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European Union Research

Guide to the online resources of the European Union

What is the European Union?

Originally created in the early 1950's as the six member European Coal and Steel Community, the European Union has evolved into a twenty-eight member state democratic institution which plays a critical role in the daily life of almost five hundred million Europeans. The main goals of the European Union are:

  • To provide peace, prosperity and stability for its peoples;
  • To overcome the divisions on the continent;
  • To ensure that its people can live in safety;
  • To promote balanced economic and social development;
  • To meet the challenges of globalisation and preserve the diversity of the peoples of Europe;
  • To uphold the values that Europeans share, such as sustainable development and a sound environment, respect for human rights and the social market economy.

Structure of the European Union

The European Union has several major institutions, each with specific roles and responsibilities.These institutions work co-operatively with each other to set policy, enact legislation, and oversee the administration of European Union Law. These institutions are: the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Parliament.

European Union on the Internet