The European Union

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The European Union (EU) was established in order to prevent the horrors of modern warfare, experienced by most of Europe during the World Wars of the 20th century, from ever ensuing again, by aiming to create an environment of trust with the countries of Europe cooperating in areas such as commerce, research and trade (Adams, 2001). The EU has evolved into an economic, trade, political and monetary alliance between twenty-eight European Member States. While not all Member States are in monetary union (i.e. share the currency of the euro), those that are form the ‘Euro-zone’ (Dinan, 2006). The EU can pass a number of types of legislation, with a regulation, act, or law, being the most powerful. Its ‘tricameral’ (European Union, 2007) legislative system consists of three bodies, thus ensuring that a balance is struck between the governments of the Member States (Council), the European Union (Commission), and the EU citizens (Parliament). The Council of Ministers is one of the most important decision-making bodies of the EU, deciding on those legislative measures to be taken at EU level, as opposed to domestic level (Europa, 2013). The Council is responsible for passing EU laws, often cooperating with the Parliament in doing so. It represents the interests of the Member States with regards to EU policy and legislation, consisting of ministers from the governments of the Member States. For example, the Prime Minister (currently David Cameron) is representative of the UK. The Presidency of the Council is held by each country for six months (currently Belgium). Herman Van Rompuy (Belgium PM from 2008-2009) is the permanent President of the EU Council. Any international agreements or treaties between the EU and foreign countries are c... ... middle of paper ... ...ity in the 2015 General Election. The people of Scotland are in an interesting position, answerable to the Scottish and UK Parliaments and also the EU. Scotland has a devolved parliament which deals with many issues separately from the UK Parliament (remains sovereign). While the Scottish Parliament has little power over the EU, a European Committee communicates its views. If it separates from the UK in the September 2014 referendum and reverts to a sovereign independent state, an independent Scotland is also likely to become a member of the EU. The Scottish National Party (SNP) speaks of an independent Scotland in Europe and has stated that Scotland would remain part of the EU under a SNP government (BBC News, 2014). However, the point of Scottish independence is cast into doubt if Scotland is to automatically give away some of that independence to the EU.

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