BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: Euro-glossary  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Euro-glossary Monday, 30 April, 2001, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
European Union
Flags of EU member states
The European Union is the framework for economic and political co-operation between 15 European countries.

EU member states
Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
The Netherlands
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
It began as a post-war initiative between six countries pooling control over coal and steel to guarantee a more peaceful future for Europe.

But it now manages co-operation on issues as wide-ranging as the environment, transport and employment, and wields increasing influence in defence and foreign policy.

It has five declared objectives:

  • To promote economic and social progress
  • To assert the identity of the European Union on the international scene
  • To introduce European citizenship
  • To develop an area of freedom, security and justice
  • To maintain and build on established EU law
Officially, the European Union only exists since the early 1990s, although the term has been used for much longer than that.

The Maastricht Treaty renamed the European Community the European Union by forming what are known as the three pillars of the EU.

They are:

  • European Community
  • Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Justice and Home Affairs

The first pillar is managed by the institutions of the EU, while the second and third work through inter-governmental co-operation.

The first pillar is responsible for the single market and freedom of movement across borders. It also looks after economic and monetary union and issues such as agriculture, environment and competition.

In this pillar, unlike the other two, member states have given up some of their sovereignty and EU institutions can act independently of the national governments.

In the second pillar, member states aim to hold common positions and take joint action on foreign and security affairs.

The objective of the Justice and Home Affairs pillar is to integrate member states' policies on asylum and immigration, customs, drugs and crime.

See also:

13 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Euro-glossary stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Euro-glossary stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes