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Bulgaria holds 17 seats in the European Parliament and will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in Bulgaria is not a member country of the Schengen Area. Croatians comprise 0. Its capital is Zagreb and the official language in Croatia is Croatian. Croatia holds 11 seats in the European Parliament and will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in the first half of Croatia is not a member country of the Schengen Area. Cypriots comprise 0. Its capital is Nicosia and the official language in Cyprus is Greek.

Cyprus holds 6 seats in the European Parliament and has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once in Cyprus is not a member country of the Schengen Area. Czechs comprise 2. Its capital is Prague and the official language is Czech. The Danish comprise 1. Its capital is Copenhagen and the official language in Denmark is Danish. Denmark holds 13 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 7 times between and Denmark is a member country of the Schengen Area since March 25, The Estonians comprise 0.

An Answer to the Shortcomings of EU Foreign Policy?

Its capital is Tallinn and the official language is Estonian. Estonia holds 6 seats in the European Parliament and will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in the first half of Estonia is a member country of the Schengen Area since December 21, The Finnish comprise 1.

Its capital is Helsinki and the official languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Finland holds 13 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU twice, in and Finland is a member country of the Schengen Area since March 25, The French comprise Its capital is Paris and the official language is French. France holds 74 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 13 times between and France is a member country of the Schengen Area since March 26, Its capital is Berlin and the official language is German.

Germany holds 96 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 11 times between and Germany is a member country of the Schengen Area since March 26, Greeks comprise 2. Its capital is Athens and the official language is Greek. Greece holds 21 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 5 times between and Greece is a member country of the Schengen Area since January 1, Hungarians comprise 1.

Its capital is Budapest and the official language is Hungarian. Hungary holds 21 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once in Hungary is a member country of the Schengen Area since December21, The Irish comprise 0. Its capital is Dublin and the official languages in Ireland are Irish and English. Ireland holds 11 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 7 times between and Ireland is not a member country of the Schengen Area. Its capital is Rome and the official language in Italy is Italian.

Italy holds 73 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 12 times between and Eight of these, plus Cyprus and Malta, joined in a major enlargement on 1 May symbolising the unification of Eastern and Western Europe in the EU. The EU has prioritised membership for the rest of the Western Balkans.

The European Union and Countries in the EU

Albania , North Macedonia , Montenegro , Serbia , and Turkey are all formally acknowledged as candidates, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidates. Each state has representation in the institutions of the European Union. Full membership gives the government of a member state a seat in the Council of the European Union and European Council. When decisions are not being taken by consensus , votes are weighted so that a country with a greater population has more votes within the Council than a smaller country though the number of votes in relation to population is weighted disproportionately in favour of smaller member states.

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among each of the member states, allowing each state six months to help direct the agenda of the EU. Similarly, each state is assigned seats in Parliament according to their population again, with the smaller countries receiving more seats per inhabitant than the larger ones. The members of the European Parliament have been elected by universal suffrage since before that, they were seconded from national parliaments.

The national governments appoint one member each to the European Commission in accord with its president , the European Court of Justice in accord with other members and the European Court of Auditors. Historically, larger member states were granted an extra Commissioner. However, as the body grew, this right has been removed and each state is represented equally.


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The six largest states are also granted an Advocates General in the Court of Justice. Finally, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank includes the governors of the national central banks who may or may not be government appointed of each euro area country. The larger states traditionally carry more weight in negotiations, however smaller states can be effective impartial mediators and citizens of smaller states are often appointed to sensitive top posts to avoid competition between the larger states. This, together with the disproportionate representation of the smaller states in terms of votes and seats in parliament, gives the smaller EU states a greater clout than normally attributed to a state of their size.

However most negotiations are still dominated by the larger states.

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This has traditionally been largely through the " Franco-German motor" but Franco-German influence has diminished slightly following the influx of new members in see G6. While the member states are sovereign, the union partially follows a supranational system that is comparable to federalism. Previously limited to European Community matters, the practice, known as the " community method ", is currently used in most areas of policy. Combined sovereignty is delegated by each member to the institutions in return for representation within those institutions.

This practice is often referred to as "pooling of sovereignty".

World Report European Union | Human Rights Watch

Those institutions are then empowered to make laws and execute them at a European level. If a state fails to comply with the law of the European Union , it may be fined or have funds withdrawn. In contrast to other organisations, the EU's style of integration has "become a highly developed system for mutual interference in each other's domestic affairs".

Very early on in the history of the EU, the unique state of its establishment and pooling of sovereignty was emphasised by the Court of Justice: [45].

By creating a Community of unlimited duration, having its own institutions, its own personality, its own legal capacity and capacity of representation on the international plane and, more particularly, real powers stemming from a limitation of sovereignty or a transfer of powers from the States to Community, the Member States have limited their sovereign rights and have thus created a body of law which binds both their nationals and themselves The transfer by the States from their domestic legal system to the Community legal system of the rights and obligations arising under the Treaty carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights.

The question of whether EU law is superior to national law is subject to some debate. The treaties do not give a judgement on the matter but court judgements have established EU's law superiority over national law and it is affirmed in a declaration attached to the Treaty of Lisbon the European Constitution would have fully enshrined this.

How did the vote break down?

Some national legal systems also explicitly accept the Court of Justice's interpretation, such as France and Italy, however in Poland it does not override the national constitution , which it does in Germany. Every area not mentioned remains with member states. As a result of the European sovereign debt crisis , some eurozone states required a bailout from their fellow members via the European Financial Stability Facility and European Financial Stability Mechanism to be replaced by the European Stability Mechanism from , but this came with conditions.

As a result of the Greek government-debt crisis , Greece accepted a large austerity plan including privatisations and a sell off of state assets in exchange for their bailout. To ensure that Greece complies with the conditions set by the European troika ECB, IMF, Commission , a "large-scale technical assistance" from the European Commission and other member states has been deployed to Greek government ministries. EU integration is not always symmetrical, with some states proceeding with integration ahead of hold-outs.

This comes in two forms; a faster integrated core where some states forge ahead with a new project, and opt-outs where a few states are excused from normal integration. The notion of multi-speed integration is anathema to some, including President Juncker, who see it as divisive to the European project and others, such as the less-integrated states, who feel they would be left behind.

The European Union Explained*

It is however supported by others, such as President Macron, to move forward in integration faster. There are several different forms closer integration both within and outside the EU's normal framework.


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  • The main mechanism is enhanced cooperation where nine or more states can use EU structures progress in a field that not all states are willing to partake in. One example of this is the European Public Prosecutor. Other projects, such as the European Fiscal Compact , operate between EU members but as a separate intergovernmental treaty outside of the official EU structures. A number of states are less integrated into the EU than others. In most cases this is because those states have gained an opt-out from a certain policy area. The most notable is the opt-out from the Economic and Monetary Union , the adoption of the euro as sole legal currency.

    Most states outside the Eurozone are obliged to adopt the euro when they are ready, but Denmark and the United Kingdom have obtained the right to retain their own independent currencies. Ireland and the United Kingdom also do not participate in the Schengen Agreement , which eliminates internal EU border checks. There are a number of overseas member state territories which are legally part of the EU, but have certain exemptions based on their remoteness.

    Entry to the EU is limited to liberal democracies and Freedom House ranks all EU states as being totally free electoral democracies. Half of member states—14 out of 28—are parliamentary republics , while seven states are constitutional monarchies , meaning they have a monarch although political powers are exercised by elected politicians. Most republics and all the monarchies operate a parliamentary system whereby the head of state president or monarch has a largely ceremonial role with reserve powers.

    That means most power is in the hands of what is called in most of those countries the prime minister, who is accountable to the national parliament. Of the remaining republics, five operate a semi-presidential system , where competencies are shared between the president and prime minister, while one republic operates a presidential system , where the president is head of state and government.

    The EU is divided between unicameral single chamber and bicameral dual chamber parliaments, with 15 unicameral national parliaments and 13 bicameral parliaments. The prime minister and government are usually directly accountable to the directly elected lower house and require its support to stay in office—the exception being Cyprus with its presidential system. Upper houses are composed differently in different member states: it can be directly elected like the Polish senate , indirectly elected, for example, by regional legislatures like the Federal Council of Austria , unelected, but representing certain interest groups like the National Council of Slovenia , unelected though by and large appointed by elected officials as a remnant of a non-democratic political system in earlier times as in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.

    Most though not all elections in the EU use some form of proportional representation. The most common type of proportional representation is the party-list system. There are also differences in the level of self-governance for the sub-regions of a member state.