The European Union (EU) faced many challenges during the twentieth and nineteenth centuries. These included globalization, increasing international competitiveness, the dynamic development of information-communication technology, knowledge and innovation growth, and demographic problems. These challenges were managed and the Lisbon Strategy was adopted in 2000.
This strategy was designed to increase the EU’s competitiveness on the global markets while simultaneously preserving the essential social values for European citizens. It was assumed that the EU could become the most dynamic and competitive economy in the world by 2010, based on knowledge, and develop in conditions of sustainable economic development and greater employment.
Europe 2020 is another program for long-term socio-economic growth. Its primary objective is to develop and strengthen the economies of all members. This will be done based on the knowledge that has been recognized as an important factor in determining modern economic competitiveness.
To achieve this goal, it is important to track changes in the development levels of individual countries and to determine common directions for this development. This strategy should be part of the EU’s long-term economic development plan to improve its international competitiveness.
We will cover the aims and values of European Union in greater detail below along with the current priorities and actions. The article structure consists of the following:
- European Union Aims
- European Union Values
- European Union Priorities
- European Union Actions
What are the main goals of European Union?
The Union’s goal is to promote peace, values, and well-being for its citizens. The Union will offer its citizens a space of freedom, security, and justice without any internal borders. This includes ensuring the free movement and protection of criminals and implementing appropriate measures to control external border controls and immigration.
European Union divides its aims in two: European Union goals within the border and outside the border.
EU aims within the border are:
- Promote peace, its values, and the well-being of the citizens
- Offer freedom, security, and justice without internal boundaries, while also taking appropriate steps at its external borders in order to regulate asylum, immigration, and prevent and combat criminality
- Establish an internal market
- Sustainable development is achieved through balanced economic growth, price stability, and a highly competitive marketplace with full employment.
- Protect and improve the environment’s quality
- Encourage scientific and technological advancement
- Combat social exclusion and discrimination
- Promote social justice and protection, equality of women and men, as well as protection of the rights and freedoms of the child
- Boost economic, social, and territorial cohesion among EU countries
- Respect its rich cultural diversity and linguistic diversity
- Establish an economic and monetary union whose currency will be the euro
EU aims outside the border are:
- Promote and uphold its values and interests
- Contribute to peace, security, and sustainable development of the Earth
- Contribute to solidarity and mutual respect between peoples, free trade and fair trading, the eradication and protection of human rights and poverty
- Respect international law strictly
European Union Values
These are the values that have shaped the European Union:
Human dignity is inviolable. It is the basis of all fundamental rights and must be protected.
Citizens have the freedom to freely move within the Union and live there. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights protects individual freedoms like freedom of thought, religion and assembly as well as freedom of expression and information.
Representative democracy is the foundation of the functioning of EU. Every European citizen has the right to exercise their political rights. Each adult EU citizen is entitled to run for office and vote in elections to European Parliament. EU citizens are entitled to run for office and vote in the country where they live or from which they came.
Egality is about equal rights for all citizens, regardless of their status before the law. All European policies are based on the principle of equality between men and women. It is also the foundation for European integration. It is applicable in all areas. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome included the principle of equal pay for equal labor.
The rule of law is the foundation of the EU. All that the EU does is based on the treaties, which were voluntarily and democratically signed by EU member countries. An independent judiciary upholds law and justice. The European Court of Justice was given final jurisdiction by the EU countries. All EU citizens must respect its decisions.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights protects human rights. These rights include the right not to be discriminated on the basis of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. They also protect your privacy and allow you to access justice.
European Union Priorities
Protection of citizens and freedoms
Effective control of EU’s borders, and development of a comprehensive migration policy. Combating terrorism and online/cross-border crime and increasing resilience of the EU to natural and man-made catastrophes.
Building a strong, vibrant economic base
To build a resilient economy, deepen the Economic and Monetary Union in order to better prepare Europe for future shocks. This includes completing the banking and capital market union, strengthening Europe’s international role, investing in education and skills, supporting Europe’s businesses, adopting digital transformation and developing an industrial policy.
Building a climate-neutral and green, fair, and social Europe
Green initiatives that enhance air and water quality, promote sustainable agriculture, and preserve biodiversity and environmental systems. A circular economy is a system where products are made to last longer, be reusable, repaired, recycled, and more energy-efficient. It also creates a functioning EU energy market that supplies affordable, sustainable and secure energy. The EU will be able to transition faster to renewables and improve its energy efficiency while decreasing its dependence on external energy sources. Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Promoting European values and interests on the global stage
A strong foreign policy is built on an ambitious neighbourhood strategy with 16 of the country’s closest eastern and south neighbours, and a partnership with Africa. Promoting peace, stability, democracy, and human rights worldwide. A robust trade policy that is compatible with multilateralism, the global rules-based international system and multilateralism. Assuming greater responsibility for security, defense, and co-operation with NATO.
European Union Actions
These are the three principles that will guide how and where the EU can act.
- conferral – The EU only has the authority granted to it by the EU Treaties, which have all been ratified and ratified by their member countries
- Proportionality – The EU cannot go beyond what is required to reach the goals of the treaties
- Subsidiarity – In areas where neither the EU nor national governments are able to act, the EU can intervene only if the EU can do so more effectively
You can find European Union goals and actions by topic below.
To meet the needs of growing populations and changing food habits, world food production must double by 2050. It is facing the effects of climate change on biodiversity, soil, and water quality and the demands from the global market.
The EU’s farm policy has evolved significantly over the past decade to assist farmers in overcoming these challenges and adapt to changing expectations and attitudes. The EU’s agricultural policy covers many areas including food quality, traceability, and promotion of EU-produced products. The EU finances its farmers, encourages sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices, and invests in rural development.
EU institutions work together on food and agriculture policy-making, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The laws are implemented by the national and local authorities. The EU budget makes funds available to member countries in accordance with EU rules. The EU monitors the effectiveness of laws and coordinates their amendments.
Over 44 million jobs are created in the EU by agriculture and related services. This includes regular employment for 20 million people within its agricultural sector. The EU is a world-leading producer and exporter of agricultural products due to its diverse climate, fertile soil, technical skills of its farmers, and the quality of its products.
Business and Industry
EU policy promotes EU industry and businesses to be more competitive. It also encourages job creation and economic development by creating a business-friendly atmosphere.
Europe’s economic future will be determined by its industrial base. This is not just because of globalization and the increased competition from emerging nations. Innovation and research play a crucial role in the development of technologies and approaches that will ensure Europe’s manufacturing future.
A range of EU programs are available to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and help them access finance and markets. They also support entrepreneurship, internationalization, and growth.
The EU works to eliminate trade barriers and prevent new ones. It promotes a consumer-friendly EU market that is simple, transparent, consistent and friendly to businesses.
The EU’s competition rules are intended to provide fair and equal business conditions, but also allow for innovation, uniform standards and the development small businesses.
The European Commission investigates anti-competition and merger practices and state aid. This is done to ensure that EU businesses have equal opportunities and consumers are afforded fair pricing and choice.
Large companies are prohibited from using their bargaining powers to impose conditions on their customers or suppliers that make it difficult to do business with them. This practice can result in higher prices for customers and/or fewer choices for them, and the Commission can fine them.
The Commission has the power to investigate and stop violations of EU Competition Rules. However, there are many internal checks and balances as well as full judicial review from the European Courts.
In order to encourage and promote best practices, the EU is also a leader in international cooperation in competition. It is a founding member in the International Competition Network (ICN), and partners with national and global bodies to assess potential competition violations.
The EU is committed to preserving Europe’s cultural heritage and supporting the arts and creative industries. This vibrant and diverse culture can be made accessible to all through specific initiatives like the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
Many EU policies include cultural components, such as education, research and social policy. In today’s globalized, interactive world, the creation and promotion culture goes hand in hand with digital and media technologies. The EU encourages cooperation between national governments and international organizations in the area of culture policy.
The EU supports European cinema, art and creative industries through Creative Europe. This allows them to create jobs and grow in Europe, and also opens up new markets, audiences, and markets internationally.
Each year, two European cities are selected as Europe’s Cultural Capitals. This gives local economies an extra boost and spotlights local artists and their unique cultural heritage.
All year round, the EU partners with European film festivals, cultural exhibitions and concerts, conferences, artistic prize and awards.
In 1968, the EU Customs Union was established to make it easier for EU companies and to harmonize customs duties on goods coming from outside the EU. It also helps to protect Europe’s animals, citizens, and the environment.
The Customs Union is in practice the union of the customs authorities from all EU countries. They apply the same tariffs for goods imported to their territory from other countries, and no tariffs internal.
This means that goods being transported between EU countries are exempt from customs duties. As part of its “traditional own resources”, the EU’s total budget, the customs duty on goods imported into it makes up approximately 14%.
The EU’s borders are controlled by customs to ensure that consumers don’t get goods or products that could pose a risk to their health. They protect the environment and animals by stopping illicit trade in endangered species, and by preventing animal and plant diseases.
In the fight against organized crime and terrorists, customs authorities collaborate with policy and immigration officials. They fight trafficking in people, drugs and fake goods and ensure that large cash amounts are not used to launder money, avoid tax, or finance criminal organizations.
EU customs also combat tax and duty fraud by individuals and businesses, which can deprive national governments vital revenue for public spending.
The EU institutions and the EU countries together are the largest global donors of development aid and cooperation. The EU proposes legislation to encourage good governance, human and economic development, as well as fighting hunger and conserving natural resources.
In response to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals the EU institutions collaborate and provide funding for the five following aspects of sustainable development.
- People: End all forms of poverty and hunger and ensure dignity, equality and justice
- Planet: Prevent future generations from resource depletion and environmental destruction
- Prosperity: Live a happy and fulfilled life in harmony with the natural world.
- Peace: Build peaceful, just, and inclusive societies
- Partner: Global partnership to implement development work
The EU has 150 partners in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific. It also collaborates with international civil society organisations and international organizations. The EU provides financial assistance and engages in dialogues with partner nations. It also conducts research to ensure aid is effectively used.
Education, Trainings and Youth
The EU assists Member States in their efforts for the best education and training of their citizens. It promotes multilingualism within Europe by encouraging the teaching and learning languages, encouraging mobility among students, teachers, and young people, as well as facilitating information and experience exchanges.
With the aim of:
- Make lifelong learning and mobility a reality
- Enhance the quality and efficacy of education and training
- Promote equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship
- Enhance creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship
The EU has policies in a variety of sectors to help it achieve the goals set forth in its education and training framework.
Through the EU Youth Strategy, the EU has created a framework to facilitate cooperation between Member States in the area of youth.
The EU provides funding, tools, and resources through the Erasmus+ program to individuals, organizations, and policy reform in areas like:
- Study, training, and development abroad for students, trainees, and educators
- Opportunities abroad for youth workers and young people
- Opportunities for organisations to form partnerships in order to innovate in education, training, and youth
- Knowledge exchange and policy reform to support growth and jobs in Europe
The European Solidarity Corps offers opportunities for young people to volunteer in or help with projects in their country or abroad that will benefit people and communities all over Europe.
The way Europeans live and work continues to be affected by technological advances, globalization and changing demographics. These challenges are being met by the EU’s policies and legislative proposals.
The European Pillar of Social Rights helps the EU to protect citizens’ rights by:
- Equal opportunity and equal access to the labor market
- Fair working conditions
- Inclusion and social protection
EU funding helps public or private organizations implement and improve employment policy and finance projects that support their citizens today and tomorrow.
EU employment legislation guarantees minimum levels of protection for all EU citizens living and working. Specific EU regulations also make it easier for EU citizens to work and live in other EU countries while protecting their social safety rights such as benefits and health insurance.
The EU actively promotes Europe’s transition into a low-carbon society and is updating its rules to facilitate private and public investments in the clean energy transition. This is not only good for the environment, but also for the economy and for consumers.
Low carbon transition is a strategy to promote growth, innovation and jobs while improving quality of living, increasing choice, strengthening consumer rights and ultimately saving household bills.
A coordinated and streamlined EU approach to climate change mitigation will have a real continental impact. To reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and meet the Paris Agreement commitments, it is crucial to promote renewables and increase energy efficiency.
The European energy union is an EU initiative to ensure greater coordination in all areas of policy to achieve the EU’s broad goals of creating a reliable and affordable energy system that is sustainable, affordable, and sustainable.
To help regions and companies successfully implement their energy projects, the EU offers a variety of funding options and lending programs.
The EU is a key player on the international stage. It works with countries, regions, and international organizations to address energy issues and create a reliable and competitive European energy market.
The EU’s citizens enjoy some of the most high-quality environmental standards anywhere in the world. Both the EU and the national governments have established clear goals to guide European environmental policy up to 2020. They also have a vision for 2050 with dedicated funding, legislation, and research programs.
- Protect, preserve and improve the EU’s natural resources
- Transform the EU into an efficient, green, competitive, low-carbon resource-efficient economy
- Protect EU citizens from environmental pressures and threats to their health and well-being
There are many initiatives underway to protect endangered species and natural areas in the EU, provide safe drinking water, improve air quality, manage waste, and reduce harmful chemical effects.
Innovation and environmental protection help create new opportunities for business and employment, which in turn stimulates further investment. To ensure Europe’s sustainable economic growth, green growth is at the core of EU policy. The EU plays an important role in global sustainable development.
All EU laws and standards in agriculture, animal husbandry, and food production are designed to protect health. The EU has a large body of law that covers all aspects of food production and processing within the EU as well as import and export goods.
These harmonised standards are implemented by EU countries and have controls in place to ensure their enforcement. The EU provides training and auditing to international and EU authorities.
EU Food Safety Policy Action is concentrated in four main areas of protection
- Food hygiene: All food businesses, restaurants and farms, must adhere to EU food laws, even those that import food into the EU.
- Animal health: Sanitary controls and measures for pets and farmed animals, as well as wildlife, monitor and manage diseases and track the movements of farm animals.
- Plant health: Early detection and elimination of pests prevents spread and ensures healthy seeds.
- Monitoring keeps contaminants out of food and animal feed. Maximum acceptable limits are applicable to both domestic and imported foods and feed products.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides independent risk assessments as well as scientific advice, informs the EU’s food safety standards.
Foreign and Security Policy
The EU’s common foreign and security policies, which are designed to solve conflicts and promote international understanding, are based on diplomacy, respect for international laws, and diplomatic diplomacy. European Union’s international role includes trade, humanitarian aid, as well as development cooperation.
The EU’s foreign and security policies aims to:
- preserve peace
- Strengthen international security
- Encourage international cooperation
- Develop and consolidate democracy, rule of law, and respect for fundamental freedoms & human rights
The EU has partnerships with key players around the globe, including emerging powers as well as regional groups. It aims to ensure that these relationships are mutually beneficial and based on mutual interest.
The EU does not have a standing army and relies instead on the ad-hoc forces of EU members. The EU can send missions in crisis areas around the globe to maintain law and order, provide humanitarian aid and participate in peacekeeping efforts.
The EU’s diplomatic service is the External action service (EEAS). Over 140 offices and delegations around the globe promote and protect the EU’s interests and values.
The European Council is the ultimate decision-making body for EU foreign policy. It includes heads of state and government from EU countries. All EU countries must agree to most foreign and security policies.
The EU supports national health policies by helping local EU governments achieve common goals, pool resources, and overcome shared challenges. It also funds EU-wide health projects and creates EU-wide standards and laws for health products.
The EU’s health policy is focused on improving and protecting health. It also provides equal access to efficient and modern healthcare for all Europeans. It coordinates any serious threats to health that may involve more than one EU member. The EU’s public health policy is heavily focused on disease prevention and response. Many areas of prevention are covered, including vaccinations, fighting antimicrobial resistance, action against cancer, responsible food labelling, and actions against diseases.
Two agencies are dedicated to supporting national governments in health matters. The European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control monitors emerging diseases and coordinates responses. The European Medicines Agency oversees scientific assessments of all EU medicines for safety, efficacy, and quality.
The main stream of action and policy within the European Union is to promote and preserve human rights. The first is to ensure the protection of fundamental human rights for EU citizens. The second is to promote international human rights.
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights protects the rights of EU citizens. The Charter defines the fundamental rights that apply to all EU institutions and bodies. It is also applicable to national governments that implement EU law.
The European Union was founded on a strong commitment towards promoting and protecting democracy, human rights, and the rule of laws worldwide. The EU’s relations with other countries and regions are centered on human rights.
The EU policy includes:
- Promoting the rights of women, minorities, and displaced people
- Opposition to the death penalty, torture and human trafficking, as well as discrimination
- Protecting civil, political and economic rights as well as cultural rights
- Protecting human rights through active partnerships with partner countries, international, regional and other organisations as well as groups and associations at all levels in society
- All trade and cooperation agreements with non-EU countries should include human rights clauses
When major disasters or humanitarian emergencies strike, the European Union offers assistance to both European and non-European countries.
The EU countries together are the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world, providing assistance to millions of people each year. This aid makes up 1% of the EU’s annual budget, or around EUR4 per EU citizen.
The principles of humanity and neutrality, impartiality, impartiality, and independence guide EU action. The aid is channelled through more than 200 partner agencies and agencies worldwide and locally, supported by thousands European volunteers.
An EU volunteer program can be taken part by any European citizen or long-term resident.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is a joint effort by the EU and a number other European countries to coordinate responses to crises throughout Europe and around the world. The monitoring of potential and existing crises is done 24 hours a day. Participating countries also work together on disaster prevention, planning and risk assessment.
Items such as food, shelter, and equipment can be used to provide emergency relief. Specially-equipped teams may also be deployed. Experts sent to the field to coordinate assessment and coordination. All countries participating in the relief teams are on standby and have access to equipment, experts, and other resources so that they can provide quick EU response.
EU citizens have many rights and protections. These include personal, civil and political, economic, and social rights. Personal data protection and anti-discrimination laws are also available.
All EU citizens have the same fundamental rights, based on the principles of equality, nondiscrimination and inclusion. These values are protected and strengthened by the rule of the law as outlined in the EU Treaties, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. EU citizens are entitled to reside, work, study, and marry in any EU country. The EU protects personal data of European citizens and empowers them to be consumers.
The provides legal protection for citizens in all EU countries. Criminals can also be pursued and repatriated across borders. Judicial authorities collaborate through the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit to ensure that legal decisions made in one EU member are recognized and applied in all other EU countries.
The Court of Justice of the European Union makes sure EU law is applied equally in all EU countries and resolves legal disputes between EU institutions and national governments. It can be used in certain situations by citizens, companies, or organizations to bring action against EU institutions that may have violated their rights.
The EU works together to improve internal security through cooperation in law enforcement, border management and disaster management. The European Police Office assists national police forces in working together better through this.
EU countries are also working together to create a coherent EU immigration strategy that takes full advantage of legal immigration while also addressing the challenges of irregular migration. There is ongoing work to improve security by improving external border controls and making it easier to enter the EU for those who have the right.
Research and Innovation
Europe’s future lays in investing in research and innovation. It allows us to be competitive globally and maintain our unique social model. It makes it possible to improve the lives of millions of people in Europe and all over the world.
EU support for innovation and research adds value through encouraging collaboration between research teams across disciplines and countries. This is crucial in making breakthrough discoveries.
The EU grants funding through its multiannual research-and innovation framework programs.
- Strengthen the EU’s position on science
- Invest in key technologies and provide support for small businesses. This will help to strengthen industrial innovation.
- Address major social issues, including climate change, sustainable transportation, and renewable energy
- Partnerships with industry and government are key to ensuring technological breakthroughs become viable products that have real commercial potential.
- International cooperation in research and innovation should be intensified
Through a variety of agencies, departments and bodies, EU research and innovation activities can be managed. Results, knowledge, and data are also shared through:
- Project databases
- Data, publications and tools
- The EU’s research and innovation magazine
The EU’s goal is to allow EU citizens to live, shop, work, retire, and study in any EU country. It also allows them to enjoy products from across Europe. It ensures that goods, capital, and persons can freely move within the single EU internal market. The EU removes technical, legal, and bureaucratic obstacles that make it possible for citizens to trade freely and do business.
To make Europe more attractive to investors and make it easier for small business to raise capital, the EU is creating a capital market union. The digital single market will also digitalise EU’s single market freedoms. It will include EU-wide rules regarding telecommunications, copyright, and data protection.
There are still some obstacles within the single market, but the EU is trying to improve harmonisation.
- Fragmented national tax systems
- Separate national markets for transport, energy, and financial services
- Different e-commerce standards, practices and rules between EU countries are available
- Complex rules regarding the recognition of vocational qualifications
The EU has no direct role in tax collection or setting tax rates. Each country decides how much tax is collected and what amount each citizen must pay.
However, the EU monitors national tax regulations in certain areas, particularly when it comes to EU consumer and business policies.
- The free movement of capital, goods and services within the EU (in one market).
- Businesses in one country do not have an unfair advantage over their competitors in another.
- Taxes don’t discriminate against EU citizens, workers, or consumers
The EU single market allows services and goods to be freely traded across borders. EU countries have agreed that their tax rules for goods and services will be aligned to make it easier for businesses and prevent competition. Some areas are eligible for special agreements such as the value added tax (VAT), or taxes on energy products, electricity, and tobacco.
EU countries also work together on coordination of economic policies, corporate income taxes, and other areas. They are to be fair, efficient, and growth-friendly. This is essential to make sure there are clear guidelines on taxes that people pay when they move to other EU countries or for businesses that invest in different EU countries. This coordination helps prevent tax avoidance and evasion.
The European Union is one the most international-oriented economies on the planet. It also has the largest single market in the world. The EU was founded on the principle of free trade between its members. It is now committed to opening up global trade.
Between 1999 and 2010, EU foreign trade doubled. It now accounts for more than 30% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The EU negotiates trade agreements and is responsible for determining the trade policies of member countries. As a single voice, the EU has more influence in international trade negotiations that any individual member.
In order to reach trade agreements, the EU engages in active dialogue with countries and regional groups. These agreements provide mutually beneficial access to the EU’s markets and those of the other countries. EU companies have the opportunity to grow their businesses and can import raw materials more easily.
Each agreement is unique. It can include tariff reductions or rules on subjects such as intellectual property and sustainable development. When negotiating trade agreements and rules, the EU also receives input from businesses, the public, and other non-governmental bodies.
EU trade and industry protections work to eliminate trade barriers to ensure that EU exporters have fair conditions and access other markets. The EU also provides practical information to foreign companies on how to get into the EU market.
To help establish global trade rules and remove trade barriers between WTO member countries, the EU works alongside the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The EU’s transport policy is designed to keep Europe moving. It creates a modern infrastructure network that speeds up and makes travel safer. It also promotes sustainable and digital solutions.
Transport is an integral part of European integration. It is essential for the free movement and exchange of goods, people and services. Transport contributes significantly to the economy. It is responsible for more than 9% EU gross value added (the economic contribution). The transport services alone contributed around EUR664 billion to the EU’s gross value added in 2016, and employ approximately 11 million people.
In order to achieve EU’s climate and energy goals, it is important that sustainable and innovative transport methods are implemented. EU policy supports transport systems that can meet major challenges as our society becomes more mobile.
- Congestion: This affects both road traffic and air traffic.
- Sustainability: Transport still relies on oil for the majority of its energy requirements, which is economically and environmentally unsustainable
- Air quality: The EU must reduce transport emissions by 60% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels and continue to reduce vehicle pollution.
- Infrastructure: The quality of the transport infrastructure in the EU is not uniform.
- Competition: The EU’s transport sector is facing increasing competition from rapidly-developing transport markets elsewhere.