The euro zone began life on 1 January 1999, with the participation of eleven EU countries. The euro, at that time, was only used for electronic transactions. On that day, the exchange rates of all EMU (European Monetary Union) currencies were irrevocably fixed and euro officially became a legal currency. In January 2002, euro coins and banknotes were officially introduced as legal tender, and six months down the line national currencies disappeared.
It is interesting to note that some EU member states, however, have refused to replace their national currencies with the centrally-controlled euro.[UK, Sweden and Denmark (formally opt out of euro zone membership)]Thus, there are some member states that do not intend to participate in certain cooperative aspects within the framework of the EU.However, this was not an option for the new member states upon their accession to the EU in 2004 and 2007.[Of the twelve member states that joined the Union between 2004 and 2007, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia have fulfilled the convergence criteria and are now part of the euro area. Czech Republic is on its way.]
1. EUROPEAN UNION
2. • Since the creation of the EU half a
century ago, Europe has enjoyed the
longest period of peace in its history.
• European political integration is
unprecedented in history.
• EU enlargement has helped overcome
the division of Europe – contributing to
peace, prosperity, and stability across the
• A single market and a common currency
conditions for companies and consumers.
• EU has united the citizens of Europe –
while preserving Europe’s diversity.
United in diversity
3. • Shared values: liberty, democracy,
respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and the rule of
• Largest economic body in the world.
• World’s most successful model for
advancing peace and democracy.
• A unique institution – Member States
voluntarily cede national sovereignty in
many areas to carry out common
policies and governance.
• Not a super-state to replace existing
states, nor just an organization for
• World’s most open market for goods
and commodities from developing
Percent of world’s
Percent of combined
4. European Commission
• 27 Commissioners, representing the
European perspective, each responsible
for a specific policy area.
• EU’s executive branch proposes legislation,
manages Union’s day-to-day business and
budget, and enforces rules.
• Negotiates trade agreements and manages
Europe’s multilateral development
Council of the European Union
• EU’s main decision-making body,
comprised of ministers of 27 Member
States, representing Member State’s point
• Decides on foreign policy issues.
• Council presidency rotates among
Member States every six months.
5. European Parliament
• Voice of European citizens – members
• With the Council, passes EU laws and adopts
• Approves EU Commissioners.
European Court of Justice
• Highest EU judicial authority.
• Ensures all EU laws are interpreted and
applied correctly and uniformly.
• Can act as an independent policy maker but
unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, the ECJ can
only deal with matters covered by the
European Parliament in session
6. • The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank
for Europe's single currency, the euro.
• The ECB’s main task is to maintain the euro's
purchasing power and thus price stability in the euro
• The euro area comprises the 15 European Union
countries that have introduced the euro since 1999.
• The ECB operates independently from Member State
The euro was introduced in 1999
7. United in Diversity - The €uro
8. Quick Facts: The EURO
• The euro started with 11 countries on
January 1, 1999 – but Euro cash was
only introduced in January 2, 2002.
• 16 of the 27 member countries are
now part of the euro area.
• One of the striking benefits of a single
European currency are low interest
rates due to a high degree of price
• The euro is as stable and credible as
the best-performing currencies
previously used in the euro area
10. Quick Facts: The EURO
• The euro banknotes
(and coins) easily
the euro area, unlike
that moved across
borders but to a
more limited extent.
• EU membership does not automatically
guarantee membership to the Economic and
– However, member states pledge to become
members of the euro zone as part of their EU
• In the aftermath of World War II, the aim was
to secure peace among Europe’s victorious
and vanquished nations and bring them
together as equals, cooperating within
• Based on a plan by French Foreign Minister
• Six founding countries – Belgium, the Federal
Republic of Germany, France, Italy,
Luxembourg and the Netherlands – signed a
treaty to run heavy industries (coal and steel)
under common management.
Jean Monnet and other leaders with
the first “European” ingot of steel
13. Treaty of Rome
• The six founding countries expanded
cooperation to other economic
sectors, creating the European
Economic Community (EEC) – or
• As a result, people, goods, services,
and capital today move freely across
Signing of the Treaty of Rome
Fall of the
22. Candidate Countries
Republic of Macedonia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Serbia including Kosovo
under UN Security Council
23. Enlargement has:
• Inspired reforms and
principles of liberty,
democracy, respect for
human rights, fundamental
freedoms, the rule of law, and
• Enhanced the EU’s weight in
the world and made it a
stronger and more attractive
“Enlargement has been a
success story for the
European Union and
Europe as a whole. It
has helped to overcome
the division of Europe
and contributed to peace
and stability throughout
Dec. 15, 2006
24. The EU is a global player.
Its soft power promotes
democracy and human
rights, delivers concrete
results in the fight to
eradicate poverty, and in
development.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, High
Representative for the Common Foreign and Security
Policy Javier Solana, and EU Commissioner Benita
The EU in the World
25. Addressing Global Challenges
• Peace & Security
– Works for global peace and security
alongside the United States and multilateral
organizations – including NATO and the
– Undertakes humanitarian and peacekeeping
missions and has provided military forces for
crisis management around the globe.
• Counterterrorism & Homeland Security
– Taken steps to improve intelligence sharing,
enhance law enforcement and judicial
cooperation, curtail terrorist financing.
– Boosts trade and transport security to
support the struggle against terrorism.
26. • Democracy & Human Rights
– Works globally for free elections and
open democratic processes.
– Fights racism and intolerance at home
– Campaigns globally against capital
• Development Assistance & Humanitarian
– The EU and its Member States are the
world’s largest aid donor, providing 55%
of total official development assistance.
– Provides billions of dollars in
humanitarian aid to more than 100
countries in response to crises and
Addressing Global Challenges
27. • Trade
– European Commission represents all 27
EU Member States before the World Trade
– Supports free trade and open markets,
within the rules-based structure of the
WTO, to promote growth and jobs in both
industrialized and developing countries.
– The world's most open market for
products and commodities from
developing countries – 40% of all EU
imports are from developing countries.
Addressing Global Challenges
28. • Environmental Protection
– A leader in global efforts to protect
the environment, maintaining
rigorous and comprehensive
systems at home.
– Plays a key role in developing and
agreements, such as the Kyoto
Protocol on Climate Change.
– Executing a “cap and trade” system
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
– Takes the lead in the fight against
global warming with the adoption of
binding energy targets (cutting 20%
of the EU’s greenhouse gas
emissions by 2020).
Addressing Global Challenges
Source: German Information Center USA