The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries who trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict. The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.
Law-makingThere are 3 main institutions involved in EU legislation:
- the European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them;
- the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries. The Presidency of the Council is shared by the member states on a rotating basis.
- the European Commission, which represents the interests of the Union as a whole.
Other EU institutionsTwo other institutions play vital roles:
- the Court of Justice upholds the rule of European law
- the Court of Auditors checks the financing of the EU's activities.