The modern world is slowly but steadily moving along the path of integration. Even cultural and national differences cannot prevent countries from joining alliances on the basis of joint economic and political activities. One of such associations is the European Union, whose membership is constantly expanding.
Operating principles of the European Union
In 1992, the European Union was legally formalized and sealed by an appropriate treaty, which included countries that were formerly members of the European Economic Community. Gradually, a system of standardized laws was developed that operated in all countries of the union. The common market for these states began to develop rapidly, the free movement of citizens, capital and goods was introduced into practice.
The European Union adopts laws, regulations and directives in the field of internal affairs and the administration of justice, develops a single policy for all members of the community in the field of economy and trade.
Some of the EU countries have decided to introduce a single currency for all, called the "euro".
The European Union is a full-fledged subject of international law. It is empowered to conclude treaties of an international character and to participate in international relations. The common security strategy for the member states of the European Union provides for the conduct of a coordinated and approved foreign policy and the maintenance of defense measures. The EU Delegation operates at the United Nations.
Formally, the European Union is neither a separate state nor an international organization. In a number of areas of activity, responsible decisions are made by individual states; often, issues are considered during negotiations between the member states of the union.
Which countries are part of the European Union
Today the European Union includes twenty-eight states. Their list, with the division of countries by year of entry into the union, looks like this:
- 1957: Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Netherlands;
- 1973: Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark;
- 1981: Greece;
- 1986: Portugal, Spain;
- 1995: Sweden, Austria, Finland;
- 2004: Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Czech Republic;
- 2007: Romania, Bulgaria;
- 2013: Croatia.
In addition, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Iceland and Montenegro are currently listed as candidates for accession to the European Union.
It should be noted that the above list takes into account membership in the former European Economic Community.
From the initial six states, the union has grown to its current membership through successive expansion. New countries joined on a contractual basis. At the same time, their sovereignty was limited, and in exchange for this, the state received representation in the structures of the union.