The European Union (EU) is a political and economic partnership represents a unique form of cooperation between sovereign countries. The Union is the last step in a process of integration began after World War II, first by six Western European countries, to promote interdependence and make another war in Europe unthinkable. Today, the EU is composed of 28 member states, including most countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and helped to promote peace, stability and economic prosperity in the European continent.
The EU was built by a series of binding treaties, and over the years, EU Member States have sought to harmonize laws and adopt common policies on a growing number of economic, social, and political. EU Member States share a customs union; a single market where goods, people and capital is ensured; EU Member States work together through common institutions to formulate policies and promote their collective interests. The main EU institutions include the European Council, composed of the heads of state and government, which acts as a strategic guide and driving force of the EU policy; the European Commission, which defends the common interests of the Union as a whole and the functions of the EU executive; The Council of the European Union (also known as the Council of Ministers) represents 28 national governments. The Council adopts legislation, usually based on the proposals made by the Commission and decided in most cases, by the European Parliament. Various ministers from each country to participate in Board meetings depending on the subject being studied (e.g. foreign ministers would meet to discuss the Middle East, the agriculture ministers to discuss agricultural subsidies). Most decisions are subject to a system of majority voting in the complex, but some areas such as foreign and defense policy, taxation, or accept new members require unanimity. The Presidency of the Council rotates among member states, changing every six months; the country holding the Presidency helps set priorities for the agenda and organizes most of the Board’s work. Other institutions also play a key role. The Court of Justice interprets the laws of the EU and its decisions are binding; a Court of Auditors monitors the financial management; the European Central Bank manages the euro and EU monetary policy; and advisory committees represent economic, social and regional interests.
Why and how the enlargement of the EU?
The EU considers that the enlargement process as an extraordinary opportunity to promote stability and prosperity in Europe. Since 2004, the EU has increased from 15 to 28 countries, bringing in most of Central and Eastern Europe. The EU began as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 with six members (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom have joined this then became known as the European Community. Greece joined in 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986. In 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the current European Union. In 2004, the EU welcomed eight former communist countries of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus and Malta as a new member. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. Croatia became the 28th member of the EU on July 1, 2013. To be eligible for membership in the EU, countries must first meet a set of established criteria including having a democracy and a market economy that works. Once a country becomes an official candidate, accession negotiations are long and complex process in which the applicant must adopt and implement a massive body of EU laws and regulations. Analysts say the process of carefully managed enlargement is one of the most powerful EU policy tools, and that, over the years, he has helped transform many European countries in functioning democracies and societies richer. Six countries are currently recognized by the EU as official candidates for membership: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Iceland. All are at different stages of the accession process. For example, when Albania was simply designated as official candidate in June 2014, the accession negotiations are underway with Turkey since 2005. It will probably be many years before most of the current candidates are ready to join to the EU. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are also recognized as potential future EU applicants. The EU argues that the door remains open to any European country expansion that meets the political and economic criteria for EU membership. However, some European leaders and many EU citizens are cautious about the further expansion of the EU, in particular Turkey and countries further east, like Georgia or Ukraine, longer term. Is concerned still exists.
EU enlargement range from fears of unwanted migrants to the implications of an expanding Union institutions, finance, and the EU’s global identity. Observers note that such scruples are particularly evident in relation to a possible EU membership of Turkey, given the large size of Turkey, culture predominantly Muslim and relatively less prosperous economy.
How are the US-EU political relations?
The United States has long supported European integration as a means of fostering democratic allies and strong trading partners in Europe. During the Cold War, the EU project was considered the center of deterring the Soviet threat. Since then, the US has supported EU efforts to expand political and economic benefits of membership to Central and Eastern Europe, and continues to support the European aspirations of Turkey and the Western Balkans.
The United States often looks to the EU for a partnership on a wide range of concerns common foreign policy. During the last decade, the United States and the EU encouraged peace and stability in the Balkans and Afghanistan, strengthened cooperation in law enforcement and the fight against terrorism, and worked together to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran. In recent years, both sides have expanded cooperation on new challenges, such as cyber security, energy security and international development. As the United States, the EU has sought to support the political transition of Ukraine condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea, called for the end of Russian support for separatists in the east and southern Ukraine, and imposed a series of sanctions against Russia (including two tours targeting key sectors of the Russian economy in late July and early September 2014).
The EU has also been increasingly concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Syria and Iraq, the threat posed by the extremist movement Islamic state, and the growing number of citizens or European residents who struggle with Islamist groups. In light of the EU-US visa waiver agreements, the US and European authorities have worked together to better combat radicalization stem the flow of foreign fighters in the conflict zone, and follow those who return.
The EU also provides substantial humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Syria, and several EU Member States militarily involved in the air campaign by the US against the Islamic state (even if they are currently limit their actions air strikes and air support of Iraq). Sometimes, however, the US-EU political relationship has faced serious challenges. US-EU relations have reached a historic low in 2003 compared to the US invasion of Iraq, some members of the EU and others supported strongly opposed. Although the US-EU relations have largely rebounded since then, tensions exist on issues ranging from climate change to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And despite the close cooperation of the United States-EU-Ukraine crisis, differences remain over how best to manage relations with the longer term Russia. Data protection continues to be a sticking point in US-EU key. Some European leaders, including many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have long feared that many
Sharing agreements to combat information terrorism against the United States, the EU and do not adequately protect the privacy rights of European citizens’ data. European concerns were increased from unauthorized in June 2013 of the National Security Agency US surveillance programs disclosures, press reports suggest that US intelligence agencies monitored the diplomatic offices of the EU, and subsequent allegations of other US intelligence operations in Europe. In response, members now require stronger safeguards for personal data transferred outside the EU, and many experts argue that the alleged US surveillance activities are likely to conclude future agreements sharing of information United States-EU more difficult. Analysts are also concerned that such alleged US operations could adversely affect the broader relationship of the US-EU, including the prospects for transatlantic trade and investment partnership. Meanwhile, in recent years, European leaders also expressed concerns about the “pivot” US or rebalancing towards Asia. US officials emphasize that this rebalancing will not come at the expense of the transatlantic relationship and that the United States hopes to engage more closely with Europe in the future on issues of economic and strategic importance in Asia. At the same time, some US analysts say the EU remains concerned about its own economic and political problems, and therefore, is less able to be a strong partner for the United States in the fight against common international challenges.
Who are the equivalent of the official United States in the EU?
EU-US summits usually occur at least once a year; in the context of the Lisbon Treaty, the US president meets with the President of the European Commission and the European Council President. Contact the most common of the Secretary of State in the EU context is the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the Union and Security Policy. Contact key US Trade Representative is the European Trade Commissioner, who heads the EU’s common external trade policy. Other US ministerial-level officials interact with their counterparts from the Commission or the Member State Ministers in the formation of the Cabinet when problems arise. Many relationships at work between US officials and the EU also exist. A delegation to Washington, DC, represents the European Union in its relations with the United States government, while the US Mission to the European Union represents Washington’s interests in Brussels.
How are the US-EU economic relations?
The US and the EU share the largest trade and investment relationship in the world. Despite the global economic slowdown in 2008-2009, the American and European economies combined account for over 50% of global GDP, about 25% of world exports and 30% of world imports. According to a recent study, the transatlantic economy generates $ 5 trillion commercial sales a year and employs up to 15 million workers on both sides of the Atlantic. Of particular importance is the fact that the US and European companies are the biggest investors in the economies of the other total stock of direct bilateral investments was $ 3.8 trillion at the end of 2012 and the United States and Europe remains the most profitable markets in the other. Although the vast majority of the economic relationship of US-EU States is harmonious, tensions exist. Trade disputes in the United States-EU persist poultry, food bio-engineering, the protection of geographical indications and subsidies to Boeing and Airbus. Many analysts note that the resolution of commercial disputes in the United States, the EU and has become increasingly difficult, in part because both parties are economic strength almost equal and neither has the ability to impose concessions another. Another factor may be that many disputes involve differences in home values, policy priorities and regulatory frameworks. The US and the EU have made a number of attempts to reduce non-tariff and remaining regulatory barriers to trade and investment. The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) was established at the US-EU summit in 2007 and to take forward the process of regulatory cooperation and reducing barriers to trade. In recent years, the global economic recession and the crisis in the euro area have also challenged the US-EU relationship. Given the vast transatlantic economic ties, US officials fear that the crisis of the EU debt could affect US exports to and sales of American companies in Europe, or the ripple effects could weaken US financial institutions and push the US into recession should any member of the euro area default. In response, the Obama administration has urged the EU to take strong action to resolve the debt crisis and called for more financial assistance to struggling economies in the euro zone. While US concerns about the crisis in the euro area declined amid US economic growth and increased market stability in Europe, some American policymakers continue to question what they see as the focus the EU on the austerity measures, saying that more efforts are needed to promote growth. In light of the budgetary and economic difficulties on both sides of the Atlantic, in November 2011, the US and European leaders directed the TEC to establish a High Level Task Force (HLTF) on jobs and growth. The HLTF was to examine ways to increase trade and investment in the United States, the EU and further stimulate job creation and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
Based on the recommendations of the final report of the HLTF, the United States and the EU began negotiations in July 2013 on an ambitious, high free-trade standard, known under the trade name and Partnership transatlantic investment (TTIP). Both parties hope that the negotiations will TTIP reach an agreement that opens more markets and US and EU exports increase; strengthens investment rules-based; plated costly non-tariff barriers; reducing regulatory barriers; and strengthens cooperation on trade issues of global concern. Historically, the cooperation of the United States, the EU and has been a driving force behind efforts to liberalize world trade and to ensure the stability of international financial markets. U.S. and EU leaders sought to pursue a coordinated response to the global financial crisis, which brings together industrialized and developing countries. And many consider the US-European cooperation is essential to the management of emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil in the coming years. At the same time, divisions exist both between EU countries and between the EU and the United States in certain policy areas. US-EU disagreement over agricultural subsidies, for example, has contributed to the impasse in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. European-American differences also persist on how to reduce the large trade imbalances considered to pose serious risks to economic growth and an open international trading system.
EU decision-making process and the role played by the EU institutions vary depending on the subject being studied. For most economic and social issues, EU member states have largely pooled their national sovereignty, and the EU’s decision-making has a supranational quality. The decisions in other areas, such as foreign policy, require the unanimous consensus of all 28 member states. The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, is the latest attempt by the EU to reform its institutions of governance and decision-making process to enable the enlarged Union to function more efficiently. The Lisbon Treaty also aims to give the EU a stronger voice in the area of foreign policy and to increase democratic transparency in the EU. Other key measures, the Lisbon Treaty simplifies voting system by a qualified majority of the EU and extending its use to areas previously subject to unanimity the Member State to the Council of Ministers of the policy; This change was intended in part to speed up the EU decision-making and improve efficiency. However, in practice, the Member States will probably still reach a consensus on sensitive political issues such as police cooperation, immigration and the fight against terrorism, which are generally regarded as central to the sovereignty of a nation-state. At the same time, the mere possibility of a vote may make the governments of member states more willing to compromise and reach a common political decision.
In addition, the Lisbon Treaty increases the relative power of the European Parliament in an effort to improve democratic accountability. It strengthens the role of Parliament in the budget process of the EU and extends the use of the decision procedure cooperated in several areas, including issues of agriculture and home affairs. As such, the Treaty gives Parliament an equal voice with the Member States in the Council of Ministers in the vast majority of EU legislation with a few exceptions, like most aspects of political foreign and defense. In addition, the Lisbon Treaty provides national parliaments with a degree of greater authority to challenge EU legislation project and allows the possibility of further legislative proposals on the basis of citizens’ initiatives. The United States strongly supported the project of European integration since its creation as a means of fostering democratic states and strong trading partners in Europe. The US and the EU have a dynamic political partnership and share a business relationship and huge investment. To expand and strengthen the transatlantic economy even further, the US and the EU are pursuing a comprehensive and ambitious transatlantic trade and investment partnership. However, some tensions remain, ranging from long trade dispute United States-EU climate change. Despite the close cooperation of the United States-EU-Ukraine crisis, differences also exist on how best to manage relations with Russia in the longer term. And confidentiality of data continues to be a sticking point key US-EU, especially after unauthorized disclosure since June 2013 US alleged surveillance activities in Europe.
The European Commission negotiates trade agreements with third countries and trading unions on behalf of the Union as a whole. As a result of the Lisbon Treaty, both the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must approve these trade agreements before they can take effect. The process of negotiation and conclusion of a new international agreement on trade begins with discussions between the three institutions of the EU and an impact assessment of the Commission, including a public consultation on the content and options for any future trade agreement. Provided there is a general agreement to proceed, the Commission launches an informal scoping exercise with the potential partner country or trading bloc in the range and scope of topics to be considered in negotiations. The “guidelines” are subject to the Board for approval, and shared with the European Parliament.