European Union

The European Union (EU) was set up after the 2nd World War. The EU has 15 Member States. In 2004 it will be enlarged to 10 central, eastern and southern European countries and is preparing for the accession of further candidates countries.EU is neither a new State replacing existing ones nor is it comparable to other international organisations. Its Member States delegate sovereignty to common institutions representing the interests of the Union as a whole on questions of joint interest. All decisions and procedures are derived from the basic treaties ratified by the Member States.Principal objectives of the Union are: Establish European citizenship (Fundamental rights; Freedom of movement; Civil and political rights); Ensure freedom, security and justice (Cooperation in the field of Justice and Home Affairs); Promote economic and social progress (Single market; Euro, the common currency; Job creation; Regional development; Environmental protection); Assert Europe's role in the world (Common foreign and security)The EU is run by five institutions, each playing a specific role: European Parliament (elected by the peoples of the Member States); Council of the Union (composed of the governments of the Member States); European Commission (driving force and executive body); Court of Justice (compliance with the law); Court of Auditors (sound and lawful management of the EU budget).

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