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The EU
Alex Cavan…read more

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The History of the EU
· Europe was originally created after WW2, as an attempt to
rectify past wrongs, and prevent things like the World Wars
from ever happening again. In the years between 1945 and
1950, various international politicians (including Winston
Churchill, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer and Alcide de
Gasperi) were trying to influence their nations to cast aside
their differences and ally together. On the 9th May 1950,
Robert Schuman (the then French Foreign Minister) proposed
establishing a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
The materials once used to wage war between these
countries would be pooled and controlled by one High
Authority. This was the starting point of the EU we have
today.…read more

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The Functions of the EU
· No single European country is strong enough to cope alone in
world economics. Although the primary goal of the EU is
peace, it provides a valuable platform for all member states
to engage in international economics with the support of the
European International Bank (EIB) and of all the other
member states. With a budget bigger than 120 billion,
money is given to lesser-developed countries in order for
them to catch up with the rest of the EU. Of course, equality
can not be attained through aid alone. Legislations are passed
by the EU requiring equality and fairness for anyone and
everyone. This is achieved through non-obligatory directives,
and mandatory treaties and regulations.…read more

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The Council of the European Union
· This is the main decision-making body. The member states take it in turn
to hold the Council Presidency for a sixth month period, the current
President is Mirek Topolánek from the Czech Republic. The function of the
Council is to meet and debate about current issues like, for instance, the
Credit Crunch. It has legislative powers, shared with the European
Parliament, which it uses to form directives, treaties and regulations.
According to the treaties, the Council must reach a decision by simple
majority vote, a `qualified majority' vote or unanimously, depending on
the subject to be decided.
· The Council has to agree unanimously on important questions such as
amending the Treaties, launching a new common policy or allowing a new
country to join the Union. In most other cases, qualified majority voting is
used. This means that a Council decision is adopted if a specified minimum
number of votes are cast in its favour. The number of votes allocated to
each EU country roughly reflects the size of its population.…read more

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The European Parliament
· This is the elected body that speaks for the citizens of
Europe. It supervises EU activities and takes an active
role in the legislative process. The members have been
directly elected since 1979. The assent of the European
Parliament is required for the inauguration of new
member states, and the Treaty of Maastricht 1992 puts
it on a level of equal importance with the Council. The
President of the Council is also required to report to
the Parliament on the decisions made by the Council.
The Parliament also wields the power to dismiss the
Commission by adopting a motion of censure. This
requires a 2/3 majority.…read more

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The European Commission
· The Commission forms the final part of the ruling
triumvirate of the European Union. It consists of
members appointed by the Member States for 5 year
periods, subject to approval from the European
Parliament. If the Parliament passes a motion of
censure, every member of the Commission must
resign. The function of the Commission is to uphold the
common interest, meaning it will never take direction
from one single body, country or person. It also
monitors the Member States, ensuring that they are
complying with EU law. If a State is found in breach of
a law, the Commission can take the offending State to
the European Court of Justice to force compliance.…read more

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