The European Union is a unique political and economic partnership among 27 democracies united in their commitment to peace, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. The EU’s member states have shared some of their powers with EU institutions, and many decisions are now made at the European level.
5 important things to know about the EU:
1. The European Union has delivered more than 60 years of peace, stability, and prosperity in Europe, and has responded proactively to international crises through foreign development policies and dozens of civilian and military crisis management and conflict prevention operations around the world.
2. The EU is the United States’ most important partner in terms of not only political and economic relations, but also in addressing global challenges like promoting energy security and efficiency, combating climate change, and helping developing nations lift themselves out of poverty.
3. The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc, accounting for almost one-fifth of global trade. The EU’s single market of more than 500 million consumers is the EU’s main economic engine, enabling most goods, services, money, and people to move freely throughout its territory.
4. The EU and its member states collectively are the largest providers of official development assistance around the world.
5. The EU has implemented the most ambitious set of climate and energy targets anywhere in the world.
How the European Unions works:
The European Council: Made of of the hears of state or government of the Member States, along with the presidents of the European Commission and European Council, sets overall EU policy and is the highest political authority in the EU.
European Commission: Proposes legislation, manages and implements EU policies and the budget, enforces European law, and negotiates internationally in areas falling within its jurisdiction.
Council of the EU: Adopts laws (with the EP), coordinates specified policies, develops foreign and security policy, and concludes international agreements.
European Parliament (EP): Adopts laws (with the Council of the EU), voice of EU citizens, directly elected by the people.