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FAQ

What is the purpose of the EU?

A description of the purpose of the EU is likely to be coloured by whether the person offering the description has a positive or negative view of the EU. Hence, in order to keep things neutral, the information given here is a simple presentation of the terms of the Treaties on which it is based relating to the purpose of the EU. 

The objectives of the EU are defined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in Article 2 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).

Article 2 – The Treaty on European Union

 The Union shall set itself the following objectives:

  • to promote economic and social progress and a high level of employment and to achieve balanced and sustainable development, in particular through the creation of an area without internal frontiers, through the strengthening of economic and social cohesion and through the establishment of economic and monetary union, ultimately including a single currency in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty,
  • to assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence, in accordance with the provisions of Article 17,
  • to strengthen the protection of the rights and interests of the nationals of its Member States through the introduction of a citizenship of the Union ,
  • to maintain and develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice, in which the free movement of persons is assured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime,
  • to maintain in full the acquis communautaire and build on it with a view to considering to what extent the policies and forms of cooperation introduced by this Treaty may need to be revised with the aim of ensuring the effectiveness of the mechanisms and the institutions of the Community.
  • The objectives of the Union shall be achieved as provided in this Treaty and in accordance with the conditions and the timetable set out therein while respecting the principle of subsidiarity as defined in Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.
Article 2 – The Treaty establishing the European Community
 The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and an economic and monetary union and by implementing common policies or activities referred to in Articles 3 and 4, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, equality between men and women, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States.

Remarks on the Articles: 

Non-inflationary growth means that rises in the level of wages and prices must not occur at the expense of a fall in real purchasing power.

Convergence of economic performance means that the EU must endeavour to achieve consistency between the economic performances of the Member States