Across the EU, belief was higher among women, older people, those with religious upbringing, those who left school at 15 or 16, and those "positioning themselves on the right of the political scale". The developing European transport policies will increase the pressure on the environment in many regions by the increased transport network. The other sports with the most participants in clubs are tennis, basketball, swimming, athletics, golf, gymnastics, equestrian sports, handball, volleyball and sailing. Initially, these reforms included the introduction of set-aside in 1988, where a proportion of farm land was deliberately withdrawn from production, milk quotas and, more recently, the 'de-coupling' (or disassociation) of the money farmers receive from the EU and the amount they produce (by the Fischler reforms in 2004). The EU has also promoted human rights issues in the wider world. The Euro vs. [288], The EU has no major competences in the field of health care and Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that "A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities". [61][62] Jean Rey presided over the first merged Commission (Rey Commission). This international dimension is reflected in the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme,[277] which recognises that its objectives can only be achieved if key international agreements are actively supported and properly implemented both at EU level and worldwide. According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2015 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union, accounting for 71.6% of the EU population. There have been fewer wars fought on the continent then at any time since the reign of the Roman Empire over the region. [233], 19 member states have joined a monetary union known as the eurozone, which uses the euro as a single currency. In 1990, after the fall of the Eastern Bloc, the former East Germany became part of the Communities as part of a reunified Germany.[69]. [ac] It was, until recently, operated by a system of subsidies and market intervention. This lacuna has been addressed by the recently passed Directive on services in the internal market which aims to liberalise the cross border provision of services. It shares with the Council of the EU equal legislative powers to amend, approve or reject Commission proposals for most areas of EU legislation. 65,993 km (41,006 mi) coastline dominates the European climate (Natural Park of Penyal d'Ifac, Spain), Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest peak in the EU, The Danube (pictured in Budapest), is the longest river in the European Union, Repovesi National Park in Finland, where there are some 187,888 lakes larger than 500 square metres (5,382 sq ft), Nuorgam, a village in the Utsjoki municipality, is the northernmost point of the European Union, Including the overseas territories of France which are located outside the continent of Europe, but which are members of the union, the EU experiences most types of climate from Arctic (north-east Europe) to tropical (French Guiana), rendering meteorological averages for the EU as a whole meaningless. [19][70] The treaty also gave the name European Community to the EEC, even if it was referred as such before the treaty. In 2002, the currency was fully put into place, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the eurozone, which by then consisted of 12 member states. With a population of 510 million, it is the largest consumer market in the world. [149] The other 26 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President. [182], The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht Treaty. 16–22). The overall life expectancy in the EU in 2018 was 81.0 years, higher than the World average of 72.6 years. defence). [109][110] The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ratified by most EU states provides general guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage. Living, working, travelling in the EU. It acts externally as a "collective head of state" and ratifies important documents (for example, international agreements and treaties).[143]. Article 256(1) (ex article 225(1)) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on. The European Commission conducts its internal business in three procedural languages: English, French, and German. The Council of Europe gave the flag a symbolic description in the following terms,[308] though the official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the "Western world":[309]. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the League of Nations, precursor of the United Nations. Regulations, directives, and decisions are of equal legal value and apply without any formal hierarchy. Euratom was to integrate sectors in nuclear energy while the EEC would develop a customs union among members. MEPs are elected on a national basis and they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. [y] By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.[z]. [o] The EU's highest peak is Mont Blanc in the Graian Alps, 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level. [262], The policy's price controls and market interventions led to considerable overproduction. Since 1993, the EU has worked to increase economies and spread human rights advances worldwide. "[178] The Court of Justice has long recognised fundamental rights and has, on occasion, invalidated EU legislation based on its failure to adhere to those fundamental rights.[179]. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. Before this, three territories of member states had left the EU or its forerunners. Examples of such alliances include the Visegrad Group, Benelux, the Baltic Assembly, the New Hanseatic League, the Weimar Triangle, the Lublin Triangle, EU Med Group and the Craiova Group. It has developed a single, internal market through a system of standardized laws that apply in every member state. Consists of 705 directly elected representatives. [139][140] It is less integrated than a federal state because it is not a state in its own right: sovereignty continues to flow 'from the bottom up', from the several peoples of the separate member states, rather than from a single undifferentiated whole. [121] Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides the basis for a member to leave the Union. [198] The EEAS will serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. Besides naming the continent, the Greek mythological figure of Europa has frequently been employed as a personification of Europe. [128] The lowest points in the EU are Lammefjorden, Denmark and Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands, at 7 m (23 ft) below sea level. [59][60], During the 1960s, tensions began to show, with France seeking to limit supranational power. This figure is from February 2020, and takes account of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Abolition of the death penalty is a condition for EU membership. [153], In the ordinary legislative procedure, the European Commission proposes legislation, which requires the joint approval of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to pass. [158] "Rural development, environment and fisheries" takes up around 11%. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom (4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and the Netherlands (1.4 million). In addition, the principle of subsidiarity requires that only those matters that need to be determined collectively are so determined. [283], Basic education is an area where the EU's role is limited to supporting national governments. [207], Since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, France is the only member officially recognised as a nuclear weapon state and the sole holder of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. [267] The euro area unemployment rate was 8.1%. In the eurozone, trade is helped by not having any currency differences to deal with amongst most members. [203], The predecessors of the European Union were not devised as a military alliance because NATO was largely seen as appropriate and sufficient for defence purposes. Partnership and cooperation agreements are bilateral agreements with non-member nations. These included the Working Time Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The charter is a codified catalogue of fundamental rights against which the EU's legal acts can be judged. It has been described by some as the Union's "supreme political authority". At present, the European Union (EU) is a collection of 27 countries, the majority of the European continent, which commits themselves to social, political and economic cooperation. außerordentlicher Karlspreis 2004", Press freedom in the EU Legal framework and challenges, "European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations", "Institutional integration and economic growth in Europe", "The European Union's authoritarian equilibrium", Historical Archives of the European Union, Eurostat – European Union Statistics Explained, The European Union: Questions and Answers, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, European Coal and Steel Community (1951–2002), European Economic Community (1958–1993/2009), Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, Largest cities by population within city limits, Orders, decorations, and medals of the European Union, Western European Union Mission Service Medal, Directive on the re-use of public sector information, Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. 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