The European Union or the EU is an intergovernmental and supranational union of 25 European countries, known as member states. Two new member states will join in 2007 - Romania and Bulgaria. The European Union was established under that name in 1992 by the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty). However, many aspects of the Union existed before that date through a series of predecessor relationships, dating back to 1951.
The European Union's activities cover all areas of public policy, from health and economic policy to foreign affairs and defence. However, the extent of its powers differs greatly between areas. Depending on the area in question, the EU may therefore resemble:
- a federation (for example, on monetary affairs, agricultural, trade and environmental policy, economic and social policy)
- a confederation (for example, on home affairs)
- an international organisation (for example, in foreign affairs)
A key activity of the EU is the establishment and administration of a common single market, consisting of a customs union, a single currency (adopted by 12 of the 25 member states), a Common Agricultural Policy, a common trade policy, and a Common Fisheries Policy.
The members of the European Union have transferred to it considerable sovereignty, more than that of any other non-sovereign regional organisation. As has been mentioned, in certain areas the EU begins to take on the character of a federation or confederation. However, in legal terms, member states remain the masters of the Treaties, which means that the Union does not have the power to transfer additional powers from states onto itself without their agreement through further international treaties. Further, in many areas member states have given up relatively little national sovereignty, particularly in key areas of national interest such as foreign relations and defence. This unique structure means the European Union is perhaps best seen as a sui generis entity.
On 29 October, 2004, European heads of government and state signed the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. This has been ratified by some member states and is currently awaiting ratification by the other states. However, this process faltered on May 29, 2005 when the majority of French voters rejected the constitution in a referendum by 54.7%. The French rejection was followed three days later by a Dutch one on June 1 when in the Netherlands 61.6% of voters refused the constitution as well.
The current and future status of the European Union therefore continues to be subject of political controversy, with widely differing views both within and between member states. For example, in the United Kingdom, currently holding the EU presidency, one poll suggested that around 50% of the population are indifferent to the European Union. However, other countries are more in favour of European integration — soon after the Netherlands and the French voted "no" on the constitution, the tiny principality of Luxembourg voted "yes."
Major issues currently facing the European Union cover its membership, structure, procedures and policies; they include the adoption, abandonment or adjustment of the new constitutional treaty, the Union's enlargement to the south and east (see below), resolving the Union's problematic fiscal and democratic accountability, revision of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, and the future budget and the Common Agricultural Policy.
At the December 2005 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which is a semi-annual meeting of EU member states' heads of state and government, EU member states decided on how it should allocate the EU budget for the next seven years (2007-2013). Also, the "Financial Perspective" was defined as EU members agreed to fix the common budget to 1.045% of the European GDP. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to review the British rebate, negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984, despite a promise to the contrary made to the UK Parliament. French President Jacques Chirac declared that this increase in budget will permit Europe to "finance common policies" such as the Common Agricultural Policy or the Research and Technological Development Policy. However, France's demand to lower the VAT in catering was refused.
Issues controversial during upcoming budget debates were the British rebate, France's benefits from the Common Agricultural Policy, Germany and the Netherlands' large contributions to the EU budget, and reform of the European Regional Development Funds. Many commentators have envisaged these debates to yield a major split between governments such as France and Germany, who call for a broader budget and a more federal union, and governments such as that of the UK, who demand a slimmer budget with more funding transferred to science and research (and whose watchword is modernisation).
On 4 October 2005, Turkey furthered its will to enter the European Union, making them the first predominantly Muslim country to open membership talks with the organisation. Many states within the union are wary of this decision, chiefly Austria. Austrian apprehension for Turkey dates back for centuries, leading from the 1683 Battle of Vienna, where the Austrians defeated the Ottoman Turks. Fears of an influx of migration from Turkey into Austria if the country and its 70 million inhabitants are allowed into the union is a heated topic. Others argue that most of the country is on the wrong side of the Bosporus Strait, which many believe to be the dividing line between Europe and Asia. Turkey also refuses to acknowledge any relations with the state of Cyprus since Turkish troops invaded the northern section of the island in 1974 following a coup attempt by Greek ultra-nationalists. Austria has proposed for an esteemed partnership for Turkey which would come short of an actual membership. Turkey rejected that proposal. Other European states claim that denying Turkey to a membership would brew future hostilities with other Muslim nations.
Origins and history
- Main article: History of the European Union
Attempts to unite the disparate nations of Europe precede the modern nation states; they have occurred repeatedly throughout the history of Europe. Three thousand years ago, Europe was dominated by the Celts, and then conquered and ruled by the Mediterranean centred Roman Empire. These early unions were created by force. The Frankish empire of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire united large areas under a loose administration for hundreds of years. More recently the 1800s customs union under Napoleon and the 1940s conquests of Germany had only transitory existence.
Given Europe's collections of languages and cultures, these attempts usually involved military subjugation of unwilling nations, leading to instability, others have lasted thousands of years and large spells of peace and economical and technological progress as in the Roman Empire's Pax Romana. One of the first proposals for peaceful unification through cooperation and equality of membership was made by the pacifist Victor Hugo in 1851. Following the catastrophes of the First World War and the Second World War, the impetus for the founding of (what was later to become) the European Union greatly increased, driven by the determination to rebuild Europe and to eliminate the possibility of another war. This sentiment eventually led to the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community by (West) Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries. This was accomplished by the Treaty of Paris, signed in April, 1951, and taking effect in July, 1952.
The first full customs union was originally known as the European Economic Community (informally called the Common Market in the UK), established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and implemented on 1 January 1958. This later changed to the European Community which is now the "first pillar" of the European Union. The EU has evolved from a trade body into an economic and political partnership. For more details, please see History of the European Union. As president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, the former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing proposed to change the name of the European Union to United Europe but it was not adopted.
Member states and enlargement
- Main articles: European Union member states, Enlargement of the European Union & European Union Membership criteria
The European Union has 25 member states, an area of 3,892,685 km² and approximately 460 million EU citizens as of December 2004. If it were a country, it would be the seventh largest in the world by area and the third largest by population after China and India.
The European Union has land borders with 20 nations and sea borders with 31.
Since its inception with six countries, nineteen further states have joined in successive waves of enlargement:
|1952||Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands (founding members)|
|1973||Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom|
|1990||East Germany reunites with West Germany and becomes part of the EU|
|1995||Austria, Finland, Sweden|
|2004||Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia|
- Greenland, which was granted home rule by Denmark in 1979, left the European Community in 1985, following a referendum.
- Romania and Bulgaria will join EU on 1 January 2007
Future enlargement and close relationships
- Main article: Enlargement of the EU
- Romania and Bulgaria are scheduled to become members on 1 January 2007, provided that they meet the conditions for membership and that the Treaty of Accession for the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania is ratified by parliaments of member states. The treaty was signed by representatives of the EU Member States at the Abbaye de Neumünster in Luxembourg on 25 April 2005. As of 2005, member state parliaments are taking forward its ratification.
- Turkey is an official candidate to join the European Union. Turkish European ambitions date back to 1963 Ankara Agreements. Turkey started preliminary negotiations on 3 October 2005. However, analysts believe 2015 is the earliest date the country can join the union due to the plethora of economic and social reforms it has to complete. Since it has been granted official candidate status, Turkey has implemented permanent policies on human rights, abolished the death penalty, granted cultural rights to its large Kurdish minority, and taken positive steps to solve the Cyprus question. However, due to its religious and cultural differences, Turkey faces strong opposition from governments of some member states, including France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia.
- Croatia is an official candidate country to join. It is expected to join by 2010. The arrest of Ante Gotovina in December 2005 means the accession process is unlikely to be hampered by issues with the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague and will depend only on Croatia's fullfilment of EU requirements. See also: Croatian accession to the European Union.
- Macedonia has been given official candidate status as of December 2005.
- The EFTA states of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are members of the European Economic Area which allows them to participate in most aspects of the EU single market without joining the EU. Switzerland, the fourth EFTA state, rejected EEA membership in a referendum; however, it has established close ties to the EU by means of bilateral treaties.
Context—rationale for enlargement and future prospects
Supporters of the European Union argue that the growth of the EU is a force for peace and democracy. They argue that the wars which were a periodic feature of the history of Western Europe have ceased since the formation of the European Economic Community (which later became the EU) in the 1950s. They also claim that in the early 1970s, Greece, Portugal and Spain were all dictatorships, but the desire of the business communities in these three countries to be in the EU created a strong impetus for democracy there. Others argue that peace in Europe since World War II is more due to other causes, such as the need for a unified response to the threat from the Soviet Union, a need for reconstruction after World War II, and a collective temporary tiring of waging war, and that the dictatorships cited came to an end for totally different reasons.
In more recent times, the European Union has been extending its influence to the east. It has accepted several new members that were previously behind the Iron Curtain, and has plans to accept several more in the medium-term. It is hoped that in a similar fashion to the entry of Spain, Portugal and Greece in the 1980s, membership for these states will help cement economic and political stability.
As the EU continues to enlarge eastward, the candidate countries' accessions tend to grow more controversial. As discussed, the EU has finished accession talks with Bulgaria and Romania, and set an entry date for the two countries in 2007. However, the rejection of the EU Constitution by France and the Netherlands, and the EU's slow economic growth, have cast some doubt on whether the EU will be ready to accept new members after 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria are set to join EU (in early 2005 they signed the Accession Treaty). A further point of contention for EU members is the accession of Turkey. Accession preliminary talks between Turkey and the EU are due to begin in early October 2005. Turkey's Government, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has enacted many legal reforms to meet the EU's entry requirements. However, some member states, especially Austria  repudiate Turkey joining the EU, and the possible economic, immigration and cultural implications that may bring.
Institutions and legal framework
The functioning of the European Union is supported by several institutions:
- The European Parliament (732 members 750 max.)
- The Council of the European Union (or 'Council of Ministers') (25 members)
- The European Commission (25 members)
- The European Court of Justice (incorporating the Court of First Instance) (25 judges (& 25 judges of CFI))
- The European Court of Auditors (25 members)
- The European Council (25 members) - whose unique role is perhaps better described as that of a "quasi-institution"
There are several financial bodies:
- European Central Bank (which alongside the national Central Banks, composes the European System of Central Banks)
- European Investment Bank (including the European Investment Fund)
There are also several advisory committees to the institutions:
- Committee of the Regions, advising on regional issues
- Economic and Social Committee, advising on economic and social policy (principally relations between workers and employers)
- Political and Security Committee, established in the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, monitoring and advising on international issues of global security.
There are also a great number of bodies, usually set up by secondary legislation, which exist to implement particular policies. These are the agencies of the European Union. Examples are the European Environment Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market.
Lastly, the European Ombudsman investigates complaints of maladministration by EU institutions.
Location of EU institutions
The EU has no official capital and its institutions are divided between several cities:
- Brussels, Belgium - Considered the de facto capital of the EU
- Strasbourg, France
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
European Union law comprises a large number of overlapping legal and institutional structures. This is a result of its being defined by successive international treaties, with each new treaty amending and supplementing earlier ones. In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to consolidate and simplify the treaties, culminating with the final draft of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. If this proposed treaty is adopted, it will replace the set of overlapping treaties that form the current constitution of the EU with a single text.
The earliest EU treaty was the Treaty of Paris of 1951 (took effect in 1952) which established the European Coal and Steel Community between an original group of six European countries. This treaty has since expired, its functions taken up by subsequent treaties. On the other hand, the Treaty of Rome of 1957 is still in effect, though much amended since then, most notably by the Maastricht treaty of 1992, which first established the European Union under that name. The most recent amendments to the Treaty of Rome were agreed as part of the Treaty of Accession of the 10 new member states, which entered into force on 1 May 2004.
The EU member states have recently agreed to the text of a new constitutional treaty that, if ratified by the member states, would have become the first official constitution of the EU, replacing all previous treaties with a single document. Although accepted by many countries, this document was rejected in a French referendum with a 55% majority on May 29th and in the Dutch referendum with a 62% majority on June 1st.
If the Constitutional Treaty fails to be ratified by all member states, then it might be necessary to reopen negotiations on it. Most politicians and officials agree that the current pre-Constitution structures are inefficient in the medium term for a union of 25 (and growing) member states. Senior politicians in some member states (notably France) have suggested that if only a few countries fail to ratify the Treaty, then the rest of the Union should proceed without them, possibly creating an "Avant Garde" or Inner Union of more committed member states to proceed with "an ever-deeper, ever-wider union".
The role of the European Community within the Union
European Communities: European Community plus Euratom
The term European Communities refers collectively to two entities -- the European Economic Community (now called the European Community) and the European Atomic Energy Community (also known as Euratom) -- each founded pursuant to a separate treaty in the 1950s. A third entity, the European Coal and Steel Community, was also part of the European Communities, but ceased to exist in 2003 upon the expiration of its founding treaty. Since 1967, the European Communities have shared common institutions, specifically the Council, the European Parliament, the Commission and the Court of Justice. In 1992, the European Economic Community, which of the three original communities had the broadest scope, was renamed the "European Community" by the Treaty of Maastricht.
European Union: European Communities plus CFSP and PJCC
The European Communities are one of the three pillars of the European Union, being both the most important pillar and the only one to operate primarily through supranational institutions. The other two "pillars" – Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters – are looser intergovernmental groupings. Confusingly, these latter two concepts are increasingly administered by the Community (as they are built up from mere concepts to actual practice).
Effect of Constitutional Treaty
If it is ratified, the proposed new Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe would abolish the three-pillar structure and, with it, the distinction between the European Union and the European Community, bringing all the Community's activities under the auspices of the European Union and transferring the Community's legal personality to the Union. There is, however, one qualification: it appears that Euratom would remain a distinct entity governed by a separate treaty.
|Evolution of the structures of the European Union.|
Intergovernmentalism and supranationalism
A basic tension exists within the European Union between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism. Intergovernmentalism is a method of decision-making in international organisations where power is possessed by the member states and decisions are made by unanimity. Independent appointees of the governments or elected representatives have solely advisory or implementational functions. Intergovernmentalism is used by most international organisations today.
An alternative method of decision-making in international organisations is supranationalism. In supranationalism power is held by independent appointed officials or by representatives elected by the legislatures or people of the member states. Member state governments still have power, but they must share this power with other actors. Furthermore, decisions are made by majority votes, hence it is possible for a member-state to be forced by the other member-states to implement a decision against its will.
Some forces in European Union politics favour the intergovernmental approach, while others favour the supranational path. Supporters of supranationalism argue that it allows integration to proceed at a faster pace than would otherwise be possible. Where decisions must be made by governments acting unanimously, decisions can take years to make, if they are ever made. Supporters of intergovernmentalism argue that supra-nationalism is a threat to national sovereignty, and to democracy, claiming that only national governments can possess the necessary democratic legitimacy. Intergovernmentalism is being favoured by more Eurosceptic nations such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden; while more integrationist nations such as the Benelux countries, France, Germany, and Italy have tended to prefer the supranational approach.
The European Union attempts to strike a balance between the two approaches. This balance however is complex, resulting in the often labyrinthine complexity of its decision-making procedures.
Starting in March 2002, a Convention on the Future of Europe again looked at this balance, among other things, and proposed changes. These changes were discussed at an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in May 2004 and led to the Constitutional Treaty discussed above.
Supranationalism is closely related to the inter-governmentalist vs. neofunctionalist debate. This is a debate concerning why the process of integration has taken place at all. Intergovernmentalists argue that the process of EU integration is a result of tough bargaining between states. Neofunctionalism, on the other hand, argues that the supranational institutions themselves have been a driving force behind integration. For further information on this see the page on Neofunctionalism.
As the changing name of the European Union (from European Economic Community to European Community to European Union) suggests, it has evolved over time from a primarily economic union to an increasingly political one. This trend is highlighted by the increasing number of policy areas that fall within EU competence: political power has tended to shift upwards from the member states to the EU.
This picture of increasing centralisation is counter-balanced by two points.
First, some member states have a domestic tradition of strong regional government. This has led to an increased focus on regional policy and the European regions. A Committee of the Regions was established as part of the Treaty of Maastricht.
Second, EU policy areas cover a number of different forms of co-operation.
- Autonomous decision making: member states have granted the European Commission power to issue decisions in certain areas such as competition law, State Aid control and liberalisation.
- Harmonisation: member state laws are harmonised through the EU legislative process, which involves the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the European Union. As a result of this European Union Law is increasingly present in the systems of the member states.
- Co-operation: member states, meeting as the Council of the European Union agree to co-operate and co-ordinate their domestic policies.
The tension between EU and national (or sub-national) competence is an enduring one in the development of the European Union. (See also Intergovernmentalism vs. supranationalism (above), Euroscepticism.)
All prospective members must enact legislation in order to bring them into line with the common European legal framework, known as the Acquis Communautaire. (See also European Free Trade Association (EFTA), European Economic Area (EEA) and Single European Sky.) See table of states participating in some of the initiatives.
Many of the policies of the EU relate in one way or another to the development and maintenance of an effective single market. Significant efforts have been made to create harmonised standards – which are designed to bring economic benefits through creating larger, more efficient markets.
The power of the single market reaches beyond the EU borders, because to sell within the EU, it is beneficial to conform to its standards. Once a non-member country's factories, farmers and merchants conform to EU standards, much of the cost of joining the union has already been sunk. At that point, harmonising domestic laws in order to become a full member is relatively painless, and may create more wealth through eliminating the customs costs.
The single market has both internal and external aspects:
- Free trade of goods and services among member states (an aim further extended to three of the four EFTA states by the European Economic Area, EEA)
- A common EU competition law controlling anti-competitive activities of companies (through antitrust law and merger control) and member states (through the State Aids regime).
- The Schengen treaty allowed removal of internal border controls and harmonisation of external controls between its member states. This excludes the UK and Ireland, which have derogations, but includes the non-EU members Iceland and Norway. Switzerland also voted via referendum in 2005 to become part of the Schengen zone.
- Freedom for citizens of its member states to live and work anywhere within the EU with their spouses and children, provided they can support themselves (also extended to the other EEA states).
- Free movement of capital between member states (and other EEA states).
- Harmonisation of government regulations, corporations law and trademark registrations.
- A single currency, the Euro (excluding the UK, and Denmark, which have derogations). Sweden, although not having a specific opt-out clause, has not joined the ERM II, voluntarily excluding itself from the monetary union.
- A large amount of environmental policy co-ordination throughout the Union.
- A Common Agricultural Policy and a Common Fisheries Policy.
- Common system of indirect taxation, the VAT, as well as common customs duties and excises on various products.
- Funding for the development of disadvantaged regions (structural and cohesion funds).
- A common external customs tariff, and a common position in international trade negotiations.
- Funding for programmes in candidate countries and other Eastern European countries, as well as aid to many developing countries, through its Phare and Tacis programmes.
- The establishment of a single market European Energy Community by means of the Energy Community South East Europe Treaty.
Co-operation and harmonisation in other areas
- Freedom for citizens of the EU to vote in local government and European Parliament elections in any member state.
- Co-operation in criminal matters, including sharing of intelligence (through EUROPOL and the Schengen Information System), agreement on common definition of criminal offences and expedited extradition procedures.
- A common foreign policy as a future objective, however this has some way to go before being realised. The divisions between the member states (in the letter of eight) and then-future members (in the Vilnius letter) during the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq highlights just how far off this objective could be before it becomes a reality.
- A common security policy as an objective, including the creation of a 60,000-member European Rapid Reaction Force for peacekeeping purposes, an EU military staff and an EU satellite centre (for intelligence purposes).
- Common policy on asylum and immigration.
- Common funding of research and technological development, through four-year Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. The Sixth Framework Programme is running from 2002 to 2006.
- Main article: Economy of the European Union
If considered a single unit, the European Union has the largest economy in the world with a 2004 GDP of 11,723,816 PPPs. The EU economy is expected to grow further over the next decade as more countries join the union - especially considering that the new States are usually poorer than the EU average, and hence the expected fast GDP growth will help achieve the dynamic of the united Europe. However, It is estimated that the Eurozone will only grow around 0.3 per cent (Q2 2005) 1, while other industrialised nations such as the United States is estimated to grow three times as much at around 3.2%(Q2 2005).The European Council published on 17 November 2005 that the economy of the European Union will grow approximately 1.5% in 2005. The eurozone however, will grow 1.3% in 2005. The Council is hopeful that the European Union will grow further in 2006 and in 2007 (2.1% 2006 2.4% 2007). Germany, the most important country for the EU will grow about: 0.8% 2005, 1.2% 2006 and 1.6% 2007. After a extremely slow growth, it seems that the EU will grow again the next couple of years. 2
Standard of living
Below is a table and three graphs showing, respectively, the GDP (PPP), the GDP (PPP) per capita and the GDP (nominal) per capita for the European Union and for each of its 25 member states. This can be used as a rough gauge to the relative standards of living among member states. The two future members Bulgaria and Romania (set for 1 January, 2007) are also included in the table, as are the official candidates and officialy recognised potential candidates. The data set is for the year 2005 and graphs are for the year 2004. All 2005 data are projections.
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (nominal)|
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (nominal)|
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (nominal)|
| Potential Candidate
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (PPP)
| GDP (nominal)|
Comparison with other Regional blocs
- Category:European Union (hierarchical list of all EU articles)
- European Union Statistics
- Largest cities of the European Union by population
- List of European Union-related topics
- Citizenship of the European Union
- Economy of Europe
- Economy of the European Union
- Pro-European and Euroscepticism
- Transatlantic relations
- United States of Europe
- Value-added tax
- Latin Monetary Union (1865-1927)
- European Union legislative procedure
- Europe Recast: A History of European Union by Desmond Dinan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) ISBN 0333987349
- The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union by Christopher Booker, Richard North (Continuum International Publishing Group - Academi, 2003) ISBN 0826471056
- Understanding the European Union 2nd ed by John McCormick (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) ISBN 033394867X
- The Institutions of the European Union edited by John Peterson, Michael Shackleton (Oxford University Press, 2002) ISBN 0198700520
- The Government and Politics of the European Union by Neill Nugent (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) ISBN 0333984617
- The European Union: A Very Short Introduction by John Pinder (Oxford, 2001) ISBN
- The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the end of American Supremacy by T.R. Reid (Penguin Press, 2004) ISBN 1594200335
- This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair by Hugo Young (Macmillan, 1998) ISBN 0333579925
- The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream by Jeremy Rifkin (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2004) ISBN 1585423459
Official EU website, europa.eu, in the official languages. Some subpages:
- European Commission - Maps of Europe
- Press conferences and speech audio (MP3 and RealAudio).
- EUR-LEX - EU law and proposed legislation
- Green Paper on a numbering policy for telecommunications (+3 country call code proposal)
- EU Policy on China
- Template:Gutenberg author
- Democracy in Europe
- BBC News: Inside Europe guide to the changing face of the EU
- café babel European current affaires online magazine, published in six languages
- Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) - Research Institute focusing on the EU
- CIA World Factbook entry
- Dadalos, International UNESCO Education Server for Civic, Peace and Human Rights Education: Basic Course on the EU
- EU versus USA - Study comparing GDP and growth (available in PDF)
- EU in the USA - EU delegation to the US
- EU News - European Union News
- European Law Monitor - Monitors and tracks EU proposals
- European Voice - Independent Weekly Newspaper on EU Affairs
- EU Observer - News website focusing on the EU
- EUFPC European Foreign Policy Council - Interdisciplinary Think-tank and Network
- EurActiv.com Independent media portal dedicated to EU affairs
- Euronews - Multilingual public TV news channel run by ITN
- Guardian Unlimited Special Report: European Union guide and ongoing news
- LookSmart - European Union directory category
- Mapsofworld.com - World Map of European Union Countries
- OECD's EU country page and OECD's Economic Survey of the EU
- Open Directory Project - European Union directory category
- S.C. European Society - Oxford University (1950s) World's oldest?
- Yahoo - European Union directory category
European Union history
- The Messina Declaration 1955 final document of The Conference of Messina 1 to 3 June 1955 - birth of the European Union
- European Navigator - Thousands of multimedia documents on the history of Europe
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