The European Union began its journey with six members in 1950 in the form of European Coal and Steel Community. These six founder members were : Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg (also called the ‘Benelux’), France, Germany and Italy. Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain joined in 1973. Greece joined in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986, which increased its membership to 12. Austria, Finland and Sweden joined EU in 1995. The major expansion of EU came after the disintegration of Soviet Union as many Eastern European countries and former Soviet republics joined this in large numbers. In the year 2004, 10 new member countries of this category joined it. These are : Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland Slovenia and Slovakia. Thus in 2004, it became a 25 member group. With the joining of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, the membership of EU reached to the present level of 27. There are other countries desirous of joining this organization. These are Turkey, Macedonia and Croatia. It should be noted that Turkey has been trying to get the membership of this organization for long time but could not succeed. The main claim of Turkey is that a part of its territories lies in Europe. Otherwise, Turkey, for all practical purposes, is an Asian country. Though the expansion of EU has given it a more visibility and global acceptability, it has also undermined the homogeneity of its members. Thus, it may create problems of management of its affairs and coordination among the members.
Main Organs of European Union
The European Union conducts its affairs with the help of following seven core organs :
- European Parliament—It is the most representative body of the
- It consists of 751 members, who are elected directly by the people of the member countries like the election of their national legislature. It is a half legislature because its legislative powers are shared by other organs of the EU. Its primary responsibility is to frame laws for the operation of the Union.
- Council of the European Union—It is the other half legislature of the Union. It is composed of the ministers of the member states. The Council of European Union and the European Parliament together frame the laws of the Union. Together they are the legislative organ of the Union.
- European Commission—The European Commission consists of 27 members, one appointed by each member state. It may be termed as the Executive organ of the Union. It is responsible for executing the laws of the Union and day to day administrative activities of the Union. Besides, the Commission initiates the proposals for legislation which are considered by the European Parliament.
- European Council—It is also an executive organ of the Union. It supports the European commission in carrying out administrative and executive responsibilities. Thus, in the European Union, both the Executive as well as legislative functions are not concentrated in single organ. These are shared functions as each function is shared by two organs.
- Court of Justice of the European Union—The Court of Justice is a judicial arm of the Union. Its primary responsibility is the interpretation of the laws of the European Union. It is also responsible for the application of the laws and settling disputes arising out of the violation of laws.
- European Central Bank—The
monetary policies are framed by the Central bank of the Union. It is also responsible for administering and supervising the monetary policy of the Union.
- European Court of Auditors—
intergovernability, which means intergovernmental consent and cooperation is required for the functioning of those institutions. The institutions dealing with the political and security matters adopt the principle of intergovernability.
the Union. The reliability of accounts is necessary for the soundness of the financial system of the Union. As such, the Court of auditors determines the forms of accounts to be used in the financial transaction on the Union. It is required to submit at regular basis the statement in this regard to the European Parliament from time to time.
The organizational criticize structure of the European Union shows that it is modeled on the basis of a decentralized modern state. At present, the Union is primarily responsible for conducting the common financial and economic policies of the Union. The political and security matters are left to individual states, but common actions can be initiated in these matters only after the consent of the concerned member states. Whatever may be the structure of the European Union, the fact remains that it has emerged as a formidable economic block in the global economies. It has successfully demonstrated how the economies of the small states may be integrated to gain competitive edge in the globalized market based economies