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European Union

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  1. European Union Joshua Meadows Emily Pegg

  2. Background • After World War II European countries needed a new system of travel and trade that would reduce conflict • In 1958 the European Economic Community (EEC) formed between Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands • The EEC began dealing with issues of policies that dealt with issues other than the economy, such as the environment and citizens’ rights. • In 1993 the EEC changed its name to the European Union (EU)

  3. Unique Characteristics • The European Union is a confederation made up of 28 countries • Countries within the European Union have no border laws between one another which allows people to travel freely between them • The EU has an official currency (Euros) that all of its members use

  4. Constitution • All citizens of the EU have rights that are documented in the Charter of Fundamental Rights • The Charter has seven chapters titled Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizens’ Rights, Justice, and General Provisions

  5. Rule of Law • The EU’s court system is based on the European Court of Justice (ECJ) • The ECJ has 28 judges, one for each country • The ECJ has a president that is elected by the judges and serves a renewable term of three years • The ECJ operates similarly to the US’s Supreme Court system • The ECJ acts as an arbiter between EU countries

  6. Economy • The European Union is the largest importer and exporter of goods and services in the world • EU countries can trade among one another without tariffs or borders

  7. Structure of Government • Treaties and laws are created by the "institutional triangle”. • The Council • The European Parliament • The European Commission

  8. The Council • The main decision making body present • Each member state takes a six month turn in the position • The Council has the legislative power and decisions are made with a majority vote, a qualified majority, or a unanimous vote from member state representatives • They meet 4 times a year

  9. The European Parliament • elected body representing the citizens of the EU and participates in the legislative process as well • directly elected every five years

  10. The European Commission • Manages the EU with members that are appointed by the Council for five year terms • There is one Commissioner from each member state • Its main job is to uphold the common interest of the EU

  11. Other Stuff • In addition to these three main divisions, the EU also has courts, committees, and banks which participate on certain issues and aid in successful management. • In 2009 there was 736 members

  12. Process for Elections • There is no uniform voting system for the election • each member state is free to choose its own system, subject to three restrictions: • The system must be a form of proportional representation, under either the party list or the single transferable vote system. • The electoral area may be subdivided if this will not generally affect the proportional nature of the voting system. • Any election threshold at the national level must not exceed five percent. • There is no precise formula for the apportionment of seats among member states

  13. Challenges • Globalization – Some countries fear the EU will become too powerful • Economy – Greece just had an economic collapse • Competition – The EU must compete with powerful countries such as China and the US