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European Union

The European Union is a political and economic union comprised of twenty-seven member states, located mostly in Europe. It was created during the aftereffects of the Second World War and had the objective of creating economic cooperation so countries who trade with each other can be interdependent. In 1958, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created and fostered economic collaboration between Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The EEC began to expand into assisting in policy, including issues in the environment and development aid. In 1993, the EEC changed its name to the European Union (EU)¹.

The EU operates on the agreement that all of its actions are created by treaties and are democratically agreed upon by all countries. The EU’s central goals are promoting human rights and equality. In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed, bringing the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights together on one document¹.

The EU’s uses a decision-making procedure called “codecision”, where the Council and European Parliament need to approve EU legislation together¹. Before this can happen, the potential economic, social, and environmental consequences need to be assessed. “Impact assessments” outline the advantages and disadvantages of the policy options¹.

Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament¹.



1. European Union. Basic information on the European Union. Retrieved from

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