The question of whether the European Union is a political project or an economic project continues to raise heated debate in different sectors within the union’s jurisdiction. The European Union was established after the formation of the Maastricht treaty in the year 1993 and it was entirely based on the then European economic community. It was initially meant to be a political and economic union. Currently, the union has twenty seven states that are members with an estimated population of about 500 million people. The European Union contributes about 30% of the gross world product.
Apart from encouraging economic growth within the region through development and maintenance of a single market which is governed by laws which are standardized, this union also acts as a political project which is governed by a federal government and makes legislation regarding the running of this federal system of government. Though during its formation it was meant to be an economic and political project, the current trends the European Union has taken are more politically inclined making it more of a political project than an economic project.
Most of the latest movements of the European Union are inclined towards a political union (Archer, 2000). European Union- A political project The European Union is an entity which has several and well organized political structures which are unique as compared to the other political settings. It is made up of three elements which include a multi party parliament which is democratic, supranational and intergovernmental.
According to the Maastricht treaty which was formulated in the year 1991, the political scene of the union was subdivided into three pillars which are the economic community which makes the supranational element and other elements which are primarily intergovernmental and they are the judicial and police cooperation while dealing with criminal matters and also the security policy and common foreign. The police and the judicial cooperation have some supranational elements. However, these elements are not as strong as those of the community.
All the powers which are exercised by the union are dictated by the three pillars. Any sensitive issue which may arise is dealt with using the intergovernmental pillars and the union is given an exclusive control over all areas contained in the community pillar (Baun, 1996). As mentioned earlier, the European Union is made up of 27 states which only retain the powers which have not been explicitly handed over to the union. Other powers that the member states hold are the powers which are handed over to other subdivisions within the states for example the Belgian and German federations.
The enlargement of the membership of the union has become a political issue and divisions have arisen as to how far this bloc is supposed to expand. Some individuals however view this enlargement as a major instrument to aid the development of the union while others feel that this may dilute the union (Urwin, 1995). The European Union is made up of four primary institutions which include the European council, the European commission and council of European Union lastly the European parliament.
The European community and the European council form the executive branch of the union. The commission is charged with controlling agencies, drafting as well as proposing legislation as well as ensuring that law is applied within the region. This commission is made up commissioners who are representatives of the state with each state having one commissioner. These commissioners are above their national politics and they elect a president among themselves to lead the body.
The president elected to head the commission acts has roles comparable to that of the prime minister while those of the commissioners can be compared to those of the ministers. The commissioners are then given directorate general to head which is equivalent to ministries. Power however is well defined and different. This form of organization reflects the federal government’s political alignment making the European Union more of a political power rather than integration to attain economic growth within the European region (Csaba, 2007).