The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 member countries. Started off as the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Economic Committee. It was originally formed by the inner six, which comprises of France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, and the Netherlands. It operates through a hybrid system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental made decisions negotiated by member states. Represented in the United Nations, G8, and G-20. Developed a single market through a standardized system of laws, which applies to all the member states.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Important Institutions and Governance:
- European Commission- EU’s executive arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the day-to-day running of the European Union. Operates as a cabinet government, with 27 commissioners in areas of policy, but the commissioners must represent the issues of the European Union as a whole instead of the interests of their home states.
- European Council- Gives direction to the EU, meets at least four times per year. Sorts out disputes between member states and institutions, also attempts to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. It is occasionally described as the supreme political authority for the EU. It has a collective head of state and ratifies important documents.
- European Parliament- Half of the EU legislature, 736 members elected by EU citizens every 5 years. The European Union and Council pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure.
- Council of the European Union- Not to be confused with the European Council, the other half the EU legislature consists of government ministers from each member state and meets in different compositions depending on the area of policy that is being addressed. It additionally exercises executive functions in relation to the common foreign and security.