parliament is elected, for the first time, by
direct universal suffrage and the European Monetary System (EMS)
1981 Greece becomes the 10th member state.
1985 The program to complete the Single Market by 1992 is launched.
1986 Spain and Portugal become the 11th and 12th member states.
1989 The Madrid European Council launches the plan for achievement of
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
1990 Treaty on European Union signed in Maastricht and sent to member
states for ratification. First referendum in Denmark rejects the
1991 The EU and the 7-member European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
form the European Economic Area, a single market of 19 countries. The
EU completes membership negotiations with EFTA members Austria,
Finland, Norway and Sweden.
1992 Austria, Finland and Sweden join the Union on January 1. Norway
fails to ratify accession treaty. EU prepares the 1996
intergovernmental conference on EU institutional reform.
2004 Ten more countries joined. Most of them are from Eastern Europe.
There are now 25 members.
2007 Two other countries are due to join bringing the total to 27
The future of the EU
I am pretty confident that more policies will be made within the EU. I
think people will become even more worried about our environment and
will make more rulings and laws that help protect the earth. Maybe new
rulings will be introduced now about global warming etc. What about
some rules about tourism? Perhaps some rules will be got rid of? If
countries start to find it hard to keep to policies or complain and
want the altered then maybe the EU will abolish them.
· As one of the world's largest trading powers, and as a leading
economic partner for most countries, the EU is a major player on the
world scene. Its scope for action extends increasingly beyond trade
and economic questions.
· More than 130 countries maintain diplomatic relations with the EU,
and the EU has over 100 delegations around the world.
· With 390m relatively high-income consumers, the EU is the most
important consumer market in the world.
· The EU enjoys a close relationship with the countries of Central and
Eastern Europe (so-called CEECs). The EU is spending almost $9 billion
over five years to help prepare nine CEECs to prepare for EU
membership. Since their independence in 1989, the EU has concluded
trade and cooperation accords with most CEECs and has been at the
forefront of the international effort to assist them in the process of
economic and political reform.
· The EU is also strengthening its links with the Mediterranean
countries, which will receive some $6 billion in EU assistance over
the next five years.
· The EU maintains special trade and aid relationships with many
developing countries. Under the Cotonou (formerly Lomé) Convention,
virtually all products originating from 77 ACP (African, Caribbean and
Pacific) countries enjoy tariff-free access to the EU single market,
as well as a stable export earnings program (STABEX) and considerable
· The EU is the largest donor of the humanitarian aid to the victims
of the conflict in former Yugoslavia and has played an active role in
the mediation effort.
· Through trade, the economies of the individual members are
increasingly dependent upon each other.
· The EU had a 40 percent share of world exports in1997; it nearest
rival, the North Free Trade Area consisting of the USA, Canada and
Mexico had 17 per cent.