European Union: A masterpiece with flaws

European Union’s creation can be traced to the Maastricht Treaty, which went into effect on November 1st, 1993. Through the creation of a single currency (the euro), a unified foreign and security policy, and common citizenship rights, as well as strengthening cooperation in immigration, asylum, and judicial affairs, the treaty aimed to enhance European integration on a political and economic level. The euro is the official currency of nineteen of these countries.

As a result of World War II and the warfare among much of Europe, the European Union emerged from a desire to create a single political entity for the continent, ending centuries of fighting between European countries.  

In addition to promoting peace and establishing a unified economic and monetary system, the union works to remove trade barriers and discourage discrimination, promote technological and scientific development, improve environmental protection, and promote global market competition and social progress.  

There are three pillars to the European Union’s governance: a council, a parliament, and a commission. Every six months, a new EU president is appointed to lead the Council, which has the main purpose of introducing new policies and legislative changes within the European Union. A member of the Parliament is elected every five years, and the Parliament debates and passes the legislative bills recommended by the Council. Finally, the enforcement and operation of European Union laws is conducted by the Commission. 

Although the European Union was only officially founded in 1993, its roots go back much further than that, to 1957, when the European Economic Community (ECC) was formed.

In order to break down trade barriers between European countries, protect competition from private trade agreements, and set open agricultural and trade standards, the EEC was established.

By establishing the EU, the Maastricht Treaty established economic standards, including debt and budget requirements based on each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation rate. The monetary union still included some countries that failed to meet some of the criteria contained in the treaty (like Italy and Belgium).  

Having 28 different countries together in one union should not be an exception when it comes to controversies and problems, and the EU is no exception, for example, the Greek debt crisis, the 2008 financial crisis, the migration crisis, and the Brexit.

At the time of its entry into the European Union in the early 1980s, Greece’s financial situation was strong but gradually deteriorated. In the following 30 years, the situation became much worse since fiscal profligacy, which is defined as excessive and wasteful spending, caused deficits and debt levels to increase dramatically.

Another event was when The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016 and followed through with its decision on 31 January 2020. Also, free movement of workers and residents between the UK and the EU ends in 2021. Nationals of the UK will require a visa when staying in the EU for more than 90 days in 180 days. Exports and jobs will be affected in the UK as well as the rest of the EU as trading, capital flows, and labor mobility are restricted. 

But on the international stage, the EU plays a significant role in diplomacy in promoting peace, stability, prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, even despite some of its flaws

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