European Union (EU)

"A European supranational organization dedicated to
increasing economic integration and
strengthening cooperation among its member states."

The European Union was established on November 1, 1993,
when the Treaty on European Union, or Treaty of Maastricht, was ratified by
the 12 members of the European Community (EC)—
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Upon ratification of the treaty, the countries of the EC became members of the EU.
Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU in 1995.
In May 2004 a further ten countries also took up membership
bringing the number of member countries in the EU up to 25. (See below)

Click image to enlarge.

Countries in the European Union up to 1995
are shown in yellow on the map above.

Images of the Capitol Cities
Click here


Enlargement of the European Union

Ten countries (shown in red above) -
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia
joined the European Union on 1st May 2004.
(I will add images for them when I get time.)

Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania hope to join by 2007.
Turkey, shown in lavender above, will be negotiating its membership in the future.

Click image to enlarge.

Candidates for EU membership are shown in the map above.

A series of short videos (with Real Player) illustrating
key EU subjects and Community policies...
Click here

To learn more about the EU, go to their Home Page...
Click here

"The European Commission embodies and upholds
the general interest of the Union and

is the driving force in the Union's institutional system."
Its four main roles are:
to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council,
to administer and implement Community policies,
to enforce Community law (jointly with the Court of Justice)
and to negotiate international agreements,
mainly those relating to trade and cooperation.

Click images to enlarge.

Shown above left is the temporary EC Headquarters, in Brussels, during the 1990s and early 2000s.
In November 2004 the Commission finally returned to its original building, Berlaymont.
For over a decade it has been under renovation, as they removed asbestos and
and up-graded the environmental and architectural features, creating a high-tech facility.
A special firm, Berlaymont 2000, was set up and architects Steven Beckers and Pierre Lallemand
were given a budget of 8bn Belgian francs (200m euros; £124m) to redesign the shell of the building.

What they came up with, in 1996, was a plan so visionary
it won a coveted award for environmentally-friendly architecture.

However, subsequent budget and even environmental contraversies
took some of the glow off of the project.

For a brief summary of the contraversial issues...
Click here

Click image to enlarge.
José Manuel Barroso
Current President of the EC
(from Portugal)

Images, Profiles, Portfolios and Homepages of EC President Barroso
and the Commissioners...
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Image Library of the EC...
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Despite its idealistic mission, there is a constant array of contraversies in Europe
surrounding the bureaucracy of the Commission,
with it Commissioners referred to by some as the
"Brussels Sprouts!"

For more information about
the EC and
news of its latest goings-on,
go to its Home Page...
Click here

Return to Index...
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