The last amending treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, came into force on 1 December 2009. The EU’s economic and financial policies in the euro area and the EU aim to: In reaction to the economic and financial crisis of 2008, the EU’s economic governance was strengthened through improvements to the Stability and Growth Pact, the fiscal rules Member States follow to facilitate and maintain the stability of economic and monetary union. Minimum standards for passenger rights have been set across all modes of transport, including information, assistance and compensation if cancellation or long delays occur. The EU’s trade policy covers trade in goods and services, but also matters such as the commercial aspects of intellectual property and foreign direct investment. enhance creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training. The European Commission continues to work on maintaining a stable and resilient financial system and addressing the remaining risks while keeping the regulatory framework up to speed with technological and economic developments. Seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy. Financial institutions and markets play a vital role in the stability and growth of the EU economy. The Commission manages several EU programmes to support innovation and entrepreneurship, including: The EU also offers businesses a number of support services including the Enterprise Europe Network and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. This makes it difficult for consumers to access or transfer financial products like bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and insurance across borders. Incorrect. The European Economic and Social Committee represents organised civil society and the European Committee of the Regions represents local and regional authorities. Q: Can the EU do without them? The Commissioners are the Commission’s political leadership during a five-year term. Hundreds of technical, legal and bureaucratic barriers to free trade and free movement between EU Member States have been removed to make things flow more easily within the single market. .eu is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the European Union (EU). It is the world's biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and the biggest import market for over 100 countries. Through the single market, lorries can provide services in countries other than their country of registration, reducing the number of empty return journeys. Our verdict. And in July 2018 Google was fined another €4.34 billion for imposing illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers. EU policy also looks to meet common challenges such as the shift to digital production and content, or how to encourage innovation in the cultural sector. the ones listed above, the EU shall take action only if the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the EU. EU policies encourage the creation of new businesses and support innovative enterprises in their efforts to scale up. The mission of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to foster scientific excellence in the evaluation and supervision of medicines, for the benefit of public and animal health in the European Union (EU). The EU has made available €3 billion to address the needs of refugees hosted in Turkey. This helps to build consumer trust across the EU, which is also good for businesses trading across borders in the EU’s single market. EU action on food safety protects the health of people, animals and plants at every step from farm to fork, while helping Europe’s food industry to thrive. Air, rail, ship or bus passengers travelling in the EU have rights when they experience delays or cancellations. The plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments has already mobilised €439  billion worth of investments (by October 2019), exceeding expectations. The EU has updated and reinforced its laws, harmonising the definition of terrorist offences and criminalising terrorist travel, training and financing. Each programme is drawn up through a collective process involving stakeholders at the European, national, regional and local levels, social partners and civil society. More than 3.2 million asylum seekers have applied for international protection in the EU since 2015, many of whom were fleeing from war and terror in Syria and other troubled countries. Eurojust facilitates cooperation between national justice authorities to help fight serious crimes such as corruption, terrorism, and drug trafficking and distribution, while the European Arrest Warrant has replaced lengthy extradition procedures to return suspected or convicted criminals back to the country where they will be or have been tried. All EU citizens have the right and freedom to choose in which EU country they want to study, work or retire. The capital markets union creates the necessary framework to mobilise capital in Europe and channel it to all companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and infrastructure projects that need it to expand and create jobs. The consultative committees (the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions) have an advisory role towards the European Parliament, Council and Commission. More than one million small and medium-sized companies are set to benefit from improved access to finance and the plan has helped to boost EU gross domestic product by 0.9%. This article is more than 1 year old. It does things like proposing new laws for the European Parliament to vote on, … The EU’s 140 diplomatic missions (‘delegations’) work with partner countries around the world to design long-term programmes. safeguarding EU citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being. The General Court procedure is similar, except that most cases are heard by three judges and there are no advocates general. Under the principle of proportionality, the EU’s action must be limited to what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the EU treaties. The European Neighbourhood Instrument supports the comprehensive approach by the EU towards its partners and is the key EU financial instrument for cooperation with the European neighbourhood policy countries in the years 2014-2020. However, in doing so they must respect certain fundamental principles, such as non-discrimination and respect for free movement of goods and services in the single market. The single market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. The European neighbourhood policy governs the EU’s relations with 16 of its closest eastern and southern partners. Since then, 22 other members joined and a huge single market (also known as the 'internal' market) has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential. Human dignity must be respected, protected and constitutes the real basis of fundamental rights. This includes living in an environment where nothing is wasted, natural resources are managed sustainably and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored. The Parliament’s consent is required for all international agreements in fields covered by the ordinary legislative procedure. EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal, also helps connect jobseekers and companies offering a job. The Commission also coordinates policymaking, research and reporting on a range of topics, from media literacy and digital distribution to cultural heritage preservation or culture in external relations. In 2016 around €61 billion (some 38% of the EU budget) was invested in supporting farmers to produce food in a sustainable way, while also promoting growth in the rural economy and a living countryside. Economic and monetary union and the euro provide the common foundations for greater stability, growth and prosperity across Europe. In addition to the basic objectives of ensuring secure energy supplies across the EU at reasonable prices for everyone, there is a growing need to facilitate the shift from a fossil-based economy towards a carbon-neutral system – the so-called clean energy transition. The EU seeks to protect cultural heritage and diversity across countries and to harness the cultural and creative industries’ contribution to the economy and society. The common agricultural policy is applied in all EU Member States and funded under the EU budget. What has the EU ever done for us? The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control assesses emerging threats so the EU and national health authorities can respond rapidly. The European Youth Portal provides information on these and other EU initiatives for young people across Europe, while EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal, also helps connect jobseekers and companies offering a job. boost excellent science, including through the, promote industrial leadership in areas such as nanotechnologies, biotechnology and information and communications technology, and through support for companies and entrepreneurs; and. For example, it has taken measures to guarantee an EU-wide right of access to basic bank accounts. And it has become much easier to live and work in another country in Europe. The EU also ensures animal health and welfare in the agri-food chain. The EU’s role in preparing for and responding to serious cross-border health threats is essential to protect Europeans and includes action on vaccination, fighting antimicrobial resistance, and preventing and limiting pandemics and other infectious diseases such as Ebola. Give feedback about this website or report a problem, Institutions, bodies & agencies – contact & visit details, Public contracts in the EU – rules and guidelines, The European Union - What it is and what it does, The General Report on the Activities of the European Union, 50 ways forward - Europe's best successes, The European story - 60 years of shared progress, Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), promote peace, its values and the well-being of its citizens, offer freedom, security and justice without internal borders, sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive market economy with full employment and social progress, and environmental protection, combat social exclusion and discrimination, promote scientific and technological progress, enhance economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among EU countries, respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity. A borderless and seamless common justice area will ensure that citizens can rely on a set of rights and can access justice throughout the continent. In 2016, for example, almost 313 million customs declarations were handled by more than 2 000 EU customs offices working 365 days a year. EU countries are responsible for their own education and training systems, but the EU helps them achieve quality education through the exchange of good practice, setting targets and benchmarks and providing funding and expertise. This is especially important in civil cases such as divorce, child custody or maintenance claims. The EU’s foreign policy at ministerial level is represented by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, currently Josep Borrell Fontelles, who also chairs meetings of foreign ministers. While national governments are responsible for setting tax rates and collecting taxes, the EU ensures that people or businesses from another Member State are not discriminated against and that taxes do not hinder the EU’s single market. The feedback period for Commission proposals is 8 weeks, after which the contributions are passed to the Parliament and the Council to be considered in their negotiations. OLAF is part of the European Commission, but acts in full independence in its investigative mandate. With a total budget of €14.7 billion, it will help over 4 million (mostly young) people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer in another country. protect the rights of people with disabilities. The Europass set of documents helps workers apply for jobs abroad by presenting their skills and qualifications in a standard Europe-wide format, more easily understood by employers. The Parliament debates it in two successive readings, and it comes into force when it has been signed by the President of the Parliament. By building a single market for aviation and advancing on the Single European Sky initiative, flying continues to become easier and cheaper. The European Commission has made jobs, growth and investment its top priority, backed up by the Investment Plan for Europe. It enables most goods, services, money and people to move freely. The EU has no standing army, but brings together forces contributed by its Member States under the EU flag. Multiple copies of free publications may be obtained by contacting Europe Direct or your local information centre (see What does the EU do? It uses trade defence and market access measures to defend its companies and citizens against unfair competition and unfair trade practices. 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