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Short Essay on History of the European Union


Short Essay on History of the European Union

Short Essay on History of the European Union

After the exit of Britain in January 2021, the EU has 27 members from Europe. It is a regional organization for economic cooperation and development. It is the most successful story of regional economic integration in the world. It is the only organization in the world, which has a common currency, with open borders for the movement of people, goods and services. The evolution of European Union in the present form is a long and gradual process. But the basic motivation has been the realization that the economic cooperation among the European nations will help them to overcome conflicts and political differences. This idea became more pronounced in the wake of huge devastation caused in Europe by the World War II. The first initiative came in 1950 when the six countries—Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg (also called as ‘Benelux’), France, Germany and Italy set up the European Coal and Steel Community, with limited scope for coordination in the field of coal and steel. These countries established the European Economic Community (EEC), under the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The EEC remained in existence for long time and was replaced by the present European Union in a series of steps in 1993.


The transformation of EEC into EU is the result of changes in the global economy brought about by the process of globalization, in which individual European countries were not in a position to compete successfully in the emerging global economy as many new entrants were due to pose challenges for them.


The fundamental changes in the structure of EEC were introduced in 1993 by the Treaty of Maastricht. It renamed EEC as European community. The next fundamental changes were introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, 2007, which came in to force in 2009, after approval by the people of member countries. The treaty of Lisbon renamed the organization as the European Union (EU), which continues to be the present name of this organization. The most significant change is that the new EU is conceived as a single legal entity, capable of entering into bilateral and multilateral agreements in its own right. Because of its separate legal entity, the EU is represented as a separate body like any other sovereign country.


The Lisbon Treaty divides the jurisdiction of new organization into three categories : Exclusive Competence; Shared Competence and Supporting Competence.

(A) Exclusive Competence of EU : The exclusive competence means those areas in which the EU has the sole power to take action without consulting the individual member countries. Five matters fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the EU: Customs union, Monetary policy, Internal markets, Fishing, and Commercial policy.

(B) Shared Competence : The shared competence of the EU denotes that there are certain areas where the EU is not competent to take collective decision and action without the consultation and consent of the individual members. Most of the noneconomic and political matters of common concerns fall under this category. However, with the consent of the members, the EU can take action in these areas also.

(C) Supporting Competence : In this field The EU plays a supporting role for the activities of the Members states. For example, the EU may support the member states in the strengthening of their health services.

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