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European Union Explained

 

INTRODUTION AND HISTORIC BACKGROUND:

To begin with, the European Union (EU) is said to be a political and economic agreement of the 28 member states that it stands for; which are located in Europe. The whole aim of coming together is to ensure that these peace, stability and wealth present in all memeber states. Moreover, ever since the creation of the EU took place in 1951, due to extensive enlargement (Aueb, 2014) the amount of members has grown significantly from 6 to 28 countries operating in a single market of 500 million people inorder to offer products and services to countries (Morris, 2012).

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Furthermore, the EU generates an estimated figure of 11 trillion sterling pounds from all its member states put together, and also 22% of the PPP gross world product. Not to mention, the EU was first founded during the aftermath of the WW2 (Morris, 2012). It was set out to support a single market that consists of a standardized system of laws with apply to all members of the union; making sure that these a free movement of people, services, capital and goods. Also, the European Union plays an important role when it comes to common policies such as, trade, regional development, fisheries and agriculture. However, only 16 of the member states have adopted the common currency; the Euro.

Moreover, it creates legislation in home affairs and justice, together with eradications of passport controls by the Schengen agreement between 22 member states and 3 non- EU states (Grieco, Joseph, M. 1995).

According to (Nugent, N. 2006) depending on the area you in, decision making is done through an agreement amongst the member state, where as other independent bodies are seen to be responsible for their own decision making without a need of unity between the member states. Additionally, is consists of important bodies such as, the European council, the European central bank, the European court of justice and the European commission. Moreover, the EU parliament has elections every after five years by the member states (the citizens); to whom the citizenship of the EU is guaranteed (Parliament, 2013).

Considering what the (BBC, 2012) stated, ever since the year 1951 till today, we have seen it evolve through a process of enlargement, whereas new policy areas have been introduced to the duties of its bodies. Therefore, this essay will look at the pros and cons that the UK is facing in the coming elections and whether they should remain in the EU sector.

MEMBER STATES:

As mentioned above, the European Union is a political and economic agreement that is created to support 28 member states. These include the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, Portugal, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Poland, Malta, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Latvia, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Hungary, France, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Romania, Germany and Croatia (which only joined in the year 2013). However, only six of these countries; Netherlands, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy, France and Germany where members at the beginning of the agreement; having their memberships being upgraded as they willingly agree to the treaties.

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According to (Europa, 2011) a state should therefore make sure they have met the Copenhagen criteria inorder for them to join the Union. This is aimed at having a stable system of the government that respects the law and has respect towards human rights. Moreover, this is when the European Council comes in to place because he/she has to observe the evaluation of a countries fulfillment concerning the criteria; it is his/her duty to do so. The membership influences member economies in various ways. As previously stated from the introduction, the EU market holds a population of 500 million potential customers. That being said, it guarantees each member the four freedoms; Capital, Services, Goods, and People (Thompson et al, 2013, p.1). The removal of the trade barrier between the EU members enables goods to be passed on freely from a much wider spectrum and this helps improve efficiency, together with improving stimulated competition and trade (Morris, 2012). According to (Neueur, 2004) suggest to us that enlargement will be of greater benefit to acceding member as opposed to old EU members but benefits were still experienced by old member states. Moreover, tariffs and barriers are introduced in order to entice trading between the states (BBC, 2014). An example is CAP; Common Agriculture Policy. This prevents member states from importing cheap goods to other countries. It is designed to protect farmers of the EU market from foreign competition by carrying out a series of quotas and tariffs. However, this does come with a price tag; higher prices may be experienced and monetary contribution from member states are required, which could led to no new members joining the system because it is costly. On the other hand, this guarantees a fixed price for both products and services.

According to (Parliament, 2014) before the new countries joined the system, old members benefited well, especially the Uk; their exports doubled three times over the years 2001-2011 to the Central and Eastern European countries, reaching an estimated figure of £14 billion in the year 2011. Therefore, if more countries were to join the system, they would benefit but mostly the old members because businesses will have to operate in a bigger market place and hopefully this would attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) such as, car industries, telecommunication and many more. For instance, Carphone Warehouse is a good example of a Foreign Direct Investment. The firm first started as a small mobile phone business (SME) in the UK. As a result, the firm now has over 2000 stores and has an estimate of 12,000 + employs across the EU region. Not to mention, if the EU did not expand, Carphone Warehouse would not be Carphone Warehouse today. Also, the free movement of individuals within the EU member states refers to a fundamental principle of the European Union and is a key issue that has woken old member states. In short, it is the potential gathering of migration workers and is said to be the political agenda for several countries more notable being the UK. (Economics Online, 2015)

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