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TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Pros and Cons of Investing in this Region

Pros

- A very stable political system

- Very advanced infrastructure


Cons

- Slow industrial growth (except for some Eastern countries)

- Demographic shrinking in most EU - Countries

Countries of the EU

The European Union consists of 27 independent countries

Country GDP in millions of USD[1]
Germany [[2]] 3,667,513
France [[3]] 2,865,737
United Kingdom [[4]] 2,674,085
Italy [[5]] 2,313,893
Spain [[6]] 1,611,767
Netherlands [[7]] 868,940
Poland [[8]] 525,735
Belgium [[9]] 506,392
Sweden [[10]] 484,550
Austria [[11]] 415,321
Greece [[12]] 357,549
Denmark [[13]] 342,925
Finland [[14]] 273,980
Ireland [[15]] 273,328
Portugal [[16]] 244,492
Czech Republic [[17]] 217,077
Romania [[18]] 199,673
Hungary [[19]] 156,284
Slovakia [[20]] 95,404
Luxembourg [[21]] 54,973
Slovenia [[22]] 54,639
Bulgaria [[23]] 51,989
Lithuania [[24]] 47,304
Latvia [[25]] 34,054
Cyprus [[26]] 24,943
Estonia [[27]] 23,232
Malta [[28]] 8,338


The European Union - An Overview

The European Union is an economic and, increasingly, political alliance, currently comprised of 27 independent states, and therefore the Union cannot be subsumed as a country. According to the International Monetary fund the European Union is the largest domestic market with a GDP of 18,394,115 millions of USD. However, the economic importance of this structure cannot only be understood by stating numbers, in order to understand the importance of this union for Europe, as well as the world, one has to look at its historical, as well as political structure.

History in a nutshell

After the Second World War, rather than destroying the German economy, as the Allied Powers had done after the Great War, it was decided that if the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles were to be repeated, there would be another war in Europe within the next twenty to thirty years. So instead a policy of conciliation and integration was promoted, which would unite the war important industrial sectors in Europe, thereby creating an effective hindrance for future conflicts within the Middle- & West European powers. Starting in 1951 the European Coal and Steel Community consisting of France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany was founded. From there on several other Unions were founded; i.e. Euratom, the European Economic Community, as well as many others. At the same time the cooperation in Communities also grew in size in terms of member nations. On November 1st, 1993 the European Union as known today was established through the Treaty of Maastricht.

The European Union’s structure in short

The European Union is made up of three so called pillars.

- First Pillar: The former European Economic Community, now called European Union, as well as Euratom; the most important pillar of the three if one wants to understand the economic makeup of the Union.

- Second Pillar: A common Foreign and Security Policy.

- Third Pillar: Police and Justice Co-operation in criminal matters

As stated above, the first pillar consisting of the European Union is the most important part to understand the European market. It is a cooperation in the following areas: agricultural policy, tariff union & domestic market, adjustment policy, trade policy, economic - & monetary union, education and culture, research & ecological policy, health policy, consumer protection & welfare policy. Euratom is responsible for the cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Four Economic Freedoms in the European Union

The Four Freedoms is a common term for several treaty provisions, secondary legislations and court decisions that protect the free movement of goods, capital, services, people and labor within the European Union. These freedoms are:

- freedom of movement of goods

- freedom of movement of capital

- freedom of movement of services

- freedom of movement of persons


These freedoms are applicable not only for citizens of the European Union, but also for legal entities.

[I will further elaborate on this over the course of the next few weeks.]

References

  1. [1]

Companies in the European Union Industry (0)

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