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The European Union. The European Union: An Introduction . A Union of sovereign European states, joining their respective authority into one cohesive economic and political state Most of Europe has come together to form an International Community in order to deal with today’s growing problems.

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the european union an introduction
The European Union: An Introduction
  • A Union of sovereign European states, joining their respective authority into one cohesive economic and political state
  • Most of Europe has come together to form an International Community in order to deal with today’s growing problems

27 Countries have joined the E.U. thus far: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.

the european union objectives
The European Union: Objectives
  • The E.U. has many goals:

- promote peace inside and outside E.U.

- provide member states with common economic markets

- provide freedom of travel of goods and ideas throughout E.U.

- celebrate and promote cultural diversity

the european union a brief history
The European Union: A Brief History
  • Founded as ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) and then EEC (European Economic Community) in 1957 order to keep peace between France and Germany
  • Designed to provide a common marketplace for Europeans to sell their goods.
  • Changed the name to E.U. in 1993 with Maastricht Treaty.
  • In 1999, some countries began using the new currency: the Euro.

Assembly of European Coal and Steel Community

Euro notes and coins

  • In accordance with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, the E.U. is composed of three Pillars:

- The European Community

- The Common Foreign and Security Policy

- Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

(Matters in the second two pillars largely left to individual states)

1 st pillar european parliament
1st Pillar: European Parliament

European Parliament

  • European Parliament made up of 785 democratically elected Members (MEPs)
  • Makes up half of the E.U.’s bicameral legislative branch
  • Responsible for voting on legislation, but cannot introduce it themselves
  • Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium

U.S. House of Representatives

Spanish MEP, Miguel Medina Ortega gives a speech

1 st pillar council of the european union
1st Pillar: Council of the European Union

Council of the European Union

  • Also known as the Council of Ministers
  • Comprised of Prime Ministers of all member states
  • Composes other half of legislative branch and also cannot introduce legislation (pertaining to 1st Pillar)
  • Headed by a President elected every 6 months

U.S. Senate

Council President and Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek

1 st pillar the european commission
1st Pillar: The European Commission
  • Made up of 27 Commissioners chosen by the Council and approved by the Parliament
  • Each member state has one Commissioner who is obligated to act in the interests of the E.U.
  • Makes up the executive branch of the E.U.
  • Responsible for proposing legislation, and keeping treaties

Commission President, Jose Miguel Barroso

European Commission

Commission President

U.S. Executive Branch

President of the U.S.

1 st pillar european high courts
1st Pillar: European High Courts

Court of First Instance

  • Composed of two high courts:

- Court of First Instance

- European Court of Justice

  • Each are composed of 27 Judges, one from each member state
  • The ECJ is the Highest Court in Europe
  • Practice Civil as opposed to Common Law

U.S. Federal Courts

CVRIA, symbol for the E.U. High Courts

ECJ Courthouse in Luxembourg

European Court of Justice

U.S. Supreme Court

2 nd pillar common foreign and security policy
2nd Pillar: Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Foreign Policy

- CFSP responsible for administering foreign aid, peace-keeping and oversight of human rights

  • Security Policy

- member states responsible for own defense

- CFSP works in conjunction with NATO in times of conflict

- encourages nuclear disarmament

Common Foreign and Security Policy

U.S. State Department

E.U. CFSP High Representative

Javier Solano

3 rd pillar police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
3rd Pillar: Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters
  • PJC responsible for:

- combating terrorism

- helping to minimize racism and xenophobia

- fighting drug cartels and organized crime

  • Also responsible for:

- cooperating with state law enforcement to make sure criminals are brought to justice

Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

U.S. Justice Department & FBI

Headquarters of the E.U. Police (Europol), The Hague

comparisons to illinois overcoming fraud
Comparisons to Illinois: Overcoming Fraud
  • Recently, the Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was charged with several counts of fraud and corruption, and was removed by the legislature
  • A similar situation occurred in 1999 when the European Parliament accused the Commission of Jacques Santer of fraud and budgetary mismanagement
  • A Committee of Independent Experts was assembled to investigate inconsistencies in 1996 budget
  • Committee found a handful guilty of wrongdoing, and the rest of being unwilling to take responsibility.
  • On March 15, 1999, Santer Commission resigned
  • The following Commission enacted policy outlawing fraud and setting up oversight office (OLAF)

Head of the E.U. Commission 95-99, Jacques Santer

Rod Blagojevich

  • Although the Blagojevich scandal was a black eye for Illinois, I believe the speedy response of the State Legislature and of now-Governor Pat Quinn spared Illinois from any lasting infamy.
european agricultural practices
European Agricultural Practices
  • E.U. has strict regulations for agricultural quality control, treatment of livestock and restriction of genetically modified organisms
  • The E.U. promotes Common Agricultural Policy
  • Most of E.U. land is arable farmland
  • E.U. is devoted to preserving Europe’s ecology in addition to agriculture

Map of High Nature Value Farmland within the European Union

common agricultural policy
Common Agricultural Policy
  • CAP has several objectives:

- increase productivity

- stabilize markets

- preserve traditional agriculture

- secure availability and price of goods

  • Responsible for 46.7% (2006) of E.U. spending (EPHA)
  • Criticized for rewarding large farms instead of subsistence farms

CAP Logo

Breakdown of E.U. budget in 2006. Agriculture = 47%

genetically modified organisms
Genetically Modified Organisms
  • E.U. does not accept U.S. biologically modified corn or soybeans.
  • While these crops are more efficient and resistant to pests, many raise concerns about their safety.
  • The E.U. has sponsored the Co-Extra program to investigate coexistence of GM and non-GM crops.
  • The use of bovine growth hormone is banned by the European Union.

Co-extra, an E.U. panel on the research and safety of GMOs

Bovine growth hormone is banned in the E.U. as it is unhealthy to cows. Many raise concerns that feeding livestock antibiotics leads to more resistant bacteria in humans.

comparisons to illinois agriculture
Comparisons to Illinois: Agriculture
  • Like the European Union, Illinois is almost 80% farmland (Dept of IL Ag)
  • Illinois is the second leading producer and exporter of maize and soybeans in the country
  • Illinois is the birthplace of modern agriculture: John Deere invented the steel plow here in 1837.
  • The State recently launched an initiative to provide subsidies to local markets to encourage domestic sales. (Dept of IL Ag)

Map of High Value Farmland in Illinois

Deere’s steel plow enabled more efficient farming in hilly, rocky areas like Greece, Sicily and Spain

illinois and the e u controversy
Illinois and the E.U.: Controversy
  • Illinois is a proponent of GM crops, while the E.U. will not accept them
  • E.U. Co-Extra Panel found that GM and non-GM can coexist but may still be unsafe
  • CAP forces food prices too high and costs to much for its output (46.7% of budget vs. 3% of GDP)
  • Possible solutions for policy makers:

- Illinois and the U.S. must reduce dependence on GM crops and end conversion of corn into ethanol

- U.S. must ban bovine growth hormone

- E.U. must further explore GM crops that have been deemed “safe”

- CAP must be reworked so that most subsidies do not go to large commercial farms

Morrow Plots at the University of Illinois, first experimental test field

euratom and nuclear power
Euratom and Nuclear Power
  • Euratom originally set up by Treaty of Brussels in 1967 to combat a Middle East oil embargo
  • Currently makes up 30% of the E.U.’s non-imported energy
  • However, it imports 97% of its uranium (EU energy)
  • France is by far the leading consumer of nuclear power in the E.U.

Steam cooling towers

Locations of nuclear facilities in and around France

dependence on fossil fuels
Dependence on Fossil Fuels
  • Coal makes up more than 20% of E.U.’s non-imported energy (EU energy)
  • E.U. still imports 55% of its total energy, 85% of which in the form of oil and natural gas
  • E.U. plans to phase out 20% of fossil fuels by 2020 and 50% by 2050
  • Availability of fossil fuels is uncertain following uneasiness with largest supplier, Russia

E.U. Commission President, Jose Miguel Barroso with Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin

renewable energy
Renewable Energy
  • Renewable energy sources currently make up 14.6% of non-imported energy, or 7% of E.U.’s total (wikipedia)
  • The E.U. plans for large-scale wind energy, solar energy and bio-fuel projects called the Strategic Energy Technologies Plan
  • Finally, they plan to make the energy grids throughout smarter and more streamlined.

An ambitious energy grid that would provide solar and wind power to Europe and North Africa

comparisons with illinois energy
Comparisons with Illinois: Energy
  • Illinois derives the majority of its energy from coal and nuclear power

- Illinois has the largest supply of coal in the U.S. and coal is a billion dollar a year industry (IL Dept of Commerce)

- Nuclear power first tested at Argonne Nat’l Laboratory outside Chicago

  • Regulating coal power and nuclear energy and their respective markets were some of the E.U.’s first tasks
  • Today, the two are only a quarter of Europe’s total energy, and are being phased out

A view of Argonne National Laboratory (Fermilab)

A coal mine in Coulterville, IL

Illinois must gradually phase out coal in favor of renewable, more environmentally friendly energy sources in order to stay competitive internationally

crisis global warming and future energy policy
Crisis: Global Warming and Future Energy Policy
  • The E.U. has been swift in generating policy to slow further global warming
  • In 2007 the Council laid out these plans for the future:

- cutting 20% of greenhouse gasses by 2020, 50% by 2050

- 10% bio-fuel use by 2020

- improve relations with Russia

- development of the SET Plan

- establishment of Africa-Europe energy partnership

  • Role of the U.S.- The E.U. is miles ahead of us on energy policy. We must sign the Kyoto Protocol to show our commitment and pass legislation to limit greenhouse gasses. We must also develop renewable energy sources with money allotted by the stimulus.

The U.S. is the only Western non-signer of the Kyoto Protocol


European Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany

the european bank
The European Bank
  • Only one main objective: keep inflation down
  • The European Central Bank is responsible for monetary policy
  • Bank is designed to be independent from political forces

European Central Bank President, Jean-Claude Trichet

European Central Bank

European Bank President

U.S. Federal Reserve + Treasury Dept.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve

the euro
The Euro
  • Designed to be the standard currency of the E.U.
  • Accepted by 16 of the 27 member states, the “eurozone”
  • Was originally intended to match dollar, however has outperformed it
  • Was introduced as an accounting currency in late ‘90s, becoming print currency on January 1, 1999

Countries in gold accept the Euro as their primary currency

Euro notes and coins

  • The E.U. has a single market and a customs union between all states

- freedom of movement of goods, services, people and ideas

- no internal tariffs

- tariffs on goods entering the market to protect domestic prices

  • European Economic Community boasts world’s highest GDP
  • Stability and Growth Pact allows Commission and Legislature manage fiscal policy

The E.U. is home to many financial centers

Per capita Gross Domestic Product (blue is high)

chicago olympic city
Chicago: Olympic City
  • Chicago is a leading contender for the Olympics in 2016.
  • This would put The Windy City in the forefront of the global community, leading to greater investment
  • An Olympics in would encourage long-awaited repair of infrastructure

A proposed new Olympic Stadium

barack obama hope for the future
Barack Obama: Hope for the Future
  • Barack Obama was, the 44th President of the United States, is the first African-American to hold that office
  • One of the smartest, maybe the most eloquent President yet
  • Sees America as member of the International Community
  • His policies hope to bring us out of this recession and encourage new technology, promote environmentalism, bridge the gap between rich and poor and renew the status of the United States as a leader in the global economy.
  • It was my goal in this presentation to inform the viewer about the European Union so that they would be better able to understand and appreciate the time we live in.
  • The E.U., upon the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, will become even more influential.
  • Illinois, as home of Barack Obama and possible site of the 2016 Olympics has a chance to become an economic powerhouse in the 21st Century.
  • Yet we must not forget the challenges we have ahead of us: recession, poverty, global climate change. We need forward thinkers like those in Washington, Brussels and Strasbourg to help guide us on our way. Thank you.
  • One of my objectives was to inform the listener of who, what, when, where and how, but also why?
  • Who- European politicians and policy makers
  • What- The European Union, a Commonwealth of the European nations
  • When- Now
  • Where- 27 member states of Western and Eastern Europe
  • How- Through treaties and alliances, these countries have united to form one country
  • Why?- To pool resources and authority in order to solve the world’s economic, humanitarian and environmental crises and to ease the transition into a global economy and preserve cultural traditions.
photo credits
Photo Credits
websites cited
Websites Cited