EU SERIES: THE EUROPEAN UNION, STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH (2)

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Europeans coming together: Content creators across the EU meet with the European Commission
President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Parliament
Roberta Metsola, at the European Parliament

 

The European Union in EU’s own words
© European Union, 1995-2024
Source: European Union

 

Continued from “EU SERIES: THE EUROPEAN UNION, STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH (1)”

EU members and membership candidates as of March 2022. Color code: Current members–Blue. Candidates negotiating–Dark green.  Candidates–Light green. Applicants/Potential candidates–Yellow. Candidates with frozen negotiations–Red.

Membership in the European Union. To become part of the European Union, a country must agree with all the EU’s laws and values and work to make sure these laws and values are respected.

[Becoming member of the European Union] may take a very long time.

[Be that as it may,] some countries are now working to become part of the European Union:

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Türkiye, Ukraine.

 

The Schengen Area. The Schengen Area was created by the European Union in 1985.  It is an area without borders [and] people can travel from country to country freely and easily. They do not have to go through [frontier] checks and controls. Thanks to the Schengen Area, it is now easier for people to travel for work or tourism.

Liechtenstein, the most recent country to join the Schengen. (Photo: Vaduz Castle, palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein)

Today 23 of the 27 [EU] countries are part of the Schengen Area. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

[Additionally,] four countries outside the European Union are part of the Schengen Area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

[For detailed discussion of the Schengen Area, click here.]

 

Languages of the European Union. In every country of the European Union people speak their language.
The [EU] protects the right of people to communicate in their own language.

 

EU’s single currency

The currency of the European Union. [The majority of the EU] countries use a [single currency] called ‘Euro’. Using the same money helps countries in the European Union to do business together.

For example, people from Spain can buy things they want from Belgium easily and without extra costs. Using the same currency makes it easier for people to travel, buy things online from other countries and have more options.

Today, 20 out of 27 European Union countries use the euro: Austria,  Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

 

The EU flag: twelve gold stars in a circle against blue background

The European flag. The flag of the European Union is blue and has a circle of gold stars on it. It is a symbol that shows that the countries of the European Union are united and stand by each other.

 

The European anthem. Every country has an anthem, a melody that shows its values and culture. In 1985, people who made decisions in the European Union chose a melody by a very important composer, Ludwig van Beethoven,  to be [EU’s] anthem.

The melody shows how important it is that all people are free, live in peace. and stand by each other. The European Union believes in these values and that is why it has chosen this melody to be its anthem.

If you want to listen to the anthem of the European Union, click here.

 

United in diversity. The European Union uses the phrase ‘united in diversity’ to show what its values are.

Being united in diversity means that people in the European Union may have different cultures or languages but they stand by each other and work together in peace.

 

How the European Union works The European Union has 3 main bodies:

The European Commission

Logo of the European Commission

The people of the European Commission suggest laws for the European Union.

 

The European Parliament
The people of the European Parliament are elected by all people in Europe to stand for their rights.

 

The Council of the European Union
People who make decisions in every country of the European Union come together and make the Council of the European Union. These 3 bodies are very important for the European Union. They work closely together to make things better in Europe:

The European Commission suggests laws. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union discuss these laws and decide if they want these laws to [be implemented] in Europe.

Court of Justice of the European Union logo

If they decide that a law must [be implemented], all countries of the European Union must work to make this law happen in [the countries].

[There are] other bodies that are important for the European Union [such as] the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors.

 

More information
Click here for more information about the European Union in your own language.
If you have questions about the European Union, you can fill an online form here .

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Images
> Featured image/European Parliament, CC BY4.0
> EU members and candidates/Giorgi balakhadze and tohers. Derived from File European Union member states and candidates.svg, and File Blank map of europe without disputed regions.svg. CC BY-SA4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Vignetted.
> Vaduz Castle/Justin LaBerge, CC BY2.0 via Flickr
> Euro and European flag/European Union
> Circle of people holding hands/European Union
> Logos European Council, Parliament, Council of the European Union, and Court of Justice of the European Union/European Union