European Union

European Union
(Union européenne)
   A political, economic, and monetary union, the European Union (Union européenne), or EU as it is also known, was formally established on February 7, 1993, when the governments of the 12 members states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and spain) signed the Treaty of Maastricht, which was then ratified by the member nations' national legislatures. In 1994, Austria, Finland, and sweden joined the Eu, which brought the total to 15 nations. The Eu is the most recent in a series of European cooperative organizations that originated with the European Coal and steel Community (ECSC) of 1951, which in turn became the European Community (EC) in 1967. The Maastricht treaty transformed the EC into the EU. Among the several objectives of the Eu are its efforts to promote and expand cooperation among its members in several areas, including economics and trade, social issues, security, judicial matters, and foreign policy. Another major goal has been to implement the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which established a single currency for all Eu members, the euro. with the exception of the EMu, which has established a single currency for all Eu members, progress toward these other goals has been somewhat slower. The ability of the Eu to achieve its objectives has been limited by disagreements among its members, a number of external economic and political issues, and pressure for membership from the new Eastern European democracies. Historically, the idea of European unity goes back many centuries, but only after World War II did proposals for some kind of supranational European organization become more frequent (see jean monnet). By the early 1950s, some steps toward this goal had been achieved. These included the creation of Benelux and the ECSC (see Robert Schumann). In 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC), often referred to as the Common Market, was established. In the same year, the treaty was ratified that created the European Atomic Energy Community, known also as Euratom. These treaties, signed in Rome, Italy, paved the way for other cooperative efforts. with the coming to power of nationalist charles de gaulle in France, however, progress toward unity was slowed. After 1969, the EC began to expand both its scope and its goals. Presently, the 25 nations of the Eu are represented in the European Parliament, whose 626 members are popularly elected by the citizens of the Eu states. See also delors, jacques.

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