The European Union
Supranational Governance in Practice
The European Union is an economic and political union between 28 Member States in Europe. At the core of the EU are the Member States and their citizens. The unique feature of the EU is that, although these are all sovereign, independent countries, they have pooled some of their sovereignty in order to gain strength and the benifits of size.
Pooling soverignty means, in practice, that the Member States delegate some of their decision making powers to the shared institutions they have created, so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be taken democratically at the European level. The EU thus sits between a fully federal system, like the one found in the United States, and the loose, intergovernmental cooperration system seen in the United nations.
A History of Treaties and Defining Moments
The Nobel Peace Prize
The EU has achieved much since it ws created in 1950. It has delivered over half a century of peace, stability and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single Europeancurrency and built a single market for goods and services that spans 28 countries and 500 million citizens free to move and settle where they wish.
In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace,reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
European Union Facing its Challenges
The European union has had no shortage of crises to manage in recent years and many challenges still lie ahead. The EU has dealt with these threats to the euro-area stability, the fallout from the global economic crisis, increasing instability in the EU's neighborhood and increasing societal and political pressures stemmingfrom the migration crisis. The United Kingdom's decision to leave the EU adds further uncertainty to the future of EU integration.
European citizens expect the European Union to make a difference in helping address the biggest of the many global economic, enviornmental and societal challenges. Therefore, the three EU institutions committed in a joint declaration that the EU will give priorty treatment to legislative initiatives in the following policy areas:
- Boosting jobs, economic growth, and investment
- Addressing the social dimension of the EU
- Better protecting EU citizen's security
- Reforming the EU's migration policy in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity
- Delivering on a digital single market
- Building an energy union and a forward looking climate change policy