GP360 European Union Project

Introduction: EU for Americans
The EU for Americans

The European Union. It's an enigma for most
Americans, few of whom know how it differs from the European Economic
Community (which it replaced in 1992). But since the fight in the
United Nations over authorization for the Iraq war, more Americans are
taking Europe seriously. Europe is less inclined to follow America's
lead, and we Americans need to take more notice.

In 2004 and 2005, the Green Institute took a lok at the EU so that it could bring the
facts and debates of Europe and the European Union to Americans. Europe
is neither the social paradise that some make it out to be, nor the
stagnant and appeasing entity that others describe. Without a Soviet
threat to keep it unified and following an American lead, differences
of opinion are going to continue, and we will need to understand not
only their thoughts, but their system. That is why the Green Institute
brings you its European Union pages.

The European Union is a unique entity. Neither a
country of its own nor a solely multilateral institution, it is in a
gray area between the two, with people and countries on both sides as
to what they want it to be. It started as an economic project but its
creators always had political aspirations for it. While the economic
aspect has succeeded to a great degree with a single currency covering
many of its countries, the political aspect has grown more slowly and
continues to be very controversial. The EU is truly a work in progress.

On May 1, the EU will expand from 15 to 25 members.
This enlargement is the biggest in its history. Never have more than
three countries joined at once. While some thought this was risky,
picking and choosing among the mostly Central European countries could
also have been divisive within those countries. The EU started as a
grouping of six countries in the European Coal and Steel Coalition in
1952 and grew from there and a series of treaties. The history of EU
development is one of fits and starts, years of stagnancy followed by
years of fast development.

The new EU will have a population of 450 million and
a GDP of XXX, both considerably larger than the United States. While
unemployment is high in some parts of Europe, its trade is in balance.
The annual budget of the EU is about 100 billion Euros. That is about
1% of the combined GDP of the member countries, and has been level in
recent years.

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