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HISTORY & PURPOSE



From Past to Present (Jared Chandler)


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Victor Hugo
For years, philosophers and visionaries had dreamed of a united Europe. Victor Hugo, a French poet once imagined a “United States of Europe” inspired by humanistic ideals.1 Those dreams and brilliant thoughts were shattered with the wars that tore through the European continent in the early half of the 20th century. Following World War Two, times were tough and many countries relied on the production of steel and coal to fuel their ravished economies. On May 5, 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman took up an idea proposing a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)2 With its establishment in 1951, the ECSC was joined by six countries and sought to bring together the production of coal and steel under one authority. Europe had also been afraid of a German resurgence. Under the ECSC, now no country “on its own could make the weapons of war to turn against the other, as in the past.”3


By 1986, the ECSC had evolved with the changing global landscape and doubled its membership to 12. Now referred to as the European Community, the members were focused on ridding of customs duties and increasing free flowing trade across EU borders. It was the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, however, that brought about the change that philosophers and visionaries had dreamed of for so many years. In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, former communist countries of central and eastern Europe, after decades under the authoritarian yoke of the Warsaw Pact, decided that their future lay within the family of democratic European nations.4


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The Treaty of Maastricht
On February 7, 1992, the Treaty on European Union was signed in Maastricht and entered into force on November 1, 1993.5 This treaty brought about a great wave of change throughout member nations as it brought new forms of co-operation between governments. With the signing of the treaty, the name “European Union” officially replaced “European Community.” Its purpose was to promote peace, end wars, restore European political and economic power and revolutionize international relations.6 By the mid-late 90’s, over 200 laws had been passed by the EU establishing a “single market.” In this “single market” there where free flow of goods, services, people and money. Three more nations became members bringing membership to 15.7


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Euro coins and bills
In its continuing quest of uniting members, the EU, on January 1, 1999, introduced the Euro notes and coins as the currency for over 300 million Europeans in 11 countries.8 By May of 2004, another 10 countries joined the EU. On October 29, 2004, the 25 EU countries signed a treaty establishing the European Constitution. The treaty served to streamline democratic decision-making between the 25 EU members and created a post for a European Prime Minister. In 2007 membership grew to 27 as Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU. By the end of that year the Treaty of Lisbon was signed, which amended all other treaties and served to make the EU more democratic, efficient and transparent. Thus, it enabled the EU to tackle global challenges such as climate change, security and sustainable development.9


Mission Statement/Goals/Objectives (Jared Chandler)

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The Lisbon Treaty
In the years since the early origins of the EU, the world has changed drastically. The world is now more interconnected and Europe is dealing with changes in globalization, demographics, climate and the need for sustainable energy sources. To deal with the changing world, the EU rethought how members were to work together and after being signed in Lisbon on December 13, 2007, The Lisbon Treaty entered into force in the EU on December 1, 2009. With the recent EU expansion from 15 members to 27 members the treaty allowed the EU to function properly and respond to the rapid changes throughout the world. Thought the treaty was ratified by each of the EU's 27 members, it was up to each country to choose the procedure for ratification, in accordance with its own constitution. The Lisbon Treaty effectively states how the EU operates, provides members with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and respond to citizen standards. Within the treaty, four main points are covered to outline the EU’s goals and objectives:10


1. A more democratic and transparent Europe.
  • The Union sought to have a strengthened role for the European Parliament and national parliaments, more opportunities for citizens to voice their pinions and thoughts and a better idea of who does what at both the European and national levels
2. A more efficient Europe
  • The Union sought to establish simplified working methods and voting rules, streamed and modern institutions for all 27 members of the EU and an improvement in the EU’s ability to act in areas of major priority to today’s Union.
3. A Europe of rights and values, freedom, solidarity and security
  • The Union sought to promote its Charter more, introduce the Charter of Fundamental Rights into European primary law, provide new solidarity mechanisms and ensure better protection of all European citizens.
4. Europe as an actor on the global stage
  • The Union sought to bring together Europe’s external policy tools. The Lisbon Treaty provides the Union with a clear voice to the global community by harnessing Europe's economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic strengths to promote European interests and values worldwide, while respecting the particular interests of the Member States in Foreign Affairs.

Structure of the EU
(James Craig)

The Merger Treaty was signed in Brussels on April 8th 1965 and in force since July 1st 1967. It called for a Single Commission (now Parliament) and a Single Council of the then three European Communities. Now, the EU consists of two bodies, the European Council and EU Parliament

EU Institutions

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Mr. Herman Von Rompuy

The European Council (EC) is addressed in Article 15 of the Treaty on European Union (first part of the Treaty of Lisbon). The EC became an institution upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on December 1st 20099. They do not exercise legislative functions.per say but instead guide the political direction and priorities of the EU. The members of the EC are high up government officials of member nations, called Ministers, and the President and Presidential commission of the Council. Also assisted by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is currently Catherine Ashton. The current president of the EC is Mr. Herman Van Rompuy. He is the first and only president of the EC so far. The EC President is responsible for preparing and chairing the meetings as well as presenting a summary of the meeting to Parliament. The presidential term is 2 ½ years and renewable once.external image moz-screenshot.pngPerhaps one of the most important jobs for the EC President is actually starting the EC meetings. They meet twice every six months at the President's discretion. They make decisions based on consensus unless directed otherwise by a treaty. They discuss all aspects of their citizens' lives and
work in conjunction with their counterpart to screen bills and make laws


The European Parliament (EP) is the only body of the EU that is elected directly by its
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Jerzy Buzek speaking on recent floods in Romania
500 million citizens. It has 736 members that are elected every five years. Many issues are decided jointly with the Ministers of the EC, which represent member nations through indirect elections. These two organizations have joint control over the budget for the entire EU but the EP is vastly more power over this aspect of their governance. The EP is organized into much smaller committees which oversee certain policy areas. President of the EP is a renewable position with a 2 ½ year term. They are elected by an absolute majority; if an absolute majority cannot be obtained after 3 individual votes, a simple majority is taken on the 4th vote. The President directs Parliament and its activities, chairs plenary sittings and declares the annual budget finally adopted. Also, the President represents Parliament to the outside world and conducts relations with outside organizations.A main job of the EP President is to serve on a Bureau with 14 vice-Presidents and five Quaestors, with observer status whom are elected by the assembly for a renewable period of two and a half years. Jerzy Buzek is the 27th and current EP President. He is from Czech Republic, Which makes him the first President to hail from a new member state rather than an original state. Many people from many different member nations work directly under the President in a group called the Presidential Cabinet. Members of Parliament consist of 736 men and women voted for individually in many ways by the 27 member states. They work together on legislation covering all areas of citizens' lives. They are organized broadly by political group, it takes 25 members to form a political group and many are non-affiliated; each political group has a chance to argue their sides of every piece of legislation. Each member also serves on much smaller committees that focus on precise areas of Parliament’s jurisdiction. These committees range from 15-45 people. Members must also serve on 1 of 35 delegations which handle relations with specific Non-member states. Delegations are made up of up to 15 people, depending on the country of issue.

How Parliament Works
First, committees must draft legislation. Then, parliament decides whether or not to vote on it. If they deem it worthy they then classify it as either ‘Ordinary,’ where Parliament works equally with the European Council to decide the fate of the legislation. If the bill is not classified as ordinary, it is most often deemed 'special,' where Parliament only has a consultative role on deciding what happens to the bill. On many issues such as taxes and industrial/agricultural policy, Parliament and council are only aloud to play an advisory role in the actions of the members/member state governments.

How They Work Together


The European Council’s meetings (up to four times a year) are summarized by the Council’s president and then reported to the Parliament. This summary is the basis of the subsequent Parliament meeting
The EU operates on the idea of codecision, introduced by the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (1992), and extended and made more effective by the Amsterdam Treaty (1999)9. Codecision gives Council and Parliament equal weight on most issues. Legislation is presented to both sides at the same time and it is not final until both agree when codecision is in effect. For bills and amendments, Parliament adopts and submits them to council who must approve before it can be signed into law. If council does not agree they write up a common ground or end it in a no decision. Sometimes it goes up to the Conciliation Council which writes a common ground that must be signed by both the council and Parliament before it becomes a law. A common ground is a revised compromise.

Checks and Balances

Parliament is tasked with all supervisory powers over the EU...
  1. Individual rights to petition- Parliament has a position titled the Ombudsman, whom is in charge of handling affairs with all citizens’ complaints.
  2. Inquiries- Parliament has ability to create committees to monitor/judge member states and EU personnel actions. One example of these committees is the one that was set up to monitor the outbreak of mad cow disease throughout both member states and the rest of Europe and the world.
  3. Parliament’s sole financial control allows them more power to monitor other branches/nation states.
  4. Parliament is always subject to judicial review on a case by case basis. These can be


EU Purpose Related to Globalization (Andrew Slutzky)




Nayan Chanda defines globalization as the ability “to extend to other or all parts of the globe.”11 It is essentially the sociopolitical and economic interconnectedness of countries. All are in a symbiotic relationship with one another whether intended or not.

As stated before, the purpose of the EU was to promote peace, end wars, restore European political and economic power and revolutionize international relations.6 Thus, its purpose can be interpreted as adamantly pro-globalization. The EU further embraced globalization by supporting a large, single and mostly private global market. It removed many state subsidies and obstacles to cross-border mergers.12

While globalization is encouraged in the EU, it also has its drawbacks. Globalization is harder for the EU to adopt than the United States because their economy is more state oriented and culturally more collectivist. In comparison, the United States is less state oriented and more individualistic. European citizens are also less likely to move away from home and accept a reduction in benefits for job preservation.12 In 2005 France opposed globalization by pressuring Europe to impose new quotes on China to preserve itself. France was losing influence in the EU sector and was struggling at home. Thus, they took a protectionist stance and drew up ten sectors they didn’t want foreign companies to take over. France was afraid of losing domestic jobs abroad and of the devolution of their nation-state power.13

France isn’t the only country with anti-globalization and pro-nationalist and protectionist views. According to British politician and Independence/Democracy Group Co-President & UKIP Leader, Nigel Farage, “no one has ever told us before the fact that 75-percent of the laws by which we live every year aren’t made in Westminister […] They are made by these Brussels’ (EU) institutions […] 100,000 new regulations have come into force since 1973 as a direct result of Britain’s EU membership.”14

Despite some anti-regulatory rhetoric, EU member countries are incurring large deficits by not following EU regulations and violating its economic purpose. For example, Greece with its 300 billion euro debt is the poster child of irresponsibility. In 2002 Greece abandoned the drachma for the euro to ease the ability to borrow money. Greece proceeded to go on a “debt funded spending spree,” which included the 2004 Athens Olympics. Greece was hit by the downturn, spent less on benefits, and received less in taxes. Doubts even surfaced about the accuracy of its own economic statistics. Interest rates rose as lending began to cost more and tax evasion became a common practice. The public sector underwent cuts and civilian protests have become rampant.15

EU Purpose Related Sovereignty
(Andrew Slutzky)

Much controversy has been made over how Greece’s debt situation should be handled. First, Greece is set to receive a 110 billion euro bailout package from EU (80 billion) and the IMF (30 billion). Second, European governments (500 billion) and the IMF (250 billion) have created a 750 billion euro safety net for other debt-heavy countries to pull from if necessary. Third, the European Central Bank will buy bonds from weaker debtors.16
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While each country in the EU has the same rights, not each EU country is equal in resource allocation. Thus, there is a sovereignty issue over how much each EU country should contribute to Greece’s debt and to the 750 billion euro safety net. For the EU safety net, 440 billion of the 500 billion euros comes from the 16-member eurozone. The EU Commission, which includes countries not in the eurozone, provides 60 billion and the IMF 250 billion.17 For the Greece bailout package, the German parliament approved to give 22.4 billion out of the EU 80 billion. The French senate approved to give 16.8 billion and Italy 14.8 billion.15 How do you determine how much each country in the EU contributes?

Germany’s Parliament agreed to contribute a large sum because they knew systemic risk outweighed moral hazard. The purpose of economic stability had to be preserved. The parliament has undergone harsh criticism from its own citizens for bailing out Greece. German citizens feel Greek debt is Greece’s problem, and that sovereignty shouldn’t concern them. Even populism rage extends to the United States as the U.S. Senate voted, “94 to 0 to limit American participation through the International Monetary Fund, in the European rescue.”16

According to Yale Professor David Cameron, the EU eurozone countries have a policy to not incur deficits greater than 3-percent GDP.18 This raises another sovereignty issue. Why do non-euro countries (11) have to contribute at all (60 billion) to the Greece relief effort when they aren’t even on the same currency?

With more questions marks than answers, uncertainty surrounds the EU’s future.

EU Purpose and the Future (Andrew Slutzky)

ill_05.jpgGreece realistically can only solve its debt problem by cutting expenses, raising taxes and paying back debts. It can’t devalue its currency because the euro doesn’t only belong to them. They could default, but the point of the bailout was to prevent that.19

While Greece is receiving the brunt of the blame, it isn’t the only country within the EU running on deficits. Cameron points out that having 16, 17 or 18 countries simultaneously in a recession is unprecedented.18 A lot of Greece’s debt is owed by banks in other countries. According to Nelson D. Schwartz of New York Times, Greece owes to Portugal while Portugal owes to Spain. Likewise, Spain owes a lot to Germany, France and then the USA.20

Back in 2009, Yale Professor David Cameron said the EU needed larger than a 200 billion euro stimulus package because automatic market stabilizers weren’t enough. Without it, the contraction would become longer, deeper, take later to recover and the rate of unemployment would rise.18

The aid to Greece has already surpassed that entire EU 2009 number, but some believe “countries may simply tap bailout money without addressing their underlying problems, allowing the debt issue to ‘fester.”’21

The purpose of the bailout measure was for the EU to prevent its economy from failing, which is reminiscent of its founding purpose for a restored economy. Reuter’s Felix Salmon believes the countries are no longer together. They’re “bifurcating into the rich lenders, on the one hand, and the formerly-profligate debtors, on the other.”21

Amongst the polarization of debt and sovereignty discrepancies, the EU’s individual countries can’t afford to forget their commitment to one another. Now more than ever their collective existence is counting on it.

Works Cited

1 Victor Marie Hugo, 1802-1885. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://www.hugo-online.org/>.

2 "Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC Treaty." EUROPA – The Official Website of the European Union. Web. 28 June 2010. http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/institutional_affairs/treaties/treaties_ecsc_en.htm

3 "EUROPA - The EU at a Glance - The History of the European Union - 1945-1959." EUROPA – The Official Website of the European Union. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://europa.eu/abc/history/1945-1959/index_en.htm>.

4 "Warsaw Pact - a Brief Description." Warsaw Life | Warsaw Travel Guide | Restaurants Shops Pubs and Apartments Warsaw Hotels | Poland. Web. 28 June 2010. http://www.warsaw-life.com/poland/warsaw-pact

5 Treaty, This. "OPOCE." EUR-Lex — Access to European Union Law — Choose Your Language. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/dat/11992M/htm/11992M.html>.

6Wells, Sherrill, and Samuel Wells. "Shared Sovereignty in the European Union: Germany's Governance." Yale Journal. Web. 26 June 2010.

7"Easy Reading Corner - Maps." EUROPA - European Commission - Homepage. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://ec.europa.eu/publications/maps/index_en.htm>.

8 "The Euro - ECFIN - European Commission." EUROPA - European Commission - Homepage. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/index_en.htm>.

9 "EUROPA - The EU at a Glance - European Treaties." EUROPA – The Official Website of the European Union. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://europa.eu/abc/treaties/index_en.htm>.

10 "EUROPA - The European Union at a Glance." EUROPA – The Official Website of the European Union. Web. 28 June 2010. http://europa.eu/abc/index_en.htm

11 Chanda, Nayan, and Thomas Friedman. "Globalization and Flattening the World." YaleGlobal Online Magazine. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/multimedia_list/video/5256>.

12"Globalization: Europe's Wary Embrace." YaleGlobal Online Magazine. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/globalization-europes-wary-embrace>.

13 "News Analysis: Globalization Drives a Wedge into EU." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/business/worldbusiness/23iht-union1.html>.

14 "YouTube - Great Documentary: EU - Remote Control (Part 1)." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtQt2IjeLVc>.

15 "BBC News - German Parliamentary Vote Backs Greece Bail-out Funding." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. Web. 27 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8666860.stm

16 "Economy: Why the Bailout of Greece Is in America's Best Interest - Newsweek." Newsweek - National News, World News, Business, Health, Technology, Entertainment and More - Newsweek. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/24/making-europe-safer.html>.

17 "BBC News - Q&A: Can Europe's 750bn Euro Bailout Package Work?" BBC NEWS | News Front Page. Web. 28 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10104169.stm

18 "YouTube - Professor David Cameron: The EU and the European Economic Crisis." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2-hUekud6w>.

19 "Financial Crisis Deepens in Greece - Video Library - The New York Times." Video Library Home Page - The New York Times. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/02/10/business/1247466963617/financial-crisis-deepens-in-greece.html?ref=european_union>.

20"Explaining Europe's Debt Crisis - Video Library - The New York Times." Video Library Home Page - The New York Times. Web. 28 June 2010. <http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/05/27/business/1247467933725/explaining-europe-s-debt-crisis.html?ref=european_union>.

21"Europe Still Has Problems : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 27 June 2010. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/05/europe.html>.