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Portal:European Union

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Flag of Europe.svg   Welcome to the European Union Portal!

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 447 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market; enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area. A monetary union was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison).

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 (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, 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, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The Communities and their successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Containing some 5.8% of the world population in 2020, the EU (excluding the United Kingdom) had generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$15.5 trillion in 2019, constituting approximately 18% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all EU countries have a very 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 union has developed a role in external relations and defence. It maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Due to its global influence, the European Union has been described by some scholars as an emerging superpower. Read more...

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ECSC52.png
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and creating the foundation for European democracy and the modern-day developments of the European Union. The ECSC was the first organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism.

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.' The means to do so, Europe's first supranational Community, was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed not only by France and West Germany, but also by Italy and the three Benelux states: Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Between these states the ECSC would create a common market for coal and steel. The ECSC was governed by a 'High Authority', checked by bodies representing governments, MPs and an independent judiciary.

The ECSC was joined by two other similar communities in 1957, with whom it shared its membership and some institutions. In 1969 all its institutions were merged with that of the European Economic Community (EEC, which later became part of the European Union), but it retained its own independent identity. However in 2002 the Treaty of Paris expired, and with no desire to renew the treaty, all the ECSC activities and resources were absorbed by the European Community. During its existence, the ECSC had succeeded in creating a common market but could not prevent the decline of the coal and steel industries. It did however set the ground for the future European Union.

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Did you know?

... that the presidency of the EU Council rotates every half year?

... that the EU parliamentary election is the world's biggest transnational election?

... that the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012?

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Ljubljana

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city in Slovenia. The city of Ljubljana is the cultural, scientific, economic, political and administrative center of Slovenia. It is situated in central Slovenia, between the Alps and the Mediterranean. The city is divided into several quarters, formerly municipalities, the main ones being Šiška, Bežigrad, Vič, Moste, and Center, which also correspond to the main electoral constituencies of the city.

Its transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and industrial tradition underlie its leading economic position. Ljubljana is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies and all government ministries. It is also the seat of Parliament and the Office of the President of Slovenia.

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