APP Users: If unable to download, please re-install our APP.
Only logged in User can create notes
Only logged in User can create notes

General Studies 2 >> International Organisations

audio may take few seconds to load



1. Context
Around 373 million citizens across the 27 member states of the European Union are eligible to vote on June 6-9 in elections to the European Parliament, which is the only directly elected body of the EU
2. What is the European Union (EU)?
  • The European Parliament (EP) represents the citizens of EU member states. Its main roles include negotiating EU laws with member state governments, which are represented by the European Council.

  • The EP also has the authority to approve the EU budget, vote on international agreements, and decide on the enlargement of the bloc. Additionally, it can approve or reject the appointment of the European Commission president — currently Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen — and the commissioners.

  • Unlike national parliaments, the EP does not have the right to propose laws; it can only negotiate those proposed by the executive European Commission.

  • The EP consists of 720 Members (MEPs) who are elected every five years. These MEPs then elect their president for a term of two and a half years.

  • In 21 member states, individuals aged 18 and above can vote.

  • Citizens living in another EU country can choose to vote for candidates either from their home country or from their country of residence.

  • In some member states, voters can only choose closed lists where they cannot change the order of preferred candidates, while in others, they can select individual candidates in a preferential system.

  • All candidates must be EU citizens. Depending on the country, voters may choose from individual candidates or political parties’ delegates. Once elected, politicians from each nation join the European groups in the Parliament based on their political orientations. Elected individuals cannot hold positions in national governments or other political bodies such as the EU Commission

What are the member countries of the EU?
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
3. History of EU

1945-1957: Post-War Integration Efforts

  • 1945: After the devastation of World War II, European countries seek to ensure lasting peace and economic stability.
  • 1951: The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) is established by the Treaty of Paris, signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. This organization aims to integrate the coal and steel industries of member countries, making war between them "materially impossible."

1957: The Treaties of Rome

  • 1957: The Treaties of Rome are signed, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The EEC aims to create a common market and a customs union among its members

960s-1980s: Growth and Challenges

  • 1973: The first enlargement of the EEC occurs, with Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom joining the Community.
  • 1981: Greece becomes a member, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986.
  • 1986: The Single European Act is signed, aiming to create a single market by 1992, ensuring the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people.

1990s: Political and Economic Union

  • 1992: The Maastricht Treaty is signed, formally establishing the European Union. The treaty introduces new forms of cooperation between governments, such as a common foreign and security policy, and lays the foundation for economic and monetary union, including the creation of a single currency.
  • 1995: Austria, Finland, and Sweden join the EU.
  • 1999: The euro is introduced as the single currency for 11 EU countries, with physical currency (banknotes and coins) entering circulation in 2002.

2000s: Major Enlargement and Institutional Reforms

  • 2004: The EU undergoes its largest expansion, with ten new countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) joining.
  • 2007: Bulgaria and Romania join the EU.
  • 2009: The Lisbon Treaty comes into force, reforming the EU's institutional structure and increasing its powers in areas such as justice, security, and foreign policy

2010s: Economic Crises and Brexit

  • 2010: The eurozone faces a significant debt crisis, prompting reforms and financial support mechanisms to stabilize the economies of member states.
  • 2013: Croatia becomes the EU's 28th member state.
  • 2016: The United Kingdom votes to leave the EU in a referendum, leading to Brexit.
  • 2020: The UK officially leaves the EU on January 31, 2020
4. What is the European Council?
The European Council is one of the principal institutions of the European Union (EU), playing a crucial role in shaping the EU's overall political direction and priorities.
Here are the key aspects of the European Council:
  • The European Council comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also participates
  • The European Council meets at least four times a year, usually in Brussels, Belgium. Additionally, extraordinary meetings can be convened to address urgent issues
  • The European Council sets the EU's general political agenda and provides strategic leadership on key issues facing the EU. While it does not legislate or adopt laws, its decisions and recommendations guide the work of other EU institutions
  • The European Council operates on the basis of consensus, with decisions typically reached through discussions and negotiations among its members. However, unanimity is not always required for certain decisions, particularly in areas where EU treaties allow for qualified majority voting
5. What are the areas of cooperation between India and EU?

India and the European Union (EU) engage in cooperation across various sectors, reflecting their shared interests and objectives.

Some of the key areas of cooperation between India and the EU include:

  • Trade and Investment: Both India and the EU are major trading partners. Efforts are underway to enhance bilateral trade relations through negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement known as the EU-India Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). Additionally, initiatives aim to promote investment flows between India and the EU.

  • Political Dialogue and Strategic Partnership: India and the EU engage in regular political dialogues to discuss regional and global issues of mutual concern, including security, counter-terrorism, climate change, and sustainable development. They have established a strategic partnership framework to deepen cooperation in these areas.

  • Research and Innovation: Collaboration in research and innovation is a growing area of cooperation between India and the EU. Joint research projects, technology partnerships, and academic exchanges are promoted to address common challenges and foster technological innovation.

  • Education and Culture: India and the EU cooperate in the fields of education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. Programs such as Erasmus+ facilitate student and academic mobility between India and EU member states, while cultural events and initiatives promote mutual understanding and appreciation.

  • Energy and Climate Change: India and the EU collaborate on energy security, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation efforts. Dialogues and partnerships focus on promoting clean energy technologies, sustainable development, and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

  • Security and Counter-Terrorism: Cooperation in security and counter-terrorism is a priority for India and the EU. They exchange information, share best practices, and coordinate efforts to combat terrorism, cyber threats, and other transnational security challenges.

  • Migration and Mobility: India and the EU engage in dialogue on migration and mobility issues, including legal migration, visa facilitation, and irregular migration management. Cooperation aims to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration flows while addressing challenges related to migration governance.

  • Healthcare and Public Health: Collaboration in healthcare and public health is increasingly important, especially in areas such as pandemic preparedness, disease surveillance, and healthcare infrastructure development. India and the EU work together to strengthen health systems and respond to global health challenges.

For Prelims:  Current events of national and international importance
For Mains: GS-II:GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Previous Year Questions
1.Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2023)

The ‘Stability and Growth Pact’ of the European Union is a treaty that

1. limits the levels of the budgetary deficit of the countries of the European Union

2. makes the countries of the European Union to share their infrastructure facilitie

3. enables the countries of the European Union to share their technologie

How many of the above statements are correct

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

 Answer (a)
Source: Indianexpress

Share to Social