Goals and values ​​of the EU

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The European Union’s main objective is to promote peace, follow the EU’s values and improve the wellbeing of nations.

Aims

The objectives of the European Union are:

  • Promoting peace, European values ​​and the well-being of its citizens,
  • Freedom, security and the rule of law without internal borders,
  • sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a competitive market economy with full employment, social progress and protection of the environment,
  • Curbing social injustice and discrimination,
  • Promoting scientific and technological progress,
  • Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity between member countries,
  • Respect for their rich cultural and linguistic diversity,
  • Establishment of an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.

Values

All EU member states share the values ​​of the EU: They strive for a society in which inclusion, tolerance, the rule of law, solidarity and non-discrimination are a matter of course. These values ​​shape our European lifestyle:

  • Human
    dignity Human dignity is inviolable. It is to be respected and protected. It forms the very foundation of fundamental rights.
  • Freedom Freedom of
    movement enables citizens to travel within the EU and choose their place of residence. Personal freedoms such as respect for private life, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and information are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
  • Democracy
    The way the Union works is based on representative democracy. As a European citizen, you also enjoy certain political rights. Every adult EU citizen has the right to vote and stand for election to the European Parliament. He or she can stand for election in both the country of residence and the country of origin.
  • Equality
    Equality is about equal rights for all citizens before the law. Equality between women and men is part of all EU policies and the basis of European integration. It applies to all areas. The principle of equal pay for equal work was laid down in the contract as early as 1957. While equality is not yet fully achieved, the EU has made significant progress.
  • Rule of law
    The EU is based on the rule of law. All of their activities are based on voluntary and democratic agreements between their member countries. Law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary. The member states have given the European Court of Justice the power to rule in the last instance. His judgments must be respected by everyone.
  • Human rights Human
    rights are protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. These include the right to non-discrimination based on gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, as well as the right to the protection of personal data and the right to access justice.

From economic to political union

The European Union is a unique economic and political association of 27 European countries that together make up a large part of the European continent.

The predecessor organization of the EU has its origins in the period after the Second World War. It all started with the promotion of economic cooperation. The idea behind this was that countries that do trade with one another intertwine economically and therefore tend to avoid armed conflicts.

The result was the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958 and growing economic cooperation, originally between six countries, namely Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Since those beginnings, 22 more countries have joined this group and established a large domestic market , the potential of which is constantly being developed.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union.

What began as a purely economic community has now become an organization that covers numerous policy areas from climate change to environmental protection and health to external relations and security, justice and migration . This change was taken into account in 1993 when the EEC was renamed the European Union (EU).

Stability, a common currency, mobility and growth

The EU’s achievements include more than half a century of peace, stability and prosperity, its contribution to increasing living standards and the introduction of a single European currency – the euro . The euro is now the currency for more than 340 million EU citizens in 19 countries.

Since border controls between EU countries have been abolished, people in most of the continent enjoy freedom of movement. At the same time, living, working and traveling in other European countries has become much easier. All EU citizens have the right and freedom to choose which EU country they want to work, study or retire in. Every state must treat Union citizens in the same way as its own citizens in terms of employment, social benefits and taxes.

The single market is the main engine of the EU economy. It ensures free movement of most goods, services, capital and people. Another key objective of the EU is to develop its vast energy, knowledge and capital market resources so that all Europeans can get the most out of them.

Transparent and democratic institutions

The EU continues to strive to make its administrative bodies even more transparent and democratic. Resolutions are made as openly and as closely to the citizens as possible.

The directly elected European Parliament was given additional powers and the role of national parliaments working side by side with the EU institutions was strengthened.

Furthermore, the principle of representative democracy applies in the EU: the citizens are represented directly in the European Parliament at Union level , the Member States in the European Council and the Council of the European Union .

EU citizens are invited to contribute to democratic life in the Union by sharing their views on EU policies or by proposing changes and new strategies. The European Citizens' Initiative enables citizens to become more involved in EU policies that affect them directly. Citizens can also make complaints and ask questions about the application of EU law .

The EU in the world

trade

The European Union is the largest trading bloc in the world. The EU has the highest share of world exports of manufactured goods and is the largest import market for over 100 countries.

Free trade between its member states was one of the principles in building the EU – it was made possible through the internal market. Outside its borders, the EU promotes the liberalization of world trade.

Humanitarian aid

The EU works to help victims of both man-made and natural disasters around the world, and it helps over 120 million people every year. Together, the EU and its member states provide most of the funds for humanitarian aid worldwide .