The European Union Sample Clauses

The European Union. The European Union (EU) is the oldest and most significant economic integration scheme, involving twenty-seven Western and Eastern European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lat- via, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Ro- mania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. One of the most important developments is the recent EU enlargement from fif- teen to twenty-five countries in May 2004, with the admission of Cyprus, Malta, and eight East European countries. In January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania also joined the EU, increasing the number to twenty-seven coun- tries. Turkey and other East European countries will be considered for admission in the coming years based on certain criteria such as stable demo- cratic institutions, free markets, and ability to assume EU treaty obligations (Van Oudenaren, 2002; Poole, 2003). Even though the European economic integration dates back to the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Union is the outcome of the Maastricht treaty in 1992. The European Union has an aggregate population of about 456 mil- lion and a total economic output (GDP) of $12 trillion (U.S.) (2005), and in- volves the largest transfer of national sovereignty to a common institution. In certain designated areas, for example, international agreements can only be made by the European Union on behalf of member states (Wild, Wild, and Han, 2006). The pursuit of such integration was partly influenced by the need to create a lasting peace in Europe as well as to establish a stronger Europe that could compete economically against the United States and Japan (see Table 2.5). Since the countries were not large enough to compete in global markets, they had to unite in order to exploit economies of large-scale production.
The European Union. How Does It Work?” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) and John McCormick Understanding the European Union: a concise introduction, 2nd edition. (New York: Palgrave, 2002). However, the Commission does not, on its own, direct the affairs of the EU. In fact, the strength of the EU is its power-sharing arrangements. For example the European Parliament (EP) is elected by the citizens of the member states and brings together all the political parties operating in the EU member states. The EP has three main roles. First, it shares with the Council the power to legislate. The co-decision procedure is the most common procedure for adopting EU legislation. This method makes the EP and the Council of Ministers equal in adopting EU laws and applies to the following areas: free movement of workers, creation of the internal market, research and technological development, the environment, consumer protection, education, culture and health care.4 Besides the co-decision procedure, the EP must be consulted and its approval is required for certain important political and institutional decisions. Second, the EP exercises democratic supervision over all EU institutions. For example it has the power to approve or reject the nomination of Commissioners and it has the right to censure a Commission as a whole. The preemptive resignation of the Santer Commission in 1999 is a case in point. The EP also closely monitors the work of the Council and can further exercise democratic control by examining petitions from citizens and setting up temporary committees of enquiry.5 Third, the annual budget of the EU is decided jointly by the EP and the Council of Ministers. The powers of the Parliament have increased with successive revisions of the founding treaties, both in response to pressures from the Parliament itself and as the member states have recognized a need to give the process of European integration greater democratic legitimacy based on accountability to the citizens. For example, the Maastricht Treaty gave the EP the right to amend and pass legislation in limited range of areas (i.e. the co-decision procedure). The Maastricht Treaty also gave the EP a greater role in appointing the Commission. With the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties the co-decision procedures were further extended. The EP was also empowered to place matters before the Court on an equal footing with the Council and Commission.6 The EP has seen its powers grow further since direct elections were first held in...

Related to The European Union

Implementation Legislation The Contracting Parties shall enact any legislation necessary to comply with, and give effect to, the terms of the Agreement.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH Section 1. The Labor-Management Committee established pursuant to Article XIX shall sit, from time to time, as an Occupational Safety and Health Committee.