Updated: December 14, 2021 | 10 minute read

    The history of the European Union goes way back to the end of World War II. Treaties after treaties, the EU has now 27 member countries, mainly working together to maintain peace. The whole world, member country or not, has heard about the EU. But how much do we know about the international organisation 

    With this overview of the European Union, let us get a deeper understanding of its functions, goals, and values. 

    The European Union and its Goals, Values, and Benefits  

    The European Union started with only six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The organisation expanded from western Europe to central and eastern Europe at the beginning of the 21st century. Currently, 19 more countries have been added: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.   

    What began as a union focused solely on economic stability has since evolved to policy creation and implementation, touching upon the climate, environment and health, justice, security, and migration. And eventually, the formation of the Schengen Area

    What are the European Union’s goals? 

    As it expanded over the years, the scope progressed from purely economic to a more holistic mission.   

    • Promote peace and well-being among the citizens   
    • Offer freedom, security and justice, without internal borders   
    • Work towards the sustainable development of Europe while promoting equality and social justice   
    • Establish an economic union with Euro as the currency   
    • Contribute to the sustainable development, peace, and security of the planet   

    The EU combats social exclusion and discrimination, respecting the rich cultural and linguistic diversity. Promoting scientific and technological progress in the organisation is also a priority, directly influencing the region’s sustainable development. 

    What are the European Union’s values? 

    All 27-member states hold inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination as crucial pillars.   

    • Human Rights and Human Dignity - Human dignity is inviolable. Protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, these comprise the right to be free from discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation. There’s also the right to protect personal data and the right to get access to justice.   
    • Freedom - Freedom of movement allows citizens to move and reside in any EU country freely. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights protects freedoms such as freedom of thought, religion, expression and information.   
    • Democracy - The EU is built upon the model of representative democracy, which means that all EU members enjoy political rights. This includes the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament, contest as a candidate, and vote in their residence country or country of origin.   
    • Equality - The principle of equality between men and women is central in all European policies, in all areas. The principle of equal pay became part of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Although inequality is still present, the EU has made significant bounds.   
    • Rule of Law - The foundation of the EU, all that the EU does is done through treaties that are voluntary and democratic. A separate judiciary independently upholds law and justice. The European Court of Justice preserves final jurisdiction, which has to be respected by all member states.  

    (Learn more about the EU functions here)

    What is the European Union to the world? 

    The European Union remains an institution that will continue to grow in leaps and bounds. Its policies had affected European states and served as a model for other countries and regions that would like better to coordinate their economic, social and political systems. 

    The EU is the world’s largest trade block and the biggest manufactured goods and services exporter. For over 100 countries across the globe, it is the biggest import market. The organisation is also committed to providing help to man-made and natural disasters victims. They are the leading donor of humanitarian aid. 

    When it comes to diplomacy, the EU also plays a significant role. It promotes security and prosperity, stability, fundamental freedoms, and democracy at an international level.

    What are the benefits of the European Union? 

    The European Union does a lot for its citizens. From peace and security to global power, the EU gives benefits that improve the people’s daily lives. As mentioned earlier, European citizens can travel and work freely throughout the European Union, therefore strengthening their ties. European institutions offer a platform for European citizens to voice their opinions and debate about policies that affect them. 

    Peace and Security 

    The EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. It is the most successful peace project in human history. Moreover, there has been no war for a long period in central and western Europe.  

    Single Market 

    Based on the EU’s four fundamental freedoms, citizens can live or work in any EU country, move their money, freely sell goods, and provide services on the same basis. All these are possible in the world’s most highly developed and open marketplace, the single market.  

    High food and environmental standards 

    The food and environment in the EU meet the world’s highest quality standards. Companies or any institutions do not dare to sell contaminated food or pollute any areas. All thanks to the member countries’ cooperation. 

    Consumer benefits 

    Consumers in the EU can rest assured that they can get refunds if they return products. Even when their flights or travel gets delayed or cancelled! Additionally, goods in the EU are required to meet the world’s best quality and safety standards. 

    Human Rights 

    All minorities and vulnerable groups are protected in the EU. No one is left behind in the organisation regardless of nationality, language group, gender, profession, culture, sexuality, or disability. 

    Global Power 

    With the 27 member countries working together, there is much more voice than 27 nations acting separately. 

    Citizens are protected against unfair treatment in the workplace, the downsides of globalisation, and risks when travelling. Businesses are also supported and trained. Generally, the EU focuses on what is good for the people. 

    European citizens are aware of the EU’s role in bringing peace between European countries and between European countries and their neighbours. This is not something all European countries had experienced before joining the EU. 

    The European Union’s influence has been felt in many areas of life. European states also find it much easier to cooperate in an organisation like the European Union. The EU promotes cooperation and collaboration among European countries and provides a shared identity for its member states. 

    If this excites you and you would like to live in the EU, contact us and we will provide you with the best options. 

    • Throughout the existence of the European Union, we have seen more than half a century of peace, stability and prosperity.
    • With the abolition of border controls between EU member countries, a Schengen area was established. It has never been easier to live, work and travel abroad.
    • Every EU country must treat EU citizens equally with regards to employment, social security and tax. By focusing on making its governing institutions increasingly transparent and democratic.
    • The EU runs on a single market economy, which enables most goods, services and people to move freely. It is the largest trading block in the world and the biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, as well as the biggest import market for over 100 countries.
    • The EU supports over 120 million people each year who are victims of man-made or natural disasters worldwide, making it the world’s leading contributor to humanitarian aid.

    Throughout the 60 years since its inception, the EU continues to cement its foothold as a strong economic force, with the value of the euro on a steady rise.