Politics of the European Union, Component states

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Summary

The Politics of the European Union are different from other organisations and states due to the unique nature of the European Union (EU). The EU is similar to a confederation, where many policy areas are federalised into common institutions capable of making law; however the EU does not, unlike most states, control foreign policy, defence policy or the majority of direct taxation policies (the EU does limit the level of variation allowed for VAT). These areas are primarily under the control of the EU's member states although a certain amount of structured co-operation and coordina

Details

There are twenty-eight member states who have conferred powers upon the EU institutions (other countries are tied to the EU in other ways). In exchange for conferring competencies, EU states are assigned votes in the Council, seats in Parliament and a European Commissioner among other things. The internal government of member states vary between presidential systems, monarchies, federations and microstates however all members must respect the Copenhagen criteria of being democratic, respecting human rights and having a free market economy. Members joined over time, starting with the original six in 1958 and more members joining in the near future.

Some member states are outside certain areas of the EU, for example the eurozone is composed of only 17 of the 28 members and the Schengen Agreement currently includes only 22 of the EU members. However the majority of these are in the process of joining these blocs. A number of countries outside the EU are involved in certain EU activities such as the euro, Schengen, single market or defence.

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External Links

  • WikipediaOfficial EU website: EuropaEuropean NAvigator: The three pillars of the European UnionEuropean Institute for International Law and International RelationsCommon Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

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