Ireland joined the European Union in January 1973 and have benefited greatly as a result. The beginning of the European Union began in April of 1951, and is founded on four treaties. The European Union is not like any other organisation in the world, as its member states still retain their sovereignty. The member states which today stand at 27 members, pool together some of their control in some matters to gain greater strength as a group. The European Union has provided its members with a single currency, The Euro, and a ‘single market’ where people, goods, services and capital can move freely between member states.
European Union – Organisation of European countries, formed in 1993 to oversee their economic and political integration. It was created by the Maastricht Treaty (also known as the Treaty on European Union) and ratified by all members of the European Community, out of which the European Union developed. European Community – An economic and political organization formed from the consolidation of three western European treaty organizations, the European Economic Community, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community. The treaty establishing the European Community was ratified in 1965 and took effect in 1967.
THE TREATIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION: * The coal and steel treaty – was signed in Paris in 1951 between six countries Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The aim of the Treaty, as stated in Article 2, was to contribute, through the common market for coal and steel, to economic expansion, growth of employment and a rising standard of living. Thus, the institutions had to ensure an orderly supply to the common market by ensuring equal access to the sources of production, the establishment of the lowest prices and improved working conditions.
All of this had to be accompanied by growth in international trade and modernisation of production. * The Treaty of Rome – was signed on the 25th of March 1957. The Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and also established the European Economic Community. * The Merger Treaty – signed on 8 April 1965 this created a Single Commission and a Single Council of the European Community. * The Single European Act – this was signed on 17th of February 1986. This made the single market that was created in 1993 possible.
* The Treaty on European Union – this was signed on the 7th of February 1992. It is also known as the ‘Maastricht Treaty’, this Treaty brought about new ways of for member states to co ordinate on matters like defence and home affairs. * The Treaty of Amsterdam – this was signed on the 2nd of October 1997. This Treaty created more co ordination on areas involving human rights and employment rights. * The Treaty of Nice – was signed on 26th of February 2001. This restructured the European Union decision making systems. * The Lisbon Treaty – was agreed in 2007.
Its main objectives are to make the EU more democratic, meeting the European citizens’ expectations for high standards of accountability, openness, transparency and participation; and to make the EU more efficient and able to tackle today’s global challenges such as climate change, security and sustainable development. European Institutions The European Union has three main decision making institutions are: * The European parliament – this is the only institution that is voted for democratically. The parliament represents the interests and the democratic will of the citizens of the European Union to other institutions in the European Union.
What the European Parliament does: The parliament passes European laws with the European Council. The parliament has the power to approve nominations of commissioners, and has the right to require the commission as a whole to step down. * The European council – this is the European Union’s major decision making body and the minister’s from each member state attends its meetings, which minister depends on the topics that are being discussed at the meeting. What the European Council does: The European Council passes laws with the parliament and harmonise the members on economic and social policies.
They also make agreements between the European Union and other international organisations like the World Trade Organisation. * The European commission – the European Commission is independent of national governments. Its job is to represent and uphold the interests of the European Union as a whole. It drafts proposals for new European laws, which it presents to the European Parliament and the European Council. What the European Commission does: The Commission proposes legislation that is passes to the parliament and the European Council for approval.
It puts into practice the European Union’s policies and budgets. It works with the Court of Justice to enforce European Union laws. The Commission represents the European Union to other countries outside the Union. There are also other institutions: * The council of the European Union * The European economic and social committee * The committee of the regions * The European Investment Bank * The European Central Bank – this currently controls the interest rate in Ireland. * The European Ombudsman * The European Data Protection Supervisor THE HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION:
* 25th march 1957 – The six countries that signed the coal and steel treaty in April 1951, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, expanded their co operation and created the Treaty of Rome, the Treaty expanded the co operation into other economic sectors and created the European Economic Community. * 1st January 1958 – the Treaty of Rome is entered into Force. * 1st January 1959 – the first steps are taken in to remove customs duties and quota within the European Economic Community. * 20th – 21st July 1959 – seven countries form the European Free Trade Association.
These countries are Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The European Free Trade Association Convention comes into effect on the 03/05/1960. * 1st September 1961 – the first regulations on free movement of people comes into effect. * 30th July 1962 – the Common Agricultural Policy regulations enter into force. This gives countries joint control over food production. Farmers are paid the same price for their products. * 9th February 1967 – The Council of Ministers decide to standardise indirect taxes in the European Economic Community.
* 1st July 1968 – there is the removal of customs duties on goods imported from each other. They also apply the same duties on their imports from outside countries. * 24th April 1972 – the six counties decide to create the Exchange Rate Mechanism, they agree to keep their exchange rates within narrow limits. * 1st may 1972 – the European Social Fund becomes operational. * 1st January 1973 – the six become nine as Ireland, Denmark and the United Kingdom join the original six countries, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
* 18th march 1975 – the council sets up the European Regional Development Fund and a Regional Policy Committee. It transfers money from rich to poorer regions to improve roads and communications attracting investment and creating jobs in the European Community. * 4th December 1978 – the European Monetary System is set up. But comes into force on the 13/03/1979. * 1979 – The European Parliament increases its authority in European affairs, and all citizens can elect their members directly. * 1st January 1981 – Greece joins the European Community bringing the number of members to ten.
* 20th July 1985 – the central banks of each member state adjusts their central rate within the European Monetary System. * 1st January 1986 – Spain and Portugal join. * 1987 – The Single European Act is signed, this provides the basic of a program designed to sort out the problems of free flow of trade in the European Community. * 9th November 1989 – the Berlin wall comes down and this joins the east and west of Germany. East Germany joins the European Community in October of 1990. * 7th February 1992 – The treaty of European Union is signed in Maastricht. The European Community changes its name to the European Union.
* 1st January 1993 – The Single Market is established, there is free movement of goods, services, people and money within member states. * 1st January 1995 – Austria, Finland and Sweden join the European Union. * 1st June 1998 – the European Central Bank is established. * 1st January 1999 – the Euro is introduced for financial transactions in eleven countries. These countries are Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Finland and the Netherlands. * 26th February 2001 – the Treaty of Nice is signed, this treaty amends the treaty of the European Union.
* 1st January 2002 – the euro notes and coins are introduced in twelve European countries. * 28th February 2002 – the period of dual currency comes to an end. * 1st March 2004 – eight countries join the European Union, (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. ) * 29th October 2004 – the member states sign a treaty creating a European Constitution. * 1st January 2008 – Cyprus and Malta join the European Union. The Euro now has fifteen members. * 1st December 2009 – Lisbon Treaty enters into force. IRELAND IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
Ireland has been president of the European Union on six different occasions. Since 1973 Ireland had benefited greatly from being a member of the European Union. * The single market has benefited Ireland greatly as it has removed a lot of restrictions on exporting that otherwise would have faced Ireland since it is an island nation. * Ireland also has access to a bigger market of over 460 million people that are living in the member states of the European Union. * In 1972, €16 million was coming from foreign investment in the economy, now the figure exceeds €30 billion.
There are over one thousand companies that are foreign owned in Ireland and they employ over 128,000 people in Ireland. This may be as a result of the European Union. * Irish citizens have the right to free movement within member states. There is also the free movement of goods, services and capital. * Ireland has profited from the European Regional Development Fund, the European Union has donated money towards projects in Ireland like infrastructure. * Ireland has more of a say in world affairs as a result of being a member in the European Union.
This is because the European Union has substantial influence in the world. Conclusion: The European Union has changed the world we live in today. The European Union continues to improve people’s rights within the member states of example in 1998 the European Court of Justice declared that firing a women throughout the duration of their pregnancy is contrary to common law, while promoting free trade. The Euro helps make trade more convenient between countries as there are now fifteen member states so there is no exchange rate between these countries.
However as we have seen during this recession the European Union can have a negative effect, because the European Central Bank controls our interests rates and Irish banks have to keep their interest rate within a certain range of the Central Bank’s interest rate. The European Central Bank has to set its interest rate for what is best for the European Union as a whole not for individual countries. This has slowed down Ireland recovery from this recession, as they can’t change the interest rate to effect peoples spending. Bibliography Class notes www. answers. com The European Union website – http://europa.
eu How the European Union Works. Your guide to the EU institutions that can be downloaded from http://ec. europa. eu/publications/booklets/eu_glance/68/index_en. htm. Irish government website – www. gov. ie/en/ ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Definition from http://www. answers. com/topic/european-union on the 06/03/2010. [ 2 ]. Definition from http://www. answers. com/topic/european-community on the 06/03/2010. [ 3 ]. Taken from the European Union website http://europa. eu/legislation_summaries/institutional_affairs/treaties/treaties_ecsc_en. htm on the 08/03/2010. [ 4 ].
Taken from the European Union website http://europa. eu/abc/treaties/index_en. htm on the 08/03/2010. [ 5 ]. Taken from the How the European Union Works. Your guide to the EU institutions that can be downloaded from http://ec. europa. eu/publications/booklets/eu_glance/68/index_en. htm. [ 6 ]. Taken from the How the European Union Works. Your guide to the EU institutions that can be downloaded from http://ec. europa. eu/publications/booklets/eu_glance/68/index_en. htm. [ 7 ]. The figures are from www. dfa. ie on the 06/03/2010. [ 8 ]. Taken from the European Union website www. europa. eu on the 06/03/2010.