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The European Union

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Objectif

Découvrir un aspect de la notion « Identités et échanges »

Points clés
  • L’Union européenne, anciennement Communauté économique européenne, regroupe à ce jour 28 pays. Elle est l’idée de grandes figures de l’histoire européenne, afin de créer une interdépendance économique et politique entre les pays d’Europe et d’éviter tout autre conflit après les ravages des deux guerres mondiales.
  • Le Parlement européen siège à Bruxelles et à Strasbourg et est présidé par l’Italien David Sassoli depuis 2019.
  • L’Union européenne joue un rôle économique important en Europe avec le libre-échange de personne et de bien. Elle a aussi un rôle diplomatique à l’échelle européenne et internationale.
Pour bien comprendre

L’histoire de l’Europe depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale

1. The European Union since 1958

The idea of a union between the different European countries was born after the Second World War. The instigators of the project (among which Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Jean Monnet, Simone Veil and Alcide De Gasperi) wanted to create an economic interdependence between the countries and avoid further conflicts. Indeed, the errors committed during the first half of the century must not be repeated!

In 1958 the European Economic Community (EEC) was created and six countries joined it: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.
Since then, 22 countries have joined the EEC which changed its name in 1993, becoming the European Union. If economy was still an important issue, others such as climate, justice, migration, security or environment had to be taken into account.

The European Parliament is located in Strasbourg and Brussels.


The European Parliament

Its members, called the MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) are elected by European voters every 5 years. It is composed of 751 members who elect the President every two and a half years. The current President is the Italian David Sassoli, since 2019.

2. The actions of the European Union since its creation

We cannot deny the fact that, as far as stability is concerned, the EU has played an important role in Europe. Indeed, the continent has been at peace since 1945 even though some conflicts took place in the Balkans in the 1990s.

Prosperity is also a sign of the importance of the EU as it helped raise the living standards of its citizens. For example, the Gross Domestic Product per capita since 1973 rose by 74% in France, 99% in Germany, 102% in the United Kingdom.
In 2002 a single currency was launched, the Euro. 19 countries out of 28 and 340 million people use it.

Thanks to the abolition of the borders, people can study, live, work or retire wherever they choose and each citizen must be treated on an equal footing, whatever the country he or she decides to visit or stay in. As well as citizens, goods can travel freely, so the Europeans can draw the maximum benefit from these exchanges. It is worth noting that the EU is the world’s biggest exporter of goods and services.

3. The goals and values of the European Union

The EU aims at:

  • promoting peace;
  • offering freedom;
  • fighting social exclusion;
  • ensuring sustainable development, price stability, full employment, environmental protection and social progress;
  • enhancing an economic cohesion and solidarity;
  • respecting the different cultures;
  • establishing an economic and monetary union.

The values which prevail in the EU programme are those we all want to defend: human dignity, freedom, justice, democracy, equality, law, human rights, inclusion, tolerance, non-discrimination, etc.
You can find these goals and values written in the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (2000).

All these efforts which have been undertaken for years and which represent the very basis of the commission are not vain since in 2012 the EU was awarded the Nobel Prize for promoting peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

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