The EU in Brief

Goals and values of the EU

The goals of the European Union:

  • promote peace
  • 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
  • respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity
  • establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro

From economic to political union

The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 EU countries that cover much of Europe.

The goals were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict. In addition to economic issues, the EU addresses areas such as the environment and migration.

On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom left the European Union.

Stability, a single currency, mobility and growth

The EU launched a single European currency: the euro. More than 340 million EU citizens in 19 countries now use it as their currency and enjoy its benefits.

There are no border controls between EU countries, so people can travel freely throughout most of the continent. All EU citizens have the right and freedom to choose in which EU country they want to study, work or retire. Every EU country must treat EU citizens in exactly the same way as its own citizens for employment, social security and tax purposes.

The EU's main economic structure is the single market. It enables most goods, services, money and people to move freely.

Transparent and democratic institutions

The EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. Decisions are taken as openly as possible.

The EU is governed by the principle of representative democracy, with citizens directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU.

The EU in the world

The EU is committed to helping victims of man-made and natural disasters worldwide and supports over 120 million people each year.

The EU plays an important role in diplomacy and works to build stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level.

Source: The EU in Brief
© European Union, 1995-2020

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