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European Union Government 2016
https://theodora.com/wfbcurrent/european_union/european_union_government.html
SOURCE: 2016 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES











European Union Government 2016
SOURCE: 2016 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES


Page last updated on February 11, 2016

Union name:
conventional long form: European Union
abbreviation: EU

Political structure:
a hybrid and unique intergovernmental and supranational organization

Capital:
name: Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg; note - the European Council, a gathering of the EU heads of state and/or government, and the Council of the European Union, a ministerial-level body of ten formations, meet in Brussels, Belgium, except for Council meetings held in Luxembourg in April, June, and October; the European Parliament meets in Brussels and Strasbourg, France, and has administrative offices in Luxembourg; the Court of Justice of the European Union is located in Luxembourg; and the European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt, Germany
geographic coordinates: (Brussels) 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Member states:
28 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK; note - candidate countries: Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey
note: there are non-European overseas countries and territories (OCTs) having special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the UK (list is annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), that are associated with the Union to promote their economic and social development; member states apply to their trade with OCTs the same treatment as they accord each other pursuant to the treaties

Independence:
7 February 1992 (Maastricht Treaty signed establishing the European Union); 1 November 1993 (Maastricht Treaty entered into force)
note: the Treaties of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957 and subsequently entered into force on 1 January 1958, created the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community; a series of subsequent treaties have been adopted to increase efficiency and transparency, to prepare for new member states, and to introduce new areas of cooperation - such as a single currency; the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 and entered into force on 1 December 2009 is the most recent of these treaties and is intended to make the EU more democratic, more efficient, and better able to address global problems with one voice

National holiday:
Europe Day (also known as Schuman Day) 9 May (1950); note - the day in 1950 that Robert SCHUMAN proposed the creation of what became the European Coal and Steel Community, the progenitor of today's European Union, with the aim of achieving a united Europe

Constitution:
none; note - the EU legal order relies primarily on two consolidated texts encompassing all provisions as amended from a series of past treaties: the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as modified by the Lisbon Treaty, states in Article 1 that "the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION ... on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common"; Article 1 of the TEU states further that the EU is "founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as 'the Treaties')," both possessing the same legal value; Article 6 of the TEU provides that a separately adopted Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union "shall have the same legal value as the Treaties (2015)

Legal system:
unique supranational law system in which, according to an interpretive declaration of member-state governments appended to the Treaty of Lisbon, "the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States" under conditions laid down in the case law of the Court of Justice; key principles of EU law include fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and as resulting from constitutional traditions common to the EU's states; EU law is divided into 'primary' and 'secondary' legislation; the treaties (primary legislation) are the basis for all EU action; secondary legislation - which includes directives, regulations, and decisions - are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treaties

Suffrage:
18 years of age (16 years in Austria); universal; voting for the European Parliament is permitted in each member state
[see also: Suffrage country ranks ]

Executive branch:
note: the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the EC's external representation and foreign policy making body; Frederica MOGHERINI (since 1 November 2014), is the current High Representative; the High Representative helps develop and implement the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defense Policy, chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, represents and acts for the Union in many international contexts, and oversees the European External Action Service, the diplomatic corps of the EU; Frederica MOGHERINI nominated by the Italian prime minister and approved by the European Council to serve a 5-year term

Legislative branch:
description: two legislative bodies consisting of the Council of the European Union (28 seats; ministers representing the 28 member states and the European Parliament (751 seats; seats allocated among member states roughly in proportion to population size; members elected by proportional representation to serve 5-year terms); note - the European Parliament President, currently Martin SCHULZ (German Socialist) is elected by a majority of fellow members (MEPs) of the European Parliament and represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally; the Council of the EU and the MEPs share responsibilities for adopting the bulk of EU legislation, acting on Commission proposals
elections: last held on 22-25 May 2014 (next to be held May-June 2019)
election results: percent of vote - EPP 29.4%, S&D; 25.4%, ECR 9.3%, ALDE 8.9%, GUE/NGL 6.9%, Greens/EFA 6.7%, EFD 6.4%, independent 6.9%; seats by party - EPP 221, S&D; 191, ECR 70, ALDE 67, GUE/NGL 52, Greens/EFA 50, EFD 48, independent 52

Judicial branch:
note: the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ensures that EU law is interpreted and applied uniformly throughout the EU, resolves disputed isssues among the EU institutions and with member states, issues opinions on questions of EU law referred by member state courts
highest court(s): ECJ (consists of 28 judges - 1 from each member state); the court may sit as a full court, in a "Grand Chamber" of 13 judges in special cases but usually in chambers of 3 to 5 judges
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the common consent of the member states to serve 6-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: General Court; Civil Service Tribunal

Political parties and leaders:
European United Left-Nordic Green Left or GUE/NGL [Gabriele ZIMMER] Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy or EFD [Nigel FARAGE and David BORRELLI] Europe of Nations and Freedom or ENL [Marine LE PEN and Marcel DE GRAFF] European Conservatives and Reformists or ECR [Syed KAMALL] The Greens/European Free Alliance or Greens/EFA [Rebecca HARMS and Philippe LAMBERTS] Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe or ALDE [Guy VERHOFSTADT] European People's Party or EPP [Manfred WEBER] Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats or S&D; [Gianni PITELLA]

International organization participation:
ARF, ASEAN (dialogue member), Australian Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CERN, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-8, G-10, G-20, IDA, IEA, IGAD (partners), LAIA (observer), NSG (observer), OAS (observer), OECD, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), UN (observer), UNRWA (observer), WCO, WTO, ZC (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador David O'SULLIVAN (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: 2175 K Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 862-9500
FAX: [1] (202) 429-1766

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony Luzzatto GARDNER (since 18 March 2014)
embassy: 13 Zinnerstraat/Rue Zinner, B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4100
FAX: [32] (2) 811-5154

Flag description:
a blue field with 12 five-pointed gold stars arranged in a circle in the center; blue represents the sky of the Western world, the stars are the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity; the number of stars is fixed

National symbol(s):
a circle of 12, five-pointed, golden yellow stars on a blue field; union colors: blue, yellow

National anthem:
name: "Ode to Joy""
lyrics/music: no lyrics/Ludwig VON BEETHOVEN, arranged by Herbert VON KARAJAN
note: adopted 1972; official EU anthem since 1985; the song is meant to represent all of Europe rather than just the organization, conveying ideas of peace, freedom, and unity; the song also serves as the anthem for the Council of Europe

NOTE: The information regarding European Union on this page is re-published from the 2016 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of European Union Government 2016 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about European Union Government 2016 should be addressed to the CIA.




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