What is the European Union?
Supporting Each Other Equal Say For All
Building a Better Europe Peace & Security
Democracy Working Together
In summary, the European Union is a partnership of the European nations that are members. It was born out of a need to promote lasting peace, to grow democracy and to develop economically.
Winston Churchill, listed as one of the 11 Founding Fathers of the EU, had an early vision of some form of united Europe:
“We are reunited here, in this new Assembly, not as representatives of our several countries or various political parties, but as Europeans forging ahead, hand in hand, and if necessary elbow to elbow, to restore the former glories of Europe…
‘There is no reason for us not to succeed in achieving our goal and laying the foundation of a United Europe. A Europe whose moral design will win the respect and acknowledgement of all humanity, and whose physical strength will be such that no person will dare to disturb it as it marches peacefully towards the future.’ Inaugural Meeting of the Council of Europe, August 1949.
Following the Referendum that took us into the EEC in 1975, Edward Heath said: “The community that we are joining is far more than a common market. It is a community in the true sense of the term. It is concerned not only with the establishment of free trade, economic and monetary union and other major economic issues – important though these are – but also, as the Paris Summit meeting has demonstrated, with social issues which affect us all – environmental questions, working conditions in industry, consumer protection, aid to development areas and vocational training. It is, in brief, concerned with improving the quality of life of the peoples of Europe.”
The institution has gone through various changes from as it was when the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC – Common Market) to the present supra-national organisation of today, the European Union. As one of the most influential member states, the UK has been centrally involved in shaping the EU over the last 40+ years.