European Union

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According to Europa (the European Union Online), the official web site of the European Union, the EU is "a family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity. It is not a State intended to replace existing states, but it is more than any other international organisation. The EU is, in fact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level." [1]

About the EU

See: About the EU and Europe Direct.

"The rule of law is fundamental to the European Union. All EU decisions and procedures are based on the Treaties, which are agreed by all the EU countries.

Early countries

"Initially, the EU consisted of just six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973, Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986, Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995.

In 2004, ten new countries

"In 2004 the biggest ever enlargement takes place with 10 new countries joining."

Since 2004

Applicant states

Non-Member/Other European States


"The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. The idea of European integration was conceived to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again. It was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in a speech on 9 May 1950. This date, the 'birthday' of what is now the EU, is celebrated annually as Europe Day."[2]

EU Institutions

Also see: EU Institutions.

International trade

Ban on hormone treated farm animals & U.S./Canadian imports

Since 1995, the European Union has prohibited the treatment of any farm animals with sex hormones, which includes a ban on hormone treated meat from the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. asserts that that hormone-treated meat is safe because "sex hormones only promote human cancers in hormone-sensitive tissues, such as the female breast and uterus". According to the U.S. there is a "threshold" for acceptable levels of hormones and that U.S. agriculture is well regulated so as not to exceed acceptable levels. [1] However, according to a 136 page report compiled by an EU scientific committee, [2] hormones are carcenogenic due to interference with DNA. Therefore, there is no safe threshold (except zero). [3]

EU also tested 258 meat sample from the "Hormone Free Cattle program" run by the U.S. beef industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); whose purpose it is to produce beef which meets European requirements. The test revealed that 12% of hormone free cattle had been treated with sex hormones. EU cites this as evidence that growth hormones are poorly regulated the U.S. According to the E.U.:

"Where scientific evidence is not black and white, policy should err on the side of caution so that there is zero risk to the consumer."[4], [5], [6]. See also meat & dairy industry, section 4.

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Peter Montague The Bad Seed, Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly, #666, September 1999
  2. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health; Assessment of Potential Risks to Human Health from Hormone Residues in Bovine Meat and Meat Products, European Commission, April 1999
  3. Michael Balter Scientific Cross-Claims Fly in Continuing Beef War, Science, May 1999, Vol 284, pgs. 1453-1455
  4. Alex Scott Europe's Beef Ban Tests Precautionary Principle, Chemical Week, August 1999
  5. Peter Montague The Bad Seed, Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly, #666, September 1999
  6. Lynn Truong The Cost of Meat—The Public Health Argument, Wisebread, May 2007

External links

General information

Articles & Commentary

  • "European Union Stands Up to American Corporations," Pravda, May 10, 2003.
  • "EU Expansion Could Fan Drugs Problem, Report Says," Reuters, October 22, 2003: "The European Union's drug monitoring agency said in a report that the accession of the 10 mainly east European and former-Communist countries raised the prospect of increased drug trafficking and spread of infectious diseases."
  • "Four countries set to breach EU deficit limit", AFP, October 29, 2003: "France, Germany and Portugal are set next year to breach a euro-zone deficit limit, the European Commission warned in its autumn economic report. ... Italy could join the trio in the budgetary doghouse in 2005 unless it changes course, the European Union's executive arm warned in the six-monthly report."
  • Richard Bernstein, "Europe's Vision of Unity Meets Headwinds," New York Times, December 4, 2003: "...the recent reality of the union has been a series of crises and disagreements that have led some analysts to wonder if it can work at all with so many members of such different sizes and interests."
  • Stephen Castle, "EU plans charter flights to speed up deportations," Independent/UK, January 24, 2004: "Charter flights are to be used to repatriate failed asylum-seekers and other illegal immigrants under a new â?¬30m (£20m) initiative announced by EU ministers. ... A new European agency for border control will co-ordinate returns by EU member states in an effort to help stem the rising numbers of economic migrants crossing borders. ... While control of the repatriation policy will remain with national governments, the agency will arrange charter flights if groups of countries have sufficient numbers of people to return to make economic sense."
  • Sara Mesa Despite Initial Resistance, the EU Searches for a Way to Ban Dog and Cat Fur, Humane Society International, July 2005