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The European Union. Is it the United States of Europe?. A United States of Europe?.

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the european union

The European Union

Is it the United States of Europe?

a united states of europe
A United States of Europe?

The European Union is often compared to the United States, and there are indeed some similarities in function and organization. The Member States of the EU have agreed to pool some of their sovereign powers for the sake of unity and promotion of shared values, just as American states did to create a federal republic. In the fields where national sovereignty has been pooled, such as trade, the EU negotiates directly with the United States and other countries on behalf of all the Member States. Twelve Member States have also joined together their monetary policy and adopted the euro as their currency.


Unlike the American states, EU Member States

  • retain their individual authority in many fields, such as security and defense, although they now can take joint action in certain foreign and security policy areas. All U.S. laws require approval by both houses of Congress, while in the EU, some laws require approval only by the Council of the European Union and not the European Parliament.
  • Finally, the EU operates according to the principle of “subsidiarity”—meaning that responsibility for issues for which the EU and Member States have oversight devolves to the lowest level at which it can be effectively addressed. The practical outcome is that the Union is granted jurisdiction only over those policies that can be handled more effectively at the EU level.
  • In short, Europe is constructing its own unique model for unification, ensuring respect for the historical, cultural, and linguistic diversity of individual European nations
origins of the eu
Origins of the EU
  • Beginnings: War and Peace.
  • For centuries, Europe was the scene of frequent and bloody wars. In the period 1870 to 1945, France and Germany fought each other three times, with terrible loss of life. A number of European leaders became convinced that the only way to secure a lasting peace between their countries was to unite them economically and politically.
  • So, in 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed integrating the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. As a result, in 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up, with six members: Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The power to take decisions about the coal and steel industry in these countries was placed in the hands of an independent, supranational body called the "High Authority". Jean Monnet was its first President.

success achieved
Success Achieved!!
  • The ECSC was such a success that, member states set about removing trade barriers between them and forming a "common market".
  • The Treaty of Maastricht (1992)introduced new forms of co-operation between the member state governments - for example on defense, and in the area of "justice and home affairs". By adding this inter-governmental co-operation to the existing "Community" system, the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union (EU).
  • Economic and political integration between the member states of the European Union means that these countries have to take joint decisions on many matters. So they have developed common policies in a very wide range of fields - from agriculture to culture, from consumer affairs to competition, from the environment and energy to transport and trade.
objectives of the union

The EU has many different objectives (I3):


The sustainable development of the earth

Solidarity and mutual respect among peoples

Free and fair trade

Eradication of poverty

To protect human rights…

…in particular children’s rights

Strict observance and development of international law…

…including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter

Equality between women and men

Solidarity between generations

Economic, social and territorial cohesion

Solidarity among Member States

Cultural and linguistic diversity

The need for Europe’s cultural heritage to be safeguarded and enhanced

  • To promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples
  • An area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers…
  • …and a single market where competition is free and undistorted
  • Sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth
  • A highly competitive social market economy
  • Price stability
  • Full employment and social progress
  • A high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment
  • To promote scientific and technological advance
  • No social exclusion and discrimination
  • Social justice and protection
  • In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and shall…
  • …contribute to peace
the eu and its duties
The EU and Its Duties

the single currency the euro in your pocket
The Single Currency: The Euro in Your Pocket
  • In 1992,the EU decided to go for economic and monetary union (EMU), involving the introduction of a single European currency managed by a European Central Bank.
  • The single currency - the Euro - became a reality on January 1, 2002, when euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in twelve of the 15 countries of the European Union (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland).

euros in your pocket
Euros In Your Pocket
  • The euro (€) is probably the EU’s most tangible achievement. The single currency is shared by 16 countries (2009), representing over two thirds of the EU population. Others will follow once their economies are ready.
  • All euro notes and coins can be used in the countries where the euro is accepted. Each note is the same, while the coins have a common design on one side and a national emblem of their country of origin on the other side.
  • These EU countries use the euro: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

growing and growing
Growing and Growing
  • 28 Countries are now full time or candidate members in the EU. Eastern European countries started gaining membership in 2005.To ensure that the enlarged EU can continue functioning efficiently, it needed a more streamlined system for taking decisions. Each autumn the Commission adopts its "enlargement package" - a set of documents explaining its policy on EU-Enlargement. The package includes an annual strategy document offering an updated overview of the Enlargement policy, its objectives and prospects, and an assessment of the progress made over the last twelve months by each of the candidates and potential candidates.
  • Treaty of Nice outlined new rules governing the size of the EU Institutions and the way they work (February 2003).
  • On December 13-14, 2007, the 28 Heads of State and Government met in Lisbon to sign a treaty establishing an EU Constitution. The Lisbon Treaty was ratified by the 25 Member and 3 candidate states. It was put into place on December 1, 2009.
safety and rights
Safety and Rights

The EU knows

that products such as food or medical

supplies will be safe and environmentally

sound regardless of where they originate in

the EU. They know that men and women

must receive equal pay for equal work, a

requirement that reflects the EU’s pioneering role in the fight for women’s rights.

Citizens of the European Union know they

are free to live in any EU country and have

equal access to justice throughout the

Union. And most importantly, they know

that their fundamental rights, including the

freedom of thought, conscience, and

religion, are protected.

The EU has also strengthened Europe’s

voice in the world. The Union is engaged

in rebuilding lives and communities in

areas of conflict such as Afghanistan and

the former Yugoslavia.

global impact
Global Impact

The EU supports efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, promotes sound environmental practices,

and contributes to global efforts to control

nuclear proliferation. Judicial, law enforcement,

and security officials cooperate

internationally to combat terrorism and

transnational crime.

The EU and its Member States are the

largest providers of development assistance

around the world—from combating

poverty to fighting HIV/AIDS and other

communicable diseases. And the Union is

involved in other areas that support development

and reduce poverty, such as peacekeeping,

election observing, and providing

humanitarian and reconstruction aid in

the wake of natural disasters and conflict.

us european dependence

Catherine Ashton

EU Trade Commissioner

October 2009

US-European Dependence
  • North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NTA) - 1995
  • US Exports – 205.5 Billion (2010), Mostly in the area of machinery and transport.
  • Together, the EU and the US represent over half of the world’s USD 60 trillion GDP
  • We are each other's most important trade and investment partners. Our trade is worth USD 643 billion in goods alone.
  • Total commercial exchanges across the Atlantic amount to a staggering USD 4.4 trillion annually, and more than 14 million workers on both sides depend on it. And these workers enjoy high wages and high environmental and labour standards.
  • Two thirds of those commercial exchanges consist of investment. And that in itself gives you a powerful sense of the depth of the relationship. We have a total stock of investment in each other’s markets worth around USD 1.5 trillion each way, with the EU’s cumulative stock accounting for around 70% of the US’s total inward investment to date.
  • US investment in Europe is three times larger than in all of Asia. Meanwhile, European investment in the US is 12 times the level of EU investment in China and more than 28 times the level of EU investment in India.

KANSAS AND THE EUMark Parkinson (D)

  • Jobs
  • European* investment in Kansas supported an estimated 23,400 jobs in 2007.
  • 43% of these jobs were in manufacturing. 1
  • *Europe = EU27 + Norway and Switzerland
  • Investment
  • Europe was the #1 foreign investor in Kansas in 2007.2
  • European investment amounted to an estimated $3.4 billion, or 43% of the total foreign direct investment in Kansas in 2007.2
  • Exports
  • Kansas’s goods exports to EU27 were $3.4 billion, more than 60% representing transportation equipment in 2008.3

1. US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). International Economic Accounts. Foreign Direct Investment in the US: Financial and Operating Data for US Affiliates of Foreign Multinational Companies; Employment by State and Country 2002-2006. Washington, DC: BEA,

2.** Hamilton, Daniel S. and Quinlan, Joseph P. The Transatlantic Economy 2009. Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2009, 120 p. ISBN: 0980187176.

3.*** US International Trade Administration, Manufacturing and Services, Office of Trade and Industry Information (OTII). TradeStats Express™ - State Export Data. Washington, DC: US International Trade Administration. .

reference list
Reference List
  • Trade Facts and Figures obtained from: