Meaning of European Union - encyclopedia - 2023



What is the European Union:

The European Union (EU) is an international association made up of twenty-seven European countries, which aims to promote economic, political and social cooperation between member states.

It is the result of the search for integration and peace after the Second World War, in order to guarantee a rule of law based on the practice of representative democracy.

European Union countries

Map of the European Union.

Currently, the European Union has 27 member countries, considering the departure of the United Kingdom in 2020, a political process called Brexit.

Next, we present a table with the member countries, their capitals, the year of entry, the official language and the current currency.

French and
FinlandHelsinki1995Finnish and
LuxembourgLuxembourg1958French and
maltValletta2004Maltese e

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Objectives of the European Union

Among the main objectives of the European Union are:

  • Promote peace and citizen welfare.
  • Respect and defend human values.
  • Guarantee freedom, security and justice to citizens within the region, without regard to internal border limits.
  • Reach and maintain the economic development and quality of life of the member countries.
  • Promote union, fraternity and solidarity of the countries that comprise it.
  • Favor environmental policies and the search for sustainable development.
  • Respect and safeguard the cultural and linguistic diversity of the EU.
  • Promote scientific and technological development.
  • Safeguard the cultural and natural heritage of Europe.

Characteristics of the European Union

  • It began as an economic alliance until it became a strategic alliance for the most diverse political fronts.
  • It is organized under a regime of representative democracy.
  • The official currency is the euro, although not all member states have adopted it.
  • The countries where the euro circulates as the official currency are part of the Eurozone or Euro zone.
  • The countries of the Eurozone make up the European Monetary Union.
  • It seeks to consolidate a common economic market.
  • Declares the values โ€‹โ€‹of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights.
  • Most of its member states enjoy the so-called Schengen area without borders, in other words, of the free movement of EU citizens between the different Member States. The exceptions are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland and Romania, who have their own visa systems.
  • The symbols of the EU are:
    • The flag: it has a blue background with twelve yellow stars arranged circularly.
    • The hymn: based on the Ode to joy by Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • Its administration is coordinated by seven main governing bodies.

Governing bodies of the European Union

For the purposes of its coordination, the European Union is structured into seven governing bodies, from which other divisions emerge. These main organs are:

  1. European Parliament: It is the legislative body of the union, whose members are elected through direct elections.
  2. Council of the European Union: it is the body that represents the governments of each member state.
  3. European council: provides general political guidance, accompanies decision-making and represents the EU internationally.
  4. European Commission or College of Commissioners: it is the body that applies the law of the Union.
  5. Court of Justice of the EU: it is the body that exercises supreme justice at the community level.
  6. Court of Accounts: oversees the administration of the finances and common funds of the Union.
  7. European Central Bank: coordinates the monetary policy of the euro zone.

History of the European Union

The European Union dates back to 1951, when the European Copper and Steel Community, made up of West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Italy. This organization was formed with the aim of favoring the production and exchange capacity of these materials, invigorating the economy and reestablishing relations between European countries.

In 1957 the Treaty of Rome was agreed, which gave rise to the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), formalized in 1958. The EEC would be defined as a regional organization for economic, political and social integration, which would seek a negotiated solution to conflicts and interests in the region.

However, the European Union was created as such in 1993 when the EEC was resized and renamed European Community (EC). Finally, the European Community is completely absorbed in 2009 by the European Union (EU).

The europe day, held on May 9, is related to the project to create the European Union. The date was set on the occasion of the speech of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman, issued on May 9, 1950. In this, Schuman promoted the idea of โ€‹โ€‹a political alliance that would guarantee a negotiated solution to conflicts in pursuit of peace, which gave rise to the first European cooperation agreements.