Content

3 The European Union in:

Angelika C. Dankert

Europe under Pressure, page 5 - 10

The Development of the European Union under the Influence of the Arab Spring, the Refugee Crisis and the Global Threat of Terrorism

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-3971-7, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6688-1, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828866881-5

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Rechtswissenschaften, vol. 93

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
The European Union Etymological Origin Apart from the myth about the Phoenician princess ‘Europa’ abducted by Zeus and eponym of today’s continent, the idea of a separated Europe did not evolve before the development of national identities. Before the Reformation, Europe was solely used as geographical term. A new awareness of Europe developed through the confrontation with the non-Christian world. Since the discovery of Asia in the 18th century and the awareness of cultural differences, the term was used to describe a demarcation from Asian cultures, languages and religions. There was growing urge for an external separation, whereby the term itself developed ex negativo, not describing Europe’s affiliation but clearly defining what was not associated with it (Herz/Jetzsperger, 2008). Historical Background Europe’s nations desired enduring peace after two perennially lasting World Wars within just the first half of the 20th century. In 1950, Europe was still struggling to overcome the devastation of World War II, which had ended in 1945. Dramatic political shifts, namely the strategic west-expansion of the Soviet Union, gave rise to a new level of mutual suspicion between the two blocks of the ‘communistic East’ and the ‘capitalist West,’ resulting in a period known as Cold War, which then dominated the continent for the following decades. In order not to be subjected to the arbitrariness of Soviet power, Western Europe understood the urgency of ‘European integration’ (see Glossary) (Homewood, 2014). In the ‘Schuman Declaration,’ drafted by Jean Monnet (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015), the French foreign prime minister Robert Schuman proposed on 9 May 1950 to place the Franco-German production of coal and steel under a common High Authority of an organization open to the participation of other European countries (Schuman, 1950). This ‘sectoral integration’ (see Glossary) (Homewood, 2014) should be the base for lasting preservation of peace, as by pooling the industries ‘on cooperation with shared institutions controlling war key resources’ (Glencross, 2014: 51), a conflict should ‘not [be] merely unthinkable, but materially impossible’ (Schuman, 1950). Believing in unity, the Schuman Plan was the factual basis for the establishment of the ‘European Coal and Steel Community,’ set up in 1951 by the ‘Treaty of Paris’ and signed by the six founding members France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium. The ECSC Treaty defined the creation of an internal or common market regulated by four institutions including a High Authority endowed 3 3.1 3.2 5 with decision-making power (Homewood, 2014). Reflecting Schuman’s vision, the integration should maintain peace, help to improve the living standard of workers in the coal and steel industry and increase stability. Further goals were defined, such as the development of the African continent and the promotion of peaceful achievements (Schuman, 1950). Further Development of the Union Starting with a sectoral integration by signing the Treaty of Paris or ‘ECSC Treaty’ in 1951, the EU developed to a ‘European Economic Community’ (1957) (Kenealy/ Peterson, 2015) with the Treaties of Rome, referring to the ‘EEC and Euratom Treaty,’ incorporating a common external customs tariff for goods entering the EU and free movement of goods (Homewood, 2014). The Single European Act of 1986 was set up to remove the last remaining physical and technical barriers to trade (Staab, 2011) and restrictions on free competition until 1992 in the ‘1993 Objective’ to complete the ‘internal market’ (see Glossary) (Homewood, 2014). The Treaty of Maastricht, which is also referred to as ‘Treaty on European Union’ (acronym: TEU), actually created the EU (Hummer, 2010), as it was ‘more than just an amending Treaty,’ but the Union’s economic integration (Homewood, 2014: 5) making the ‘principle of subsidiarity’ (see Glossary) more visible (Laursen, 2012) (see Annex A: Treaty of Maastricht). The ‘European Community’ was renamed to ‘European Union,’ ‘reflecting the closer nature of member state’s relationship with one another’ (Staab, 2011: 21) and the lack of democratic credibility was complemented by numerous institutional innovations (Staab, 2011). The Treaty came into force in 1993 and changed the existing three-pillar structure (see Annex B: Three-Pillar Structure of the Union). The Treaty gave European citizens uniform rights and citizenship values (Staab, 2011). The TEU expanded the scope of European integration (Laursen, 2012) and underlined the strong relationship between Europe and its citizens by conferring free movement rights across the Union based on granted European citizenship to the member state’s citizens in addition to national citizenship (Article 9 S. 2+3 TEU). EUcitizens got freedom to move, work and study anywhere in the internal market, which defines an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured (Article 26 (2) TFEU). The Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 strengthened EU citizens’ rights even more, as the Union confirmed its devotion to democracy, freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of law (Schmidt, 2002). However, the Amsterdam Agenda was already partially pre-defined by choices made in Maastricht. Therefore, it is rather a consequence than a development and has to be seen as extension of Maastricht (Vanhoonacker, 2012). Asylum and immigration policy were shifted from an intergovernmental to a supranational level under the Treaty of Amsterdam, whereby this policy area was removed from the field of security policy (Naßmacher, 2013). In 2003, the Treaty of Nice entered into force, primarily designed to cope with the institutional 3.3 3 The European Union 6 impact of a historical enlargement (Sbraiga, 2012) by the accession of new member states (Homewood, 2014). The European political integration was reached in 2007 with the Treaty of Lisbon, renaming ‘Community’ to ‘Union’ and using the TEU and the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (acronym: TFEU), including the Protocols and the ‘Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU’ (adopted in 2007) (see Glossary), having the same legal value as the Treaties (Article 6 (1) TEU), as primary source of EU law, which was acknowledged in 2009 and written down in the Preamble. In total, EU law consists of primary law, secondary law including legislative acts (regulations (Article 288 para. 2 TFEU), directives (Article 288 para. 3 TFEU), decisions (Article 288 para. 4 TFEU) and recommendations (Article 288 para. 5 TFEU)) and non-legislative acts (Article 290 TFEU) as well as tertiary law, in fact the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. There is no EU constitution, but EU primary law is seen as ‘quasi constitution,’ since it is based on the rule of law. The member states voluntarily and democratically approve all actions and confer competences to the EU as ‘Master of the Treaties’ (Herdegen, 2015), determining the legal framework for EU institutions, empowered then to pass secondary law (Homewood, 2014). The Union’s competences are limited, based on the ‘principle of conferral’ (Article 5 (1+2) TEU) (see Glossary). The use of transferred competences is governed by the principle of subsidiarity and the ‘principle of proportionality’ (see Glossary). Process of Enlargement Pursuing the idea that national states join the community in the process of ‘enlargement’ (see Glossary), which was already suggested by Schuman in 1950, the Union follows several principles for imposing requirements on candidate countries before the accession treaty is signed (Homewood, 2014). In 1993, the Copenhagen European Council defined the accession criteria, known as ‘Copenhagen Criteria’ (see Glossary), which any country wishing to become a member state of the Union must meet for admission: political and economic criteria as well as the implementation of the acquis (European Commission, 2016 a). Thereinafter, a potential candidate country must guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities and a functioning market economy (Eur-Lex, 2016). The Copenhagen Criteria are used to double-check the country’s potential to become a member state of the EU. As conditional the accession country also has to accept and integrate the ‘acquis communautaire’ (see Glossary) in national law before the accession treaty is signed (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015). The term refers to the total set of obligations and rights that emerged and have been passed in the European legislation process since 1951, including for example Treaties, EU legislation and case law developed by the Court of Justice in national legislation (Staab, 2011). 3.4 3.4 Process of Enlargement 7 Institutions of the European Union The European Council is located in Brussels (European Union, 2014), defining the political direction and priorities (Article 15 (1) S. 1 TEU) as major policy-making organ (Lelieveldt/Princen, 2011). Its members are the 28 head of member states, the president of the European Council and the president of the European Commission (Article 15 (2) S. 1 TEU). The president of the European Council is representing the Union externally (Article 15 (6) (d) S. 2 TEU). The Council of Ministers represents the Union at European level (Lelieveldt/Princen, 2011), but does not exercise legislative functions (Article 15 (1) S. 2 TEU). The leaders define further steps for EU development in consensus when meeting on the summit twice every six months (European Union, 2014). The European Parliament is seated in Strasbourg, although it works from Brussels and Luxembourg, too. The 751 Members of Parliament are directly elected by the citizens of all 28 member states (Article 14 (2) S. 1+2 TEU), whereby the seats are allocated according to their share of EU population (European Union, 2014). The Parliament is the only EU-institution directly elected, and as multinational parliament with significant powers it is unique in the world (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015). The institution exercises legislative and annual EU-budgetary functions jointly with the Council and influences EU-spending (Article 14 S. 1 TEU). The Parliament’s approval is needed to appoint a new Commission, and the president of the Commission is elected by the Parliament (Article 14 (1) S. 3 TEU). Tasks are, inter alia, to examine citizens’ petitions and to monitor the Council’s work as ‘voice of the people’ through direct representation of EU citizens (Article 10 (2) TEU) (European Union, 2014). The Council was developed as primary European decision-making body (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015), working from Brussels and Luxembourg (European Union, 2014), and shares legislative power and annual EU-budget planning with the European Parliament (Article 16 (1) S. 1 TEU). The institution represents the member states on a ministerial level consisting of officials, each representing an EU member state (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015). The Council is responsible for policy coordination of member states, defining and developing the common foreign and security policy further, as well as for concluding international agreements with non-EU countries and organizations (European Union, 2014). The European Commission is a politically independent institution devoted exclusively towards the interests of the EU (Article 17 (1) S. 1 TEU). The 28 Commissioners, one from each member state, with independence beyond doubt (Article 17 (3) S. 2 TEU), work in Brussels (European Union, 2014) and are supposed to do their work independently (Article 17 (3) S. 3 TEU). The Commission, as ‘Engine of the Union,’ has the exclusive right to propose legislation to the Parliament and the Council to decide on and to enforce EU law as ‘Guardian of the Treaties’ jointly with the Court of Justice of the European Union (Lelieveldt/Princen, 2011). Supervision and implementation of policies are also part of the Commission’s task (European Union, 2014). The institution represents the Union’s general interests, which is referred to as 3.5 3 The European Union 8 ‘Watchdog Function’ (Glencross, 2014: 99), while also managing and negotiating international trade and cooperation agreements (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015). The Court of Justice of the European Union is located in Luxembourg (European Union, 2014) and consists of 28 judges, one from each member state (Article 19 (2) S. 1 TEU). Assisted by eleven Advocates General (Article 19 (2) S. 2 TEU + Article 252 S. 1 TFEU with effect from 7 October 2015), the Court is responsible for ensuring the correct interpretation and application of EU legislation across the member states (Article 19 (1) S. 2 TEU). The Union’s judicial branch’s judges enjoy full independence in order to carry out their work properly (Lelieveldt/Princen, 2011). The legal institution includes the Court of Justice, which deals with preliminary rulings, the General Court ruling on inter alia actions for annulment and the Civil Service Tribunal, a specialized court dealing with disputes arising between civil servants and the EU (Lelieveldt/Princen, 2011). Besides setting diverse tasks, the areas of jurisdiction forming the core of the European Court’s activities are reviewing the legality of acts, establishing infringements ((1) Article 258, 259 + 260 TFEU + Article 4 (3), 17 (1) S. 2+3 TEU (against a member state); (2) Article 263 + 265 TFEU (against an EU institution: annulment and failure to act)) and giving preliminary rulings (Article 19 (3) (b) TEU + 267 TFEU). The European Central Bank is based in Frankfurt, managing the monetary policy and the Euro within the Euro area (European Union, 2014). It is modeled on the independent German Bundesbank and responsible for formulating the Union’s monetary policy and setting interest rates (Kenealy/Peterson, 2015). Members are the central banks within the Euro area, neglecting e.g. Sweden and Denmark, as not all member states adopted the Euro as cash currency. The ECB’s task is to maintain monetary stability by ensuring stable and low consumer price inflation. The institution decides independently, without taking instructions from governments or other bodies (European Union, 2014). The European Court of Auditors, located in Luxembourg, is responsible for checking the correct use and application of EU funds and for improving the financial management of the EU. The 28 members, one from each member state, review the regularity of EU income and expenditure in order to keep the Union efficient and effective (European Union, 2014). 3.5 Institutions of the European Union 9

Chapter Preview

References

Abstract

The past years were characterized by a massive influx of migrants crossing the Union’s external borders seeking asylum. Illegal migration, exploitation of social welfare systems, foreign infiltration and the instrumentalization of religion condensed in terror attacks determine today’s changed attitude towards foreigners, refugees and migrants and therefore strongly impact the current European political agenda.

Angelika C. Dankert describes the development of the EU and provides information on events that led to the creation and the spill-over of the Arab Spring. Roots and origin of Jihadist ideology as well as goals of religiously motivated terrorism are illustrated and European standards on morals and values are critically questioned. Through investigation of current matters in the field of law, security and interculturality, this book reveals the biggest geopolitical challenge of the 21st century.