The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located in Europe. It has an area of an estimated population of about 513 million; the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency; the EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community, established by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome.
The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit; the latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified the intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal. Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting 24.6% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence.
The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower. During the centuries following the fall of Rome in 476, several European States viewed themselves as translatio imperii of the defunct Roman Empire: the Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire were thereby attempts to resurrect Rome in the West; this political philosophy of a supra-national rule over the continent, similar to the example of the ancient Roman Empire, resulted in the early Middle Ages in the concept of a renovatio imperii, either in the forms of the Reichsidee or the religiously inspired Imperium Christianum. Medieval Christendom and the political power of the Papacy are cited as conducive to European integration and unity. In the oriental parts of the continent, the Russian Tsardom, the Empire, declared Moscow to be Third Rome and inheritor of the Eastern tradition after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The gap between Greek East and Latin West had been widened by the political scission of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the Great Schism of 1054. Pan-European political thought emerged during the 19th century, inspired by the liberal ideas of the French and American Revolutions after the demise of Napoléon's Empire. In the decades following the outcomes of the Congress of Vienna, ideals of European unity flourished across the continent in the writings of Wojciech Jastrzębowski, Giuseppe Mazzini or Theodore de Korwin Szymanowski; the term United States of Europe was used at that time by Victor Hugo during a speech at the International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849: A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood... A day will come when we shall see... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas. During the interwar period, the consciousness that national markets in Europe were interdependent though confrontational, along with the observation of a larger and growing US market on the other side of the ocean, nourished the urge for the economic integration of the continent.
In 1920, advocating the creation of a European economic union, British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that "a Free Trade Union should be established... to impose no protectionist tariffs whatever against the produce of other members of the Union." During the same decade, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first to imagine of a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. His ideas influenced his contemporaries, among which Prime Minister of France Aristide Briand. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the League of Nations, precursor of the United Nations. In a radio address in March 1943, with war still raging, Britain's leader Sir Winston Churchill spoke warmly of "restoring the true greatness of Europe" once victory had been achieved, mused on the post-war creation of a "Council of Europe" which would bring the European nations together to build peace. After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated the continent.
In a speech delivered on 19
Virtual Centre for Knowledge on Europe
The Virtual Centre for Knowledge on Europe is an interdisciplinary research and documentation centre dedicated to European integration studies. It develops a digital library of multimedia resources related to European unification efforts since World War II, including the development of related international bodies such as the European Union; the library is available in English and French, though some documents are available in other languages. The CVCE is based in Sanem Castle in Luxembourg, is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research, it is a public corporation founded by law on 7 August 2002, forms part of the University of Luxembourg. The digital library was named the European NAvigator; the large multimedia knowledge base includes original texts and audio clips, press articles, interactive maps and tables.'Historical Events' contains material on all the events that have contributed to the European integration process. European Integration European Library Europeana History of the European Union Official website Digital Humanities LAB at CVCE - Blog
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was an organisation of six European countries created after World War II to regulate their industrial production under a centralised authority. It was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed by Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, West Germany; the ECSC was the first international organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism, started the process of formal integration which led to the European Union. The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany, he declared his aim was to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible", to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources in the Ruhr; the ECSC was overseen by four institutions: a High Authority composed of independent appointees, a Common Assembly composed of national parliamentarians, a Special Council composed of national ministers, a Court of Justice.
These would form the blueprint for today's European Commission, European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Court of Justice. The ECSC stood as a model for the communities set up after it by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community, with whom it shared its membership and some institutions; the 1967 Merger Treaty led all of ECSC's institutions to merge into the European Economic Community, but the ECSC retained its own independent legal personality. In 2002, the Treaty of Paris expired and the ECSC ceased to exist in any form, its activities absorbed by the European Community under the framework of the Amsterdam and Nice treaties; as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Schuman was instrumental in turning French policy away from the Gaullist policy of permanent occupation or control of parts of German territory such as the Ruhr or the Saar. Despite stiff ultra-nationalist and communist opposition, the French Assembly voted a number of resolutions in favour of his new policy of integrating Germany into a community.
The International Authority for the Ruhr changed in consequence. The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 occurred after two Cabinet meetings, when the proposal became French government policy. France was thus the first government to agree to surrender sovereignty in a supranational Community; that decision was based on a text and edited by Schuman's friend and colleague, the Foreign Ministry lawyer, professor Paul Reuter with the assistance of economist Jean Monnet and Schuman's Directeur de Cabinet, Bernard Clappier. It laid out a plan for a European Community to pool the coal and steel of its members in a common market. Schuman proposed that "Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe"; such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, who were historic enemies. Coal and steel were vital resources needed for a country to wage war, so pooling those resources between two such enemies was seen as more than symbolic.
Schuman saw the decision of the French government on his proposal as the first example of a democratic and supranational Community, a new development in world history. The plan was seen by some, like Monnet, who crossed out Reuter's mention of "supranational" in the draft and inserted "federation", as a first step to a "European federation"; the Schuman Declaration that created the ECSC had several distinct aims: It would mark the birth of a united Europe. It would make war between member states impossible, it would encourage world peace. It would transform Europe in a "step by step" process leading to the unification of Europe democratically, unifying two political blocks separated by the Iron Curtain, it would create the world's first supranational institution. It would create the world's first international anti-cartel agency, it would create a common market across the Community. It would, starting with the coal and steel sector, revitalise the whole European economy by similar community processes.
It would improve the developing countries, such as those in Africa. Firstly, it was intended to prevent further war between France and Germany and other states by tackling the root cause of war; the ECSC was conceived with France and Germany in mind: "The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries." The coal and steel industries being essential for the production of munitions, Schuman believed that by uniting these two industries across France and Germany under an innovative supranational system that included a European anti-cartel agency, he could "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". Schuman had another aim: "With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, the development of the African continent." Industrial cartels tended to impose "restrictive practices" on national markets, whereas the ECSC would ensure the increased production necessary for their ambitions in Africa.
In West Germany, Schuman kept the closest contacts with the new generation of democratic politicians. Karl Arnold, the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, the sta
The European Parliament is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union, directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older. Together with the Council of the European Union, which should not be confused with the European Council and the Council of Europe, it exercises the legislative function of the EU; the Parliament is composed of 751 members, that will become 705 starting from the 2019–2024 legislature, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. It has been directly elected by the European citizens every five years and by universal suffrage since 1979. However, voter turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, has been under 50% since 1999. Voter turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters. Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do.
The Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU, shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council. It has equal control over the EU budget; the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, approves the appointment of the Commission as a whole, it can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure. The President of the European Parliament is Antonio Tajani, elected in January 2017, he presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People's Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections; the European Parliament has three places of work -- Luxembourg City and Strasbourg. Luxembourg City is home to the administrative offices. Meetings of the whole Parliament take place in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels; the Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952.
One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was a consultative assembly of 78 appointed parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states, having no legislative powers; the change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the University of Manchester: "For much of its life, the European Parliament could have been justly labelled a'multi-lingual talking shop'."Its development since its foundation shows how the European Union's structures have evolved without a clear "master plan". Some, such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post, said of the union: "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU"; the Parliament's two seats, which have switched several times, are a result of various agreements or lack of agreements. Although most MEPs would prefer to be based just in Brussels, at John Major's 1992 Edinburgh summit, France engineered a treaty amendment to maintain Parliament's plenary seat permanently at Strasbourg.
The body was not mentioned in the original Schuman Declaration. It was assumed or hoped that difficulties with the British would be resolved to allow the Council of Europe's Assembly to perform the task. A separate Assembly was introduced during negotiations on the Treaty as an institution which would counterbalance and monitor the executive while providing democratic legitimacy; the wording of the ECSC Treaty demonstrated the leaders' desire for more than a normal consultative assembly by using the term "representatives of the people" and allowed for direct election. Its early importance was highlighted when the Assembly was given the task of drawing up the draft treaty to establish a European Political Community. By this document, the Ad Hoc Assembly was established on 13 September 1952 with extra members, but after the failure of the proposed European Defence Community the project was dropped. Despite this, the European Economic Community and Euratom were established in 1958 by the Treaties of Rome.
The Common Assembly was shared by all three communities and it renamed itself the European Parliamentary Assembly. The first meeting was held on 19 March 1958 having been set up in Luxembourg City, it elected Schuman as its president and on 13 May it rearranged itself to sit according to political ideology rather than nationality; this is seen as the birth of the modern European Parliament, with Parliament's 50 years celebrations being held in March 2008 rather than 2002. The three communities merged their remaining organs as the European Communities in 1967, the body's name was changed to the current "European Parliament" in 1962. In 1970 the Parliament was granted power over areas of the Communities' budget, which were expanded to the whole budget in 1975. Under the Rome Treaties, the Parliament should have become elected. However, the Council was required to agree a uni
Treaty establishing the European Defence Community
The Treaty establishing the European Defence Community known as the Treaty of Paris, is an unratified treaty signed on 27 May 1952 by the six'inner' countries of European integration: the Benelux countries, France and West Germany. The treaty would have created a European Defence Community with a pan-European defence force; the treaty failed to obtain ratification in the French parliament and it was never ratified by Italy, so it never entered into force. Instead, West Germany was admitted into the Western European Union, a dormant successor of the 1948 Western Union, as well as NATO; the treaty was initiated by the Pleven plan, proposed in 1950 by French Prime Minister René Pleven in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany. The formation of a pan-European defence architecture, as an alternative to West Germany's proposed accession to NATO, was meant to harness the German military potential in case of conflict with the Soviet bloc. Just as the Schuman Plan was designed to end the risk of Germany having the economic power on its own to make war again, the Pleven Plan and EDC were meant to prevent the military possibility of Germany's making war again.
The European Defence Community would have entailed a pan-European military, divided into national components, had a common budget, common arms, centralized military procurement, institutions. In this military, the French, Belgian and Luxembourgish components would report to their national governments, whereas the West German component would report to the EDC; this was due to the fear of a return of German militarism, so it was desired that the West German government would not have control over the German military. However, in the event of its rejection, it was agreed to let the West German government control its own military in any case. During the late 1940s, the divisions created by the Cold War were becoming evident; the United States looked with suspicion at the growing power of the USSR and European states felt vulnerable, fearing a possible Soviet occupation. In this climate of mistrust and suspicion, the United States considered the rearmament of West Germany as a possible solution to enhance the security of Europe and of the whole Western bloc.
In September 1950, Dean Acheson proposed a new plan to the European states. However, after the destruction that Germany had caused during World War II, European countries, in particular France, were not ready to see the reconstruction of the German military. Finding themselves in the midst of the two superpowers, they looked at this situation as a possibility to enhance the process of integrating Europe, trying to obviate the loss of military influence caused by the new bipolar order. On 24 October 1950, France's Prime Minister René Pleven proposed a new plan, which took his name although it was drafted by Jean Monnet, that aimed to create a supranational European Army. With this project, France tried to satisfy America's demands, avoiding, at the same time, the creation of German divisions, thus the rearmament of Germany; the EDC was to include West Germany, France and the Benelux countries. The United States would be excluded, it was a competitor to NATO, with France playing the dominant role.
Just as the Schuman Plan was designed to end the risk of Germany having the economic power to make war again, the Pleven Plan and EDC were meant to prevent the same possibility. The United Kingdom refused to join. According to the Pleven Plan, the European Army was supposed to be composed of military units from the member states, directed by a council of the member states’ ministers. France feared the loss of national sovereignty in security and defense, thus a supranational European Army could not be tolerated by Paris. However, because of the strong American interest in a West German army, a draft agreement for a modified Pleven Plan, renamed the European Defense Community, was ready in May 1952, with French support; the new EDC treaty was signed on 27 May 1952. Although with some doubts and hesitation, the United States and the six members of the ECSC approved the Pleven Plan; this led the way to the Paris Conference, launched in February 1951, where it was negotiated the structure of the supranational army.
Among compromises and differences, on 27 May 1952 the six foreign ministers signed the Treaty of Paris establishing the European Defence Community. Despite the central role for France, the EDC plan collapsed when it failed to obtain ratification in the French Parliament; the reasons that led to the failed ratification of the Treaty were twofold, concerning major changes in the international scene, as well as domestic problems of the French Fourth Republic. There were Gaullist fears that the EDC threatened France's national sovereignty, constitutional concerns about the indivisibility of the French Republic, fears about West Germany's remilitarization. French Communists opposed a plan tying France to the capitalist United States and setting it in opposition to the Communist bloc. Other legislators worried about the absence of the United Kingdom; the EDC went for ratification in the French National Assembly on 30 August 1954, failed by a vote of 319 against 264. By this time, concerns about a future conflict faded with the death of Joseph Stalin and the end of the Korean War.
Concomitant to these fears were a severe disjuncture between the original Pleven Plan of 1950 and the one defeated in 1954. Divergences included military integration at the division rather than battalion level and a change in the command structure putting the NATO Supreme
National Assembly (France)
The National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic, the upper house being the Senate. The National Assembly's members are known as députés. There are 577 députés, each elected by a single-member constituency through a two-round voting system. Thus, 289 seats are required for a majority; the assembly is presided over by a president from the largest party represented, assisted by vice-presidents from across the represented political spectrum. The term of the National Assembly is five years; this measure is becoming rarer since the 2000 referendum reduced the presidential term from seven to five years: a President has a majority elected in the Assembly two months after the presidential election, it would be useless for him/her to dissolve it for those reasons. Following a tradition started by the first National Assembly during the French Revolution, the "left-wing" parties sit to the left as seen from the president's seat, the "right-wing" parties sit to the right, the seating arrangement thus directly indicates the political spectrum as represented in the Assembly.
The official seat of the National Assembly is the Palais Bourbon on the banks of the river Seine. It is guarded by Republican Guards; the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic increased the power of the executive at the expense of Parliament, compared to previous constitutions. The President of the Republic can decide to dissolve the National Assembly and call for new legislative elections; this is meant as a way to resolve stalemates where the Assembly cannot decide on a clear political direction. This possibility is exercised; the last dissolution was by Jacques Chirac in 1997, following from the lack of popularity of prime minister Alain Juppé. The National Assembly can overthrow the executive government by a motion of no confidence. For this reason, the prime minister and his cabinet are from the dominant party or coalition in the assembly. In the case of a president and assembly from opposing parties, this leads to the situation known as cohabitation. While motions de censure are periodically proposed by the opposition following government actions that it deems inappropriate, they are purely rhetorical.
Since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, there has only been one single successful motion de censure, in 1962 in hostility to the referendum on the method of election of the President, President Charles de Gaulle dissolved the Assembly within a few days. The government used to set the priorities of the agenda for the assembly's sessions, except for a single day each month. In practice, given the number of priority items, it meant that the schedule of the assembly was entirely set by the executive. This, was amended on 23 July 2008. Under the amended constitution, the government sets the priorities for two weeks in a month. Another week is designated for the assembly's "control" prerogatives, and the fourth one is set by the assembly. One day per month is set by a "minority" or "opposition" group. Members of the assembly can ask oral questions to ministers; the Wednesday afternoon 3 p.m. session of "questions to the Government" is broadcast live on television. Like Prime Minister's Questions in Britain, it is a show for the viewers, with members of the majority asking flattering questions, while the opposition tries to embarrass the government.
The history of national representation for two centuries is linked to history of the democratic principle and the uneven road that it had to go before finding in the French institutions the consecration, its own today. Although the French have periodically elected representatives since 1789, the mode of appointment and the powers of these representatives have varied according to the times, the periods of erasure of the parliamentary institution coinciding with a decline in public liberties. In this respect, the names are not innocent; the name of National Assembly, chosen in the fervor of 1789, just reappears - if we except the short parenthesis of 1848 - in 1946. In the meantime, more or less reductive appellations "Instituted by the Constitution of the year III in August 1795," Chamber of deputies of the departments "," House of Representatives "," Legislative body "," Chambers of deputies ", etc.) which show, to varying degrees, the reluctance or the declared hostility of some governments or governments to the principle
History of the European Union
The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 6 member states to 28, a majority of the states in Europe. Apart from the ideas of federation, confederation, or customs union such as Winston Churchill's 1946 call for a "United States of Europe", the original development of the European Union was based on a supranational foundation that would "make war unthinkable and materially impossible" and reinforce democracy amongst its members as laid out by Robert Schuman and other leaders in the Schuman Declaration and the Europe Declaration; this principle was at the heart of the European Coal and Steel Community, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. The ECSC expired in 2002, while the EAEC maintains a distinct legal identity despite sharing members and institutions; the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union with its pillars system, including foreign and home affairs alongside the European Community.
This in turn led to the creation of the euro. The Maastricht Treaty has been amended by the treaties of Amsterdam and Lisbon; the original development of the European Union was based on a supranational foundation that would "make war unthinkable and materially impossible" A peaceful means of some consolidation of European territories used to be provided by dynastic unions. In the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1818, Tsar Alexander, as the most advanced internationalist of the day, suggested a kind of permanent European union and proposed the maintenance of international military forces to provide recognised states with support against changes by violence. An example of an organisation formed to promote the association of states between the wars to promote the idea of European union is the Pan-Europa movement. World War II from 1939 to 1945 saw a economic catastrophe which hit Europe hardest, it demonstrated the horrors of war, of extremism, through the Holocaust and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Once again, there was a desire to ensure it could never happen again with the war giving the world nuclear weapons. Most European countries failed to maintain their Great Power status, with the exception of the USSR, which became a superpower after World War II and maintained the status for 45 years; this left two rival ideologically opposed superpowers. To ensure Germany could never threaten the peace again, its heavy industry was dismantled and its main coal-producing regions were detached, or put under international control. With statements such as Winston Churchill's 1946 call for a "United States of Europe" becoming louder, the Council of Europe was established in 1949 as the first pan-European organisation. In the year following, on 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed a community to integrate the coal and steel industries of Europe – these being the two elements necessary to make weapons of war.. On the basis of that speech, Italy, the Benelux countries together with West Germany signed the Treaty of Paris creating the European Coal and Steel Community the following year.
It gave birth to the first institutions, such as the Common Assembly. The first presidents of those institutions were Paul-Henri Spaak respectively. WikiLeaks documents revealed on 8 May 2009 show that at the Bilderberg Group in 1955, there was support for a single European currency and for a common market in Europe with lower tariff rates than those outside of the common market, greater pan-European integration, based on the six members of the European Coal and Steel Community, "particularly with regard to the industrial utilization of atomic energy."The attempt to turn the Saar protectorate into a "European territory" was rejected by a referendum in 1955. The Saar was to have been governed by a statute supervised by a European Commissioner reporting to the Council of Ministers of the Western European Union. After failed attempts at creating defence and political communities, leaders met at the Messina Conference and established the Spaak Committee which produced the Spaak report; the report was accepted at the Venice Conference where the decision was taken to organise an Intergovernmental Conference.
The Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom focused on economic unity, leading to the Treaties of Rome being signed in 1957 which established the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community among the members. The two new communities were created separately from ECSC, although they shared the same courts and the Common Assembly; the executives of the new communities were called Commissions, as opposed to the "High Authority". The EEC was headed by Walter Hallstein and Euratom was headed by Louis Armand and Etienne Hirsch. Euratom would integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union between members. Througho