European Union

European Union: Advancing Unity, Prosperity, & Integration

European Union set in 1993, fosters political and economic integration among 27 member states. It promotes aid in areas like trade, security, and environmental policy. It acts under a system of supranational governance, with institutions like the European Commission & Parliament shaping its policies & legislation.

European Union

Overview

European Union (EU) stands as one of the most significant political and economic entities in the contemporary world. With its roots tracing back to the aftermath of World War II, the EU has evolved into a complex union of 27 member states, fostering cooperation and integration across multiple domains. From its humble beginnings as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to its current status as a global economic powerhouse, this article by Academic Block embark the EU’s journey that is marked by its milestones, challenges, and achievements.

Historical Background

The genesis of the European Union can be traced back to the devastation wrought by World War II. The war left Europe in ruins, both physically and economically, prompting leaders to seek a path towards lasting peace and prosperity. In 1951, the Treaty of Paris established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), laying the groundwork for cooperation among six founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The ECSC aimed to regulate the coal and steel industries, vital for reconstruction and defense, under a supranational authority.

Building upon the success of the ECSC, the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). These treaties aimed to foster economic integration and cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, respectively. Over the following decades, the EU expanded both geographically and functionally, with successive treaties deepening integration and enhancing cooperation among member states.

Institutional Framework

At the heart of the European Union’s institutional framework lies a complex system of supranational, intergovernmental, and judicial bodies. The European Commission, composed of appointed commissioners from each member state, serves as the EU’s executive arm, proposing legislation, implementing policies, and representing the Union on the global stage. The European Parliament, directly elected by EU citizens, functions as the legislative body, alongside the Council of the European Union, where member states’ governments are represented.

Furthermore, the European Council, comprising the heads of state or government of member states, sets the EU’s overall political direction and priorities. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ensures the uniform interpretation and application of EU law, while the European Central Bank (ECB) oversees monetary policy for the eurozone countries. Together, these institutions form a complex decision-making framework designed to balance the interests of member states and promote the common good.

Key Policies and Areas of Competence

The European Union’s competences span a wide range of policy areas, reflecting its multifaceted role in shaping the lives of its citizens and fostering cooperation among member states. One of the EU’s primary objectives is the promotion of economic prosperity and social cohesion through the single market, which facilitates the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the Union. This internal market, underpinned by common rules and standards, has significantly boosted trade and investment across Europe, driving economic growth and job creation.

In addition to economic integration, the EU is committed to upholding fundamental rights and values, including democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Through mechanisms such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU seeks to protect and promote these core principles, both within its borders and beyond. Moreover, the EU plays a leading role in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, migration, and security, through international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy.

Enlargement and Integration

Since its inception, the European Union has undergone multiple rounds of enlargement, welcoming new member states and expanding its reach across the continent. Enlargement has been a key driver of stability and prosperity, extending the benefits of EU membership to countries emerging from periods of transition and upheaval. The accession process entails rigorous criteria, known as the Copenhagen criteria, which require candidate countries to demonstrate a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and market economy principles.

The most significant enlargement occurred in 2004, when ten countries, primarily from Central and Eastern Europe, joined the EU, followed by further expansions in subsequent years. These accession rounds not only deepened integration but also posed challenges in terms of institutional reform, policy coordination, and socioeconomic convergence. Nonetheless, the EU remains committed to the enlargement process, provided that candidate countries meet the necessary criteria and adhere to the principles of good governance and respect for fundamental rights.

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite its achievements, the European Union faces a myriad of challenges that threaten its unity and cohesion. Economic disparities persist between member states, exacerbated by the global financial crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, rising populism and nationalism have fueled Euroscepticism in some quarters, challenging the EU’s legitimacy and effectiveness. Brexit, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, exemplifies the complexities of disintegration and the need for robust mechanisms to manage such processes.

Furthermore, external pressures, including geopolitical tensions, migration flows, and technological disruption, pose additional challenges to the EU’s resilience and adaptability. As the world undergoes profound transformations, the EU must navigate a rapidly evolving landscape, safeguarding its interests while upholding its values and principles. Enhanced cooperation, greater solidarity, and institutional reform are essential to overcoming these challenges and shaping a prosperous and sustainable future for the European Union and its citizens.

Final Words

In conclusion, the European Union stands as a testament to the power of cooperation and integration in fostering peace, prosperity, and stability. From its humble beginnings as a coal and steel community to its current status as a global actor, the EU has made remarkable strides in advancing the interests of its member states and promoting the common good. As it confronts new challenges and opportunities in the 21st century, the EU must remain true to its founding ideals while embracing innovation and reform to secure a brighter future for generations to come. Hope you liked this article by Academic Block, please provide your insightful thoughts to make this article better. Thanks for Reading!

This Article will answer your questions like:

What are the EU countries?

European Union comprises 27 member states, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

What did European Union do?

European Union fosters political and economic integration among its member states, promoting cooperation in areas such as trade, security, environmental policy, and the establishment of a single currency, the euro.

What is the role of the EU?

European Union plays a key role in fostering political and economic integration among its member states, promoting cooperation in various areas such as trade, security, environmental policy, and human rights.

When was the European Union founded?

The European Union was founded on November 1, 1993, with the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty, aiming to deepen political and economic integration among its member states.

What are the benefits of EU membership?

EU membership provides access to a single market, facilitating free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor, fostering economic growth and trade opportunities.

What is the European single market?

The European single market is a unified trade area within the European Union, allowing the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people among member states, without barriers like tariffs or quotas, fostering economic integration and growth.

What is the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders, allowing for unrestricted movement of people within the area.

What are the criteria for joining the European Union?

Countries seeking EU membership must meet criteria related to political stability, democracy, rule of law, human rights, and functioning market economies. They must also adopt and implement EU laws and regulations, aligning their policies with EU standards and values.

What is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)?

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is an EU policy that aims to support farmers, ensure food security, and promote rural development through subsidies, price support mechanisms, and market interventions.

Area served: Europe

Founded in: 1 November 19 in Maastricht, Netherlands

Founded by: Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium

Awards: Bambi – Millennium Award, Nobel Peace Prize, Princess of Asturias Award for Concord

Website: www.europa.eu

Branch of Power in European Union (EU)

Legislative Branch:

The legislative branch of the EU consists of two main institutions:

European Parliament: The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected legislative body of the European Union. Its members, known as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), are elected by EU citizens every five years. The Parliament represents the interests of EU citizens and participates in the legislative process by debating, amending, and adopting EU laws. It also exercises democratic oversight over other EU institutions, including the European Commission.

Council of the European Union: The Council of the European Union, often referred to simply as the Council or the Council of Ministers, represents the member states’ governments. It is composed of ministers from each member state, who are responsible for specific policy areas depending on the Council configuration. The Council, together with the European Parliament, adopts EU legislation based on proposals from the European Commission. It also coordinates the policies of member states and sets the EU’s overall political direction.

Executive Branch:

The executive branch of the EU consists of several institutions, with the following being the primary ones:

European Commission: The European Commission serves as the EU’s executive arm and is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing EU policies, and managing the day-to-day affairs of the Union. It is composed of commissioners appointed by each member state, who are selected based on their expertise and experience. The Commission also represents the EU on the international stage and ensures the enforcement of EU law.

European Council: The European Council comprises the heads of state or government of EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. While the European Council does not have legislative powers, it sets the EU’s overall political direction and provides strategic guidance on key issues, such as economic policy, foreign affairs, and security.

Judicial Branch:

The judicial branch of the EU ensures the uniform interpretation and application of EU law. It primarily consists of the following institutions:

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The CJEU is the highest judicial authority in the European Union and is responsible for interpreting EU law and ensuring its uniform application across all member states. It consists of two main courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court. The CJEU hears cases brought by individuals, businesses, member states, and EU institutions concerning the interpretation and application of EU law.

European Court of Auditors: The European Court of Auditors (ECA) is responsible for auditing the EU’s finances and ensuring the legality and regularity of EU expenditure. It examines the EU’s accounts, evaluates the effectiveness of EU policies and programs, and provides independent assurance to EU citizens and policymakers.

How the European Union works

Institutional Framework:

At the heart of the EU’s institutional framework are several key institutions, each with specific roles and functions:

European Commission: The European Commission serves as the EU’s executive arm and is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing EU policies, and managing the day-to-day affairs of the Union. It is composed of commissioners appointed by each member state, who are selected based on their expertise and experience.

European Parliament: The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected legislative body of the European Union. Its members, known as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), are elected by EU citizens every five years. The Parliament represents the interests of EU citizens and participates in the legislative process by debating, amending, and adopting EU laws. It also exercises democratic oversight over other EU institutions, including the European Commission.

Council of the European Union: The Council of the European Union, often referred to simply as the Council or the Council of Ministers, represents the member states’ governments. It is composed of ministers from each member state, who are responsible for specific policy areas depending on the Council configuration. The Council, together with the European Parliament, adopts EU legislation based on proposals from the European Commission. It also coordinates the policies of member states and sets the EU’s overall political direction.

European Council: The European Council comprises the heads of state or government of EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. While the European Council does not have legislative powers, it sets the EU’s overall political direction and provides strategic guidance on key issues, such as economic policy, foreign affairs, and security.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The CJEU is the highest judicial authority in the European Union and is responsible for interpreting EU law and ensuring its uniform application across all member states. It consists of two main courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court. The CJEU hears cases brought by individuals, businesses, member states, and EU institutions concerning the interpretation and application of EU law.

Decision-Making Process:

The EU’s decision-making process involves several stages and requires cooperation among its institutions:

Legislative Procedure: The legislative process typically begins with a proposal from the European Commission, which is then reviewed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Depending on the policy area, different legislative procedures may apply, such as the ordinary legislative procedure (codecision), the consultation procedure, or the consent procedure.

Council Meetings: The Council of the European Union convenes regularly to discuss and negotiate EU legislation, policies, and initiatives. Depending on the agenda, Council meetings may involve different configurations composed of relevant ministers from member states.

European Council Summits: The European Council holds regular summits to address strategic issues and provide guidance on the EU’s overall direction. These summits bring together the heads of state or government of EU member states and are chaired by the President of the European Council.

Policy Areas:

The European Union operates in a wide range of policy areas, including:

Internal Market: The EU’s internal market aims to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the Union, fostering economic integration and cooperation.

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP): The EU coordinates its foreign and security policies to promote peace, stability, and cooperation on the international stage.

Justice and Home Affairs: The EU works to promote cooperation in areas such as police and judicial cooperation, border management, asylum and migration, and the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU): The eurozone countries share a common currency, the euro, and coordinate their economic and monetary policies to ensure stability and prosperity.

Enlargement and External Relations:

The EU seeks to promote stability, democracy, and prosperity beyond its borders through enlargement and external relations:

Enlargement: The EU has expanded through several rounds of enlargement, welcoming new member states and promoting reforms in candidate countries aspiring to join the Union.

External Relations: The EU engages with other countries and international organizations to promote peace, security, development, and human rights through diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian cooperation.

European Single Market, Schengen Area & Common Agricultural Policy

European Single Market: The European Single Market, established in 1993, is a cornerstone of the European Union’s economic integration efforts, aiming to create a seamless and barrier-free environment for trade and commerce among member states. It facilitates the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the EU, eliminating tariffs, quotas, and other barriers to trade. The Single Market is governed by common rules and standards, ensuring a level playing field for businesses and consumers across Europe.

It has significantly boosted intra-EU trade, investment, and economic growth, creating opportunities for businesses to expand their markets and consumers to access a wider range of products and services. Despite its successes, challenges remain, including regulatory divergences, administrative burdens, and the need for further harmonization to unlock the full potential of the Single Market.

Schengen Area: The Schengen Area, established in 1995, is a zone of free movement that allows individuals to travel without passport controls or border checks within participating countries. It currently comprises 26 European countries, including 22 EU member states and four non-EU countries. The Schengen Agreement aims to facilitate travel, tourism, and trade within the area while enhancing security cooperation and border management.

It has simplified travel procedures and promoted cross-border integration, benefiting both citizens and businesses. However, the Schengen Area faces challenges related to migration, security threats, and border controls, prompting calls for strengthened cooperation and coordination among member states to address these issues effectively.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the European Union’s oldest and most significant policies, aimed at supporting agricultural production, ensuring food security, and promoting rural development across member states. Established in the 1960s, the CAP has undergone several reforms to adapt to changing agricultural practices, market dynamics, and policy objectives.

It provides financial support to farmers through direct payments, market measures, and rural development programs, aiming to stabilize incomes, improve competitiveness, and enhance environmental sustainability in the agricultural sector. However, the CAP has faced criticism for its complexity, budgetary costs, and environmental impacts, leading to calls for further reform to align agricultural policies with broader societal goals, such as climate action, biodiversity conservation, and rural revitalization.

Criteria for joining the European Union

Political Criteria:

Stability of Institutions: Candidate countries must have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities. This includes having a functioning system of government with free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, and effective mechanisms for upholding civil liberties and political freedoms.

Respect for Human Rights: Candidate countries must demonstrate a commitment to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in international conventions and treaties. This includes protecting the rights of individuals, minorities, and vulnerable groups, and ensuring access to justice and effective remedies for human rights violations.

Rule of Law: Candidate countries must establish and maintain a legal framework based on the rule of law, with effective mechanisms for ensuring legal certainty, impartiality, and accountability. This includes respecting the independence of the judiciary, combating corruption and organized crime, and ensuring the separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

Economic Criteria:

Stable Market Economy: Candidate countries must have a functioning market economy capable of withstanding competitive pressure and market forces within the EU. This includes having macroeconomic stability, sustainable public finances, and a regulatory framework conducive to economic growth, investment, and entrepreneurship.

Ability to Adopt and Implement EU Laws: Candidate countries must demonstrate the ability to adopt and implement the body of EU laws, regulations, and standards known as the acquis communautaire. This requires aligning national legislation with EU norms and standards across various policy areas, including the single market, competition, environment, and consumer protection.

Capacity to Handle EU Membership Obligations: Candidate countries must have the administrative capacity and institutional framework necessary to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities of EU membership. This includes building the necessary administrative structures, regulatory bodies, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with EU rules and regulations.

Acquis Communautaire:

Acceptance of EU Laws and Policies: Candidate countries must accept and adhere to the principles and policies of the EU, as embodied in the acquis communautaire. This includes respecting the four freedoms of the single market (free movement of goods, services, capital, and people), adopting common policies and standards, and contributing to the overall objectives and values of the EU.

Progress in Alignment with EU Standards: Candidate countries must demonstrate progress in aligning their national legislation, policies, and practices with EU standards and requirements. This involves ongoing reforms and adjustments to ensure compatibility and convergence with EU norms and objectives.

History of European Union

Post-World War II and the Birth of European Integration (1945-1957)

The devastation of World War II left Europe in ruins, both economically and politically. In the aftermath of the war, leaders sought to prevent future conflicts by fostering cooperation and integration among European nations. This vision culminated in the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The ECSC, comprising six founding members (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany), aimed to regulate the coal and steel industries, vital for reconstruction and defense, under a supranational authority.

Building upon the success of the ECSC, the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, creating two additional communities: the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The EEC aimed to establish a common market among member states, promoting economic integration and cooperation, while Euratom focused on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. These treaties laid the groundwork for what would later become the European Union.

Treaty of Maastricht and the Emergence of the EU (1992)

The evolution of European integration continued with the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. This landmark treaty established the European Union as a political and economic union, paving the way for deeper integration among member states. The Treaty of Maastricht introduced key pillars of EU cooperation, including the establishment of a single currency, the euro, and the creation of common foreign and security policies. Moreover, it formalized the concept of European citizenship, granting EU citizens certain rights and privileges.

Enlargement and Institutional Reform (2004-2007)

The early 2000s witnessed significant developments in the expansion and consolidation of the European Union. In 2004, the EU experienced its largest enlargement to date, welcoming ten new member states, primarily from Central and Eastern Europe. This historic expansion not only deepened integration but also posed challenges in terms of institutional reform, policy coordination, and socioeconomic convergence.

Furthermore, the period saw efforts to strengthen the EU’s institutional framework and streamline decision-making processes. The Treaty of Nice, signed in 2001 and ratified in 2003, aimed to reform EU institutions to accommodate the needs of an enlarged Union. However, the Treaty of Nice was seen as a transitional arrangement, leading to calls for further reforms to enhance the EU’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Treaty of Lisbon and Institutional Consolidation (2007-2009)

The Treaty of Lisbon, signed in 2007 and entered into force in 2009, represented a significant step towards institutional consolidation and reform within the European Union. Building upon the failed attempt to ratify the European Constitution, the Treaty of Lisbon sought to streamline decision-making processes, strengthen the role of national parliaments, and enhance the EU’s ability to act in areas such as foreign policy and security.

Moreover, the Treaty of Lisbon introduced the concept of the European Citizens’ Initiative, allowing EU citizens to petition the European Commission to propose legislation on matters of interest to them. Additionally, it established the position of President of the European Council, providing greater continuity and visibility to the EU’s highest political body.

Brexit and the Challenges of Disintegration (2016-present)

One of the most significant events in recent EU history is the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, commonly known as Brexit. In a referendum held in June 2016, a slim majority of British voters chose to leave the EU, triggering a complex and contentious withdrawal process. After years of negotiations and political turmoil, the UK officially exited the EU on January 31, 2020, marking the first time a member state had ever invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to leave the Union.

Brexit has profound implications for both the United Kingdom and the European Union, affecting trade, security, and cooperation in various areas. The EU and the UK have since negotiated a trade and cooperation agreement, outlining their future relationship in areas such as trade, fisheries, and law enforcement. However, Brexit continues to pose challenges in terms of regulatory divergence, border controls, and the future of EU-UK relations.

Benefits of the EU membership

Access to the Single Market: EU membership grants access to the world’s largest single market, encompassing over 447 million consumers. This allows businesses to trade goods, services, and capital freely across borders without tariffs or barriers, promoting economic growth and job creation.

Free Movement of Goods, Services, Capital, and People: The EU’s single market ensures the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the Union. This facilitates cross-border trade, investment, and labor mobility, fostering economic integration and cooperation among member states.

Economic Stability and Growth: EU membership promotes economic stability and growth through mechanisms such as the eurozone, which offers a common currency (the euro) to participating countries. This reduces exchange rate volatility and transaction costs, enhancing economic efficiency and competitiveness.

Access to Funding and Investment: Member states have access to EU funding and investment programs, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which support regional development, infrastructure projects, and innovation initiatives. These funds help reduce disparities between regions and promote sustainable growth across the EU.

Political Influence and Diplomatic Power: EU membership amplifies the political influence and diplomatic power of member states on the global stage. By speaking and acting collectively, EU countries can advance shared interests, negotiate trade agreements, and address global challenges more effectively than they could individually.

Enhanced Consumer and Environmental Protection: The EU establishes common standards and regulations to protect consumers, safeguard public health, and preserve the environment. This ensures high-quality products and services, promotes sustainable development, and improves the overall well-being of citizens across the Union.

Social Cohesion and Solidarity: EU membership fosters social cohesion and solidarity by promoting equality, non-discrimination, and social justice. Through initiatives such as the European Social Fund (ESF), the EU supports employment, education, and social inclusion programs to reduce poverty and inequality.

Access to Education and Research Opportunities: EU membership provides access to educational and research opportunities through programs such as Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe. These initiatives promote student mobility, academic collaboration, and scientific innovation, enriching the knowledge base and human capital of member states.

Security and Defense Cooperation: The EU promotes security and defense cooperation among its member states through initiatives such as the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). By pooling resources and capabilities, EU countries can address common security threats, combat terrorism, and contribute to international peacekeeping efforts.

Cultural Exchange and Diversity: EU membership facilitates cultural exchange and diversity by promoting cross-border collaboration, mobility, and dialogue among member states. This enriches Europe’s cultural heritage, fosters mutual understanding, and strengthens the bonds of solidarity among its diverse populations.

Main institutions of the European Union

European Commission:

The European Commission serves as the executive branch of the European Union and is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing EU policies, and managing the day-to-day affairs of the Union. Some of the key functions of the European Commission include:

    • Proposing new laws and initiatives to address common challenges and achieve common objectives.
    • Implementing EU policies and programs, including the management of EU funds and resources.
    • Representing the EU on the international stage and negotiating agreements with other countries and international organizations.
    • Enforcing EU law and ensuring compliance by member states and other stakeholders.

European Parliament:

The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected legislative body of the European Union and represents the interests of EU citizens. Its main functions include:

    • Participating in the legislative process by debating, amending, and adopting EU laws and regulations.
    • Exercising democratic oversight over other EU institutions, including the European Commission.
    • Approving the EU budget and holding the European Commission accountable for its implementation.
    • Representing the interests of EU citizens and promoting their rights and concerns.

Council of the European Union:

The Council of the European Union, often referred to as the Council or the Council of Ministers, represents the member states’ governments and is responsible for making decisions on EU legislation and policies. Its key functions include:

    • Adopting EU laws and regulations based on proposals from the European Commission and in consultation with the European Parliament.
    • Coordinating the policies of member states in various policy areas, such as foreign affairs, economic policy, and justice and home affairs.
    • Negotiating agreements with other countries and international organizations on behalf of the EU.
    • Setting the EU’s overall political direction and priorities.

European Council:

The European Council comprises the heads of state or government of EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. It provides strategic guidance and direction on key issues affecting the EU’s overall political agenda. Some of its main functions include:

    • Setting the EU’s strategic priorities and objectives, particularly in areas such as economic policy, foreign affairs, and security.
    • Addressing major challenges and crises facing the EU, such as economic downturns, migration flows, and geopolitical tensions.
    • Providing guidance and instructions to other EU institutions on policy initiatives and legislative proposals.
    • Representing the EU at the highest political level in relations with other countries and international organizations.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU):

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the highest judicial authority in the European Union and is responsible for interpreting EU law and ensuring its uniform application across all member states. It consists of two main courts:

    • The Court of Justice, which interprets EU law and settles disputes between EU institutions, member states, and individuals.
    • The General Court, which hears cases brought by individuals, businesses, and member states against EU institutions and bodies.
    • The CJEU plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rule of law, protecting fundamental rights, and upholding the principles of the EU legal order.

Academic References on the European Union

Books:

  1. Bache, I., & Jordan, A. (2013). The Europeanization of British Politics. Palgrave Macmillan.
  2. Dinan, D. (2014). Ever Closer Union: An Introduction to European Integration. Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. Cini, M., & Borragán, N. P. (2016). European Union Politics. Oxford University Press.
  4. Nugent, N. (2017). The Government and Politics of the European Union. Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. Hix, S., & Høyland, B. (2011). The Political System of the European Union. Palgrave Macmillan.
  6. Moravcsik, A. (2013). The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht. Cornell University Press.
  7. McCormick, J. (2017). Understanding the European Union: A Concise Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Articles:

  1. Peterson, J., & Shackleton, M. (2006). The Institutions of the European Union. International Affairs, 82(1), 75-92.
  2. Hooghe, L., & Marks, G. (2008). A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permissive Consensus to Constraining Dissensus. British Journal of Political Science, 39(1), 1-23.
  3. Schmidt, V. A. (2016). The European Union: Democratic Legitimacy in a Regional State? Journal of Common Market Studies, 54(2), 219-237.
  4. Checkel, J. T. (2005). International Institutions and Socialization in Europe: Introduction and Framework. International Organization, 59(4), 801-826.
  5. Scharpf, F. W. (2012). The European Union and the Crisis of the State. MPIfG Discussion Paper, (12/6).
  6. Risse, T. (2012). A Community of Europeans? Transnational Identities and Public Spheres. Cornell University Press.
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