THE EUROPEAN UNION – A QUICK GUIDE

European-Union

The most striking thing about Brexit was that a lot of Britons had no clue about what the EU actually stands for or what it exactly does… Are the Maltese any different?

Let’s start off with a few quick facts:

– There are currently 28 countries in the EU, stretching from Portugal to Cyprus and Finland to Greece.
– It was first formed in 1957 and was, back then, known as the European Economic Community.
– Its two main aims were – and still are – to prevent Europe from descending into another cataclysmic war and to strengthen economic ties between nations.
– The EU is mainly run by three bodies, namely the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council.
– Each country pays to be part of the European Union.
– The Euro was made available in 2002, and there are currently 19 countries that use it.
– Malta has been a part of the EU since 2004, and introduced the Euro in 2008.

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Among its many policies there are:

Freedom of movement to all EU citizens
Freedom of trade of goods, services and capital
Human Rights Protection

Some lesser known facts about the EU include:

– The EU has laws about bananas and cucumbers being too curved… although the bendy ones are not technically banned.
– The EU prohibits manufacturers of bottled water from mentioning that water is ‘hydrating’ on labels.
– The EU has seemingly banned some diabetes sufferers from driving, although it’s not currently enforced.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But the EU is so much more than a union of nations that controls the voltage of your hairdryer and dictates whether you can call a turnip a swede or not (Fun Fact: you can only do so in Cornwall).

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– The EU works as a team, making its voice stronger in world affairs than, say, if Malta had to speak on its own behalf.
– It ensures that all EU citizens are free to live and travel safely within the EU. They’re also protected in every part of the Union and, when something goes wrong, the European Courts of Justice is there to help make things right.
– The EU promotes economic and social growth, allowing both businesses and workers to expand their horizons.

Of course, that is just 1% of what the EU actually does. There are lots of discussions happening all the time, and the Union also funds various projects in agriculture, technology, science, arts, education and space travel, among others.

Yet what makes the EU so worth safeguarding is the fact that, no matter what, we stand united whether we’re prospering or not. Through the joint history and heritage of European countries, the EU has found a way of uniting a continent that had waged war on itself for millennia. So, while it may not all be roses, forgetting the true intent of the European Union can be quite dangerous.

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What’s your opinion on the European Union?

Let us know in the comments section below.