Focus on EuropeEuropean Citizenship:More than 50 years together!Bart DhaenensAssistant International OfficeSeptember 2012 Introduction The History of the EU How to deal with the EU-27 European Institutions EU Current Issues
2. Focus on Programme• ‘Europe, I presume?„ (20/02) • Focus on your host country: Belgium• ‘European Citizenship’ (20/02) • Introduction to History and institutions of the European Union • Current issues• Multiculturalism: ‘focus on…’ • Monday-afternoon, starting 27/02 • A presentation of your own country • Self / Peer Evaluation and Team work! • Co-ordinated by Ms Eveline Le Roy
2. Focus on SummaryDEADLINE 30/11/2011 1. Comparison – Upload your file 2. EU (Current Issues – Quiz) – Upload your file (Current Issues) – Answer online (Quiz) DEADLINE 05/01/2012 3. Focus on… your country – Presentation: instructions by Eveline Le Roy – Self and peer evaluation: answer online 4. Survey – Extra questions: answer online Necessary links to answer online and upload are send by e-mail
3. EuropaQuiz1. How would you define Europe?2. What are the main European Institutions?3. Who is representing the EU?4. What is the EU doing today?5. Where is ‘the EU’ situated?6. How many people are living in the EU?
4. EU / memberstates Let‟s go into more details…… about the EU and its memberstates• The European Commission?• The European Parliament?• Are these words also used in your own country? – Parliament? – Government?• An overview of the 27 EU-countries…
4. EU / memberstates Difficulties• Government types: – All democracies! – Federal? Unitary state? – Monarchy? Republic?• Executive branch: – Head of State: Monarch/President/PM/Chancellor – Cabinet: an executive or advisory council• Parliament: – unicameralism, bicameralism? – Chambers with equal power? Or one more superior than the other?
1. Going back in time… More than 50 years ago The aim, in the aftermath of World War Two, was • to secure peace between Europe‟s victorious and vanquished nations • bring them together as equals, cooperating within shared institutions. • 1951: The European Coal and Steel Community is established by the six founding members (BE, LU, NL, FR, DE, IT) • 1957: The Treaty of Rome – Establishing a common market – a European Economic Community (EEC)
1. Going back in time… 1957 - 2007 • 1973: The Community expands to nine member states and develops its common policies • 1979: The first direct elections to the European Parliament • 1981: The first Mediterranean enlargement (GR) • 1986: Two new Mediterranean Member states (SP/PT) • 1993: The Treaty of Maastricht establishes the European Union / Completion of single market • 1995: The EU expands to 15 members • 2002: Euro notes and coins are introduced • 2004: Ten more countries join the Union • 2007: We are now with 27!
2. The Construction of EuropeResult? A complex structure…Construction? Yes, but also important evolutions…• Originally it started as a peace effort• Enough successful to have other countries adhere• Flexible structures were created.• The political shape of Europe was dramatically changed when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989..• By adding areas of intergovernmental cooperation to existing integrated Community structures, the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union (EU)
2. The Construction of Europe In very short…• The European Union (EU) is – not a federation like the United States. – nor is it simply an organisation for co-operation between governments, like the United Nations.• It is, in fact, unique. The countries that make up the EU (its „member states‟) remain independent sovereign nations but they pool their sovereignty in order – to gain a strength – to obtain world influence none of them could have on their own.
2. The Construction of Europe Basic idea• Pooling sovereignty means, in practice, that the member states – delegate some of their decision-making powers to shared institutions they have created, so that – decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level• The European Union is more than just a confederation of countries, but it is not a federal state.• It is, in fact, a new type of structure that does not fall into any traditional legal category.• Its political system is historically unique and has been constantly evolving over more than 50 years.
1. Recent history How to deal with the EU-27? • One of the basic questions remains how to combine “unity in diversity” with “unity is strength”? • How to deal with the enlargement-process? • Important steps (not) taken towards an institutional reform • 2001(December): establishing a Convention to prepare a draft Constitutional Treaty. • 2002 / 2003: convention under the presidency of Valéry Giscard d‟Estaing, had 105 members (different political representatives) • 2003 (June): adoptation of draft treaty by consensus • 2004 (29th of October, Rome): Treaty formally signed
1. Recent history How to deal with the EU-27? • 2005 (May/June): rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands • Period of reflection announced by the European Council • 2007: German EU-presidency declares period of reflection over • 2007 (13th of December, Lisbon): Reform Treaty formally signed • 2008 (12th of June): a rejection of the Irish voters • Ratification process continued in other countries • 2009 (2th of October): a second referendum in Ireland – An Irish yes! – Finalising procedures in other countries • 2009 (1st of December): Treaty entered into force
2. A European Constitution ‘The Constitution’What? Ambitions…• A clearer presentation of the breakdown of powers and responsibilities between the Union and its member countries.• Giving national parliaments a role in ensuring that the EU complies with the principle of subsidiarity.How?• Whatever constitutional system the EU countries finally choose on the basis of fresh discussions, it will have to be ratified by each of them either by parliamentary vote or national referendum.• Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate.
2. A European Constitution ‘The Constitution’Main provisions• President of the European Council – Elected by qualified majority for a term of 2,5 years, renewable once.• President of the Commission – Elected by a simple majority of MEPs following a proposal from the European Council, – „taking into account the European parliamentary elections‟.• EU Foreign Minister.• Incorporating the Charter of Fundamental Rights .• Increasing the number of fields covered by qualified majority voting in the Council.• Giving the European Parliament greater legislative and budgetary powers.
3. Treaty of Lisbon Main provisions Treaty of Lisbon• Easier decision procedures• New and clearly specified authorities• Role of the National Parliaments• New calculation of qualified majority• Enlargement of the power of the European parliament• European Council: institution• Less European Commissioners from 2014 onwards• A European president• Charter of civil rights?• Clause to solidarity• Symbols?• Petition of Civilians
1. Multi-governance European Union: multi-level governance system • Multilevel = multiple layers • The EU is not one supranational entity but one political system with several levels of management: – Intergovernmental – Supranational – National – Subnational • Structures (more or less) like national branches of power • main actors of the member-states themselves meet and “top-specialists” initiate legislation concerning their specialism (agriculture, education, employment, etc…)
2. EU institutions Here they are then!• The Council of Ministers of the European Union, – represents the member states, – representing the governments of the Member States – the EU‟s main decision-taking body. – Still rotating presidency • Hungarian Presidency (Jan – Jul 2011) http://www.eu2011.hu – When it meets at Heads of State or Government level, it becomes the European Council • role to provide the EU with political impetus on key issues.• The European Parliament, – elected by the peoples of the Member States – represents the people, shares legislative and budgetary power with the Council of the European Union.
2. EU institutions• The European Commission – represents the common interest of the EU – driving force and excecutive body – the main executive body. It has the right to propose legislation and ensures that EU policies are properly implemented• Court of Justice – ensuring compliance with the law• Court of Auditors – controlling sound and lawful management of the EU budget• European Economic and Social Committee• Committee of the Regions• European Central Bank• European Ombudsman• European Investment Bank
2. EU institutions Brussels has decided…• referring to the EU institutions, most of which are located in the city of Brussels.• EU laws – proposed by the European Commission – but it is the Council of the European Union (ministers from the national governments) and the European parliament that debate, amend and ultimately decide whether to pass these proposed laws.
3. The European parliament Elections of the EP• Elections: every five years (last: 4 to 7th of June 2009)• Every EU citizen who is registered as a voter is entitled to vote.• The European Parliament – expresses the democratic will of the Unions citizens (now approx. 500 million people), – represents their interests in discussions with the other EU institutions. – has 736 members from all 27 EU countries. – More then one third of them are women (35%).• Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) do not sit in national blocks, but in seven Europe-wide political groups.http://www.europarl.europa.eu/
Welcome into the new Europe! • Number of inhabitants: 492,387,344 • Enlargement of the territory: 740,000 km² • Official languages: 23 – Languages Combinations in EP plenary sessions: 380 – Irish (Gaelic): 23th language since 01/01/07 – Number of pages to be translated in 2005: 2,370,000 • GDP: $ 14,430 billion compared to $ 14,140 in USA • Everybody using the €uro? no! – But: more and more countries are introducing the Euro! – 2010 – 2011: next countries? Delay because of crisis – 01/01/2011: Estonia 17th Euro-country • Life expectancy 78.82 year
Europe to-dayTo summarize:• In the early years: only trade and economy• Now the EU deals with many other subjects of direct importance for our everyday life• The most important achievement is without doubtthat the EU has delivered half a century of stability, peace and prosperity it has helped to raise living standards, built a single Europe-wide market• Member countries are not always able to protect their interests effectively and sufficiently on their own.• EU must • continue to pursue policies that are in keeping with its own values. • bring its ideas regarding a sustainable, efficient, and just socioeconomic system onto the global stage and to preserve the European way of life
Europe to-day: Unity in diversity The future?• Launched the single European currency• Strengthened Europe‟s voice in the world• Europe is a continent with – many different traditions and languages – but also of shared values• EU defends these values, – fosters co-operation among the peoples of Europe, – promoting unity while preserving diversity and ensuring that decisions are taken as close as possible to the citizens• Still a lot of questions…• Impact of the Lisbon Treaty?!• July 2013: accession of Croatia as 28th country• 21th century: Europe in an interdependent world?!