OVERVIEW OF EU LAW
EUROPE AS A SOCIETY AND UNION
The European Union as an institution is neither a State nor an organization. It is a union of states based on the rule of law and democracy. Each Member State delegates sovereignty over specific activities to common institutions that represent the interests of the Union as a whole. All decisions are derived from the basic legal treaties that have been ratified by all the Member States.
The EU is currently the largest and most powerful trading bloc in the world, larger than the USA. It consists of 27 Member States with population around 475 million people.
WHO CAN JOIN THE EU?
EU cooperation is based on treaties that state any European country may apply for membership. In order to join the EU, a country has to fulfill certain criteria. These criteria, known as “The Copenhagen Criteria”, state that all application countries must:
· Have stable institutions that can guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and protection of minorities.
· Be functioning market economies with the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU.
· Be equipped to take on the obligations of membership and to adhere to the aims of political, economic, and monetary union.
OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN UNION
The principal objectives of the European Union are:
· To establish European Citizenship
· Fundamental Rights
· Freedom of Movement
· Civil and Political Right
· To ensure freedom, security, and justice
· Cooperation in justice and home affairs.
· To promote economic and social progress
· Single Market
· Common Currency
· Regional Development
· Environmental Protection
· To assert Europe’s role in the world
· Common foreign and security policies
One of the biggest issues within the Union at the moment is the absence of a CONSTITUTION, about which there is a considerate debate because of concerns over the possible loss of national sovereignty.
In order to achieve the four basic objectives of the EU, its activities are coordinated by FIVE key institutions:
1. The European Parliament
2. The Council of the Union
3. The European Commission
4. The Court of Justice
5. The Court of Auditors