What is the EU?

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political partnership of member states. After World War II, the people of Europe were determined to create conditions for lasting peace and stability. On May 9th, 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community was created – the first inter-European coalition that would later evolve into the European Union. Since then the EU has only enlarged in scope and political and economic prestige. Currently, the EU is composed of 28 democratic European countries.

The main bodies that run the EU are the European Parliament, representing the people of Europe; the Council of the European Union, representing national governments of member states; and the European Commission, representing the common EU interest. The role of the European Commission (EC) is to ensure that the regulations and directives adopted by the Council and Parliament are being implemented. As the EU’s executive arm, the Commission implements the decisions taken by the Council in areas such as agricultural policy. It has wide powers to manage the EU’s policies, such as research and technology, overseas aid, regional development, etc. It also manages the budget for these policies. The Commission is assisted by a civil service made up of 46 directorates-general (DGs) and services.