CONSISTING of 27 member states located primarily throughout Europe, the European Union (EU) is a joint venture of politics and economics.
The European Union was formally established alongside the Maastricht Treaty of 1992.
What is the European Union?
The additional member states include:
What does the European Union do?
Within the EU are multiple institutions, including:
Based in Brussels, Belgium; the European Council sets political directions and priorities of the EU by gathering together the various heads of states and elected government executives of each country.
Summits of this group are typically held quarterly.
Council of the European Union
Also based in Brussels; the Council of the European Union meets each April, June, and October in Luxembourg.
The council brings together different ministers of government departments, and serves to represent the various governments of each member state directly.
Meeting in both Strasbourg, France and Brussels; the European Parliament consists of 705 elected officials.
Alongside the Council, the Parliament shares legislative powers to amend, approve, or reject Commission proposals.
The European Parliament elects the commission president, approves the College of Commissioners, and has the power to vote to remove them from office.
Based in both Brussels and Luxembourg; the European Commision is able to propose legislation and serves as the “Guardian of the Treaties.”
Within the commission is an executive cabinet of public officials, led by an elected president.
The College of Commissioners is responsible for managing and directing the commission’s civil service.
What is the Maastricht Treaty?
Concluded in 1992, the Maastricht Treaty is the foundation of the European Union.
At the time, there were twelve member states coming together for a “new stage in the process of European integration,” according to the treaty.
The hope of the Maastricht Treaty was to establish a shared European citizenship, a single currency, and to integrate common foreign and security policies.