European Union

Introduction

Europe made up more than 30 countries and even more distinct cultures;
it is now trying to adjust to new economic systems throughout the world. Today
with the trend toward big trading blocks like: N.A.F.T.A. or G.N.A.T.T. Europe
is trying to advance it's old Trading block called the European Economic
Community (EEC) to become the European Union. The current membership of 15
country's is ruled by one European Parliament. Under the E.U. each country will
be under one currency called the Euro dollar (which is to come into effect on
January 1st of 1999), one central banking system, and will be regulated with the
same set of laws. In effect the country's of the E.U. will eventually become
one. The way to a unified Europe is not a easy one; problems caused by
countries unwilling to give up their sovereignties, and by countries afraid of
the new Union continually slow it's progress.

Problems Facing the European Union Sovereignty or Unity?

This raises many conflicts with Europeans. For thousands of years
Europe has been torn time and again by wars which were largely fueled by ethnic
or religious differences. Today however Europeans are asked to put aside their
differences and become one. With nationalism still strong throughout Europe
many people are strongly against the E.U. Analysts strongly suggest, however,
that the E.U. is the only way Europe can improve it's economy. Unemployment in
most of Europe is running above 10 percent and countries like Germany and France
are suffering from net investment outflows, European economies are groaning
under the weight of rigid regulation, high labor costs, high taxes and generous
social services that have become too expensive to sustain. Meanwhile, labor
protests are on the rise, companies cut costs and governments try to slash
budget deficits.

Expansion

The E.U. causes another major problem for Europe and the rest of the
world that is the expansion of the Union. Countries from the former Warsaw Pact
are eager to join the European Union but Russia is opposing that move because of
their xenophobic fears. This poses an new question for the world; Are the
satellite countries of the former Soviet Union truly sovereign states or are
they still puppet states controlled by Russia? The view today has to different
sides: the European, who are willing to accept Warsaw Pact states into NATO and
the E.U. given they meet the requirements; And the U.S. policy which is against
any expansion of NATO or the E.U. into the countries in question.

The European Union?

The European Union is the name of the organization for the countries
that have decided to co-operate on a great number of areas, ranging from a
single market economy, foreign policy's, same sets of environmental laws,
mutual recognition of school diplomas, to exchange of criminal records are among
the few (The E.U. is roughly similar in working to the United States of America.
The states being Countries and the U.S. the E.U.) The E.U. currently includes
15 countries and has 11 official languages, and many more internal ones. E.U.
has noted , however, that the current eleven official working languages will be
unworkable; an expansion to sixteen or more (with some former Eastern Bloc
countries joining) will be impossible. It is therefore expected, in my view,
that the number of working languages will be limited to three (English, French
and German) or five (with Italian and Spanish).

A little known fact about the European Union's flag is that it has only
12 stars. The stars are not meant to represent countries. Rather, the number of
twelve stars was chosen to be a symbol of completeness and of unity, as it
corresponded to the number of stars in the zodiac, the number of months in the
year and (for the purpose of winning over the mainly Christian European people)
to the number of Jesus's apostles.

E.U. members listed in order of membership:

1. Belgium
2. Germany
3. France
4. Italy
5. Luxembourg
6. Netherlands
7. Denmark
8. Republic of Ireland
9. United Kingdom
10. Greece
11. Portugal
12. Spain
13. Austria
14. Finland
15. Sweden

Official languages of the E.U.

? German (88.8 million Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg)
? French (63.3 million, in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy)
? English (60.0 million, in UK and Republic of Ireland)
? Italian (56.4 million, in Italy)
? Spanish (39.2 million, in Spain)
? Dutch (21.1 million, in the Netherlands and Belgium)
? Greek (10.3 million, in Greece)
? Portuguese (9.8 million, in Portugal)
? Swedish (9.0 million, in Sweden and Finland)
? Danish (5.2 million, in Denmark)
? Finnish (4.7 million, in Finland).

The E.U. Government Structure

The European Unions