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I. The European Union

    The European Union "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") pool their sovereignty in order to gain a strength and world influence none of them could have on its own. 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."

    Institutions of the European Union

      The European Commission "The Commission is the politically independent institution that represents and upholds the interests of the EU as a whole. It is the driving force within the EU's institutional system: it proposes legislation, policies and programmes of action and it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council."

      The European Parliament  "The European Parliament, which derives its legitimacy from direct universal suffrage and is elected every five years, has steadily acquired greater influence and power through a series of treaties. These treaties, particularly the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, have transformed the European Parliament from a purely consultative assembly into a legislative parliament, exercising powers similar to those of the national parliaments. Today the European Parliament, as an equal partner with the Council of Ministers, passes the majority of European laws - laws that affect the lives of Europe's citizens."

      The Council of the European Union "The Council of the European Union represents the member states, and its meetings are attended by one minister from each of the EU's national governments. Each minister in the Council is empowered to commit his or her government. In other words, the minister's signature is the signature of the whole government. Moreover, each minister in the Council is answerable to his or her national parliament and to the citizens that parliament represents. This ensures the democratic legitimacy of the Council's decisions."

      The Court of Justice "The Court of Justice ensures that EU legislation (technically known as "Community law") is interpreted and applied in the same way in each member state. In other words, that it is always identical for all parties and in all circumstances. The Court has the power to settle legal disputes between member states, EU institutions, businesses and individuals."

      The European Court of Auditors "The Court of Auditors checks that all the Union's revenue has been received and all its expenditure incurred in a lawful and regular manner and that the EU budget has been managed soundly."

    Main bodies of the European Union

      The European Central Bank "The European Central Bank is a financial body of the European Union. It was set up in 1998, under the Treaty on European Union, to introduce and manage the new currency - conducting foreign exchange operations and ensuring the smooth operation of payment systems. The ECB is also responsible for framing and implementing the EU's economic and monetary policy."

      The European Investment Bank "The European Investment Bank is a financial body of the European Union. It helps achieve the Union's objectives by financing certain types of investment project." 

      The European Economic and Social Committee "The European Economic and Social Committee is an advisory body of the European Union. It represents employers, trade unions, farmers, consumers and the other interest groups that collectively make up "organised civil society". It presents their views and defends their interests in policy discussions with the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament."

      The Committee of the Regions "The Committee of the Regions is an advisory body of the European Union. It is composed of representatives of Europe's regional and local authorities. It ensures that these authorities have a say in European Union policymaking and that regional and local identities and prerogatives are respected."

    Agencies and other bodies of the European Union

      European Ombudsman: Homepage of the European Ombudsman.

      Europol :

      Eurojust : "Eurojust is a European Union body established in 2002 to enhance the effectiveness of the competent authorities within Member States when they are dealing with the investigation and prosecution of serious cross-border and organised crime."

      Eurostat : Statistical Office of the European Union.

      Eurobarometer : Website for the Public Opinion Analysis.

      Office for EU Publications : The European Union's Publisher.

    Members States of the European Union

      Belgium Website of the Government of Belgium.

      France Website of the Government of France.

      Germany Website of the Government of Germany.

      Italy Website of the Government of Italy.

      Luxembourg Website of the Government of Luxembourg.

      Netherlands Website of the Government of The Netherlands.

      Denmark Website of the Government of Denmark.

      Ireland Website of the Government of Ireland.

      United Kingdom Website of the Government of The United Kingdom.

      Greece Website of the Government of Greece.

      Portugal Website of the Government of Portugal.

      Spain Website of the Government of Spain.

      Austria Website of the Government of Austria.

      Finland Website of the Government of Finland.

      Sweden Website of the Government of Sweden.

      Cyprus Website of the Government of Cyprus.

      Czech Republic Website of the Government of The Czech Republic.

      Estonia Website of the Government of Estonia.

      Hungary Website of the Government of Hungary.

      Latvia Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

      Lithuania Website of the Government of Lithuania.

      Malta Website of the Government of Malta.

      Poland Website of the Government of Poland.

      Slovakia Website of the Government of Slovakia.

      Slovenia Website of the Government of Slovenia.

II. Other European Organisations

    The Baltic Assembly "The Baltic Assembly is an international organization for co-operation between the parliaments of the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania, founded on the basis of the joint decision adopted by members of the Supreme Councils of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Vilnius on 1 December 1990."

    The Benelux "L'acronyme Benelux est bien connu en tant que concept géographique regroupant la Belgique, les Pays-Bas et le Luxembourg. Ce qui est moins connu, c'est que le Benelux est aussi synonyme d'une coopération politique et administrative entre ces trois pays. Cette coopération a démarré en 1944. Le but en était l'élimination des entraves aux frontières et la réalisation de la libre circulation des personnes, des marchandises et des services entre les trois pays."

    Commonwealth of Independent States Cisstat is the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States. "Statcommittee of the CIS was established in accordance with the decision of the Heads of Governments of the CIS States in December 1991 for coordinating activities of statistical organizations of the CIS countries, developing and implementing an unified statistical methodology on the basis of mutual consultations, securing comparability and continuity of statistical elaborations, facilitating wide-scale information exchange in the framework of the CIS, organizing seminars and employing other forms of rendering assistance to national statistical services. The Committee is entrusted with creating and maintaining common statistical databases."

    The Council of Europe (CoE) "The Council of Europe is the continent's oldest political organisation, founded in 1949. It was set up to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. Since 1989, its main job has become acting as a political anchor and human rights watchdog for Europe's post-communist democracies and assisting the countries of central and eastern Europe in carrying out and consolidating political, legal and constitutional reform in parallel with economic reform."

    European Free Trade Association (EFTA) "The European Free Trade Association - EFTA - is an international organisation promoting free trade and economic integration. The Association maintains the management of (1) the EFTA free trade area, (2) the EFTA participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) and (3) EFTA's network of free trade agreements."

    The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers "Official Nordic co-operation is channelled through two organisations: the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Council, formed in 1952, is the forum for inter-parliamentary co-operation. Its website provides access for the general public to information on its initiatives and on its policies in a more general sense. "

    North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) "NATO is an alliance of 19 countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949. In accordance with the Treaty, the fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means."

    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) "The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation."

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE): "UNECE strives to foster sustainable economic growth among its 55 member countries. To that end UNECE provides a forum for communication among States; brokers international legal instruments addressing trade, transport and the environment; and supplies statistics and economic and environmental analysis."

    The Visegrad Group "The Visegrad Group reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within all-European integration.[.] The V4 Group wishes to contribute towards building the European security architecture based on effective, functionally complementary and mutually reinforcing cooperation and coordination within existing European and transatlantic institutions."

    The Western European Union (WEU) "The Brussels Treaty was signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Brussels Treaty Organisation - as it was then called - provided for collective self-defence and economic, social and cultural collaboration between its signatories. On 23 October 1954, the Brussels Treaty was modified to include the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy, thus creating Western European Union. The aims stated in the preamble were to afford assistance to each other in resisting any policy of aggression and to promote unity and to encourage the progressive integration of Europe".

About the Maintainer
[Red Arrow Image]The site is maintained at the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE) by Christian LEKL,
Château de Sanem; L-4992 Sanem (Luxembourg), tel.: +352 595920-1, fax.: +352 59 59 20-555;
Click here for his Home page.
Please direct your notices of new URL's or inoperative links to him here.
[Red Arrow Image]Last updated the January 17, 2014

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