2 What is the EU?The European Union is a group of countries whose governments work together.It's a bit like a club. To join you have to agree to follow the rules and in return you get certain benefits.Each country has to pay money to be a member. They mostly do this through taxes.The EU uses the money to change the way people live and do business in Europe.Countries join because they think that they will benefit from the changes the EU makes.
3 Five top aims of the EUThese are the five big things the EU has set out to do.1. Promote economic and social progress. Help people earn enough money and get treated fairly.2. Speak for the European Union on the international scene. By working as a group the EU hopes that Europe will be listened to more by other countries.3. Introduce European citizenship. Anyone from a member state is a citizen of the EU and gets four special rights.4. Develop Europe as an area of freedom, security and justice. Help Europeans to live in safety, without the threat of war.5. Maintain and build on established EU law. Make laws that protect peoples rights in the member countries.
4 The European Union Founders of the EEC in 1957 Netherlands Belgium GermanyLuxembourgFranceFounders of the EEC in 1957Italy
5 3 new members joined in 1973 to bring membership up to 9 DenmarkUKRepublic of Ireland3 new members joined in 1973 to bring membership up to 9
6 Greece joined in 1981 followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986
7 The last countries to join were in 1995 SwedenFinlandAustriaThe last countries to join were in 1995
8 New members of the EU from May 1st EstoniaLatviaLithuaniaPolandCzech RepublicSlovakiaHungarySloveniaCyprusMalta
9 The future EU? Who might be the next to join? Who are not likely to join in the future?Why is this, do you think?
10 Why do countries want to join the EU? They can trade freely with other member countriesMore trade will lead to greater economic prosperityConforming to EU laws means an improvement in working and living conditionsMore co-operation with other members over important issues such as terrorism, migration, drugs and pollutionA more peaceful and co-operative EuropeTravel between member states is easier
11 Why are people opposed to the new countries joining? The new countries are a lot poorer than the current 15 members and this may drain money from the wealthier countries to bring them up to EU standardIn fact, the new members have had to prove that their economy is strong enough to join the EUThere is a fear that migrants from these countries will enter the UK and other members to claim benefitsThis may happen but the majority of people will come to work legitimately
12 Why are people in the UK against being in the EU? They feel that the EU is not as democratic as the UK as some important figures are not elected.The UK may lose some of its powers as the EU will apply laws to all member countries.People think we should be closer to the USA rather than Europe.UK companies may become less competitive due to EU working conditions and people may lose jobs.People believe that the British national identity will be lost.Some people believe that it is only a matter of time before we change currencies to the Euro (€).
13 What are the benefits to the UK of being in the EU? The EU ensures that British companies can compete fairly with other member states.Consumer rights are protected with safety standards for items such as toys.The EU provides financial help to areas which are deprived and supports businesses.Being in the EU makes it easy to travel and work across member states without needing permits and visas.As part of the EU, the UK has a larger voice in world affairs and can call on member states for support.