Politics of the European Union, Legal basis

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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

The constitutional basis and organisation of the European Union is based on its treaties. There are two principle core treaties which have been amended over its history to give the EU more competencies and reconfigure the relationship between its institutions. The treaties declare the EU to be based upon representative democracy and "on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities".

The EU itself is a legal personality and a set of governing institutions empowered by the treaties. However sovereignty is not invested in those institutions, it is pooled with ultimate sovereignty resting with the national governments. Yet in those areas where the EU has been granted competencies, it does have the power to pass binding and direct laws upon its members.

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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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