The EU is a 28 nation economic group of European countries

The EU is a 28 nation economic group of European countries. It is the most successful story of regional economic integration in the world. This model of regional integration is being emulated by the East Asian countries and elsewhere for esta­blishing economic communities. It is the only organization in the world, which has a common currency, with open borders for the movement of people, goods and services. The strange fact of the history of Europe is that the European nations fought among themselves for long time during 19th century and till first half of 20th century, but have come to develop close economic relations and forge economic integration at the end of 20th century.

The Evolution of European Union in the present form is a long and gradual process. But the basic motivation has been the realization that the economic cooperation among the European nations will help them to overcome conflicts and political differences. This idea became more pronounced in the wake of huge devastation caused in Europe by the World War II. The first initiative came in 1950 when the six countries- Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg (also called the ‘Benelux’), France Germany and Italy set up the Euro­pean Coal and Steel community, with limited scope for coordination in the field of coal and steel. As the benefits of the cooperation became clear, these countries constituted European

 

Economic Community (EEC), under the Treaty of Rome in 1857. The EEC remained in existence for a long time and was replaced by the present European Union in a series of steps in 1993.

The transformation of EEC into EU is the result of changes in the global economy brought about by the process of globalization, in which individual European countries were not in a position to compete success­fully in the emerging global economy as many new entrants were due to pose challenges for them. The funda­mental changes in the structure of EEC were introduced in 1993 by the Treaty of Maastricht. It renamed EEC as European Community (EC). It introduced three Pillars of new organization : 1. A Set of European Communities in different areas of cooperation; 2. The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSO); and

  1. The Police and Judicial Coopera­tion in Criminal Matters (PJCC While the first pillar provided for the cooperation in economic areas, the second pillar tried to ensure coordi­nation in security and foreign policies, the third pillar initiated the process o: coordination of domestic policies ir. criminal and judicial matters. Next reform came through the Treaty of Amsterdam, 1997 and the Treaty of Nice, 2001, which made some mine: alterations in the jurisdiction of three pillars. Meanwhile European Unior adopted Euro as the commor currency of Europe with effect from January 1, 2002.

The next fundamental changes were introduced by the Treaty o: Lisbon, 2007, which came in to force in 2009, after the approval by the people of member countries. Though the treaty faced difficulties in smootr approval in some countries, the treatv of Lisbon abolished the three pillars introduced in 1993 and renamed the organization as the European Unior (EU), which continues to be the
present name of this organization. The most significant change is that the new EU is conceived as a single legal entity, capable of entering into bilateral and multilateral agreements in its own right. Because of its separate legal entity, the EU is represented as a separate body like any other sovereign country. The Lisbon Treaty divides the jurisdiction of the new organization into two cate­gories : Exclusive competence; and shared competence.