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The European Union Is it the United States of Europe?

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Presentation on theme: "The European Union Is it the United States of Europe?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The European Union Is it the United States of Europe?

2 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.

3 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..

4 Differences 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

5 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.

6 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 , 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).

7 Map showing the use of the euro : in red, EU countries using the euro; in blue, EU countries post 1 May, not using the euro

8 Growing and Growing Bulgaria and Romania expect to join in 2007; Croatia and Turkey are beginning membership negotiations in 2005.To ensure that the enlarged EU can continue functioning efficiently, it needs a more streamlined system for taking decisions. Treaty of Nice lays down new rules governing the size of the EU institutions and the way they work (February 2003). It will be replaced, in 2006, by the new EU Constitution - if all EU countries approve this.

9 The EU and Its Duties

10 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.

11 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.

12 US-European Dependence The United States and the European Union enjoy the world’s largest commercial relationship and are each other’s largest trade and investment partners. In 2003, two-way trade in goods and services between the EU15 and the US amounted to USD billion.11 EU15 investment in the US has likewise grown steadily: by the end of 2003, EU15 direct investment in the US amounted to USD billion2, or 62.1 percent of total foreign direct investment in the US.2 These flourishing economic ties create wealth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. An estimated 3.3 million US jobs were supported by EU15 investment in the US in The signing of the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) on December 3, 1995 was an important step in consolidating the EU-US economic relationship. A key element of NTA is the expansion of world trade and closer economic relations between the EU and US. This includes steps to remove regulatory and other obstacles to trade, which not only reduces costs for consumers and producers but also opens up new areas for investment.New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA)

13 Jobs EU15 Investment in Kansas supported an estimated 20,900 jobs in Investment EU15 was #1 foreign investor in Kansas in EU15 Investment amounted to an estimated USD 3,456 millions or 71.4% of total foreign direct Investment in Kansas in Exports Kansas’s goods exports to EU25 were USD 0.85 billion representing 18.7% of total exports in KANSAS AND EU

14 Reference List Trade Facts and Figures obtained from:


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