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European Union Basics (FAQ), Part1/8

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Archive-name: european-union/basics/part1
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
+  NB READERS OF THIS TEXT VERSION:                                     
+  The original and most recent version of this file is always available  
+  on the world-wide web. If you have Web access, please consider viewing 
+  it there at the URL mentioned above.

                                               EU Basics FAQ: Table of Contents
   Version 2.3.1 of 25 March 1996. Posted regularly to
   talk.politics.european-union, eunet.politics,, news.answers
   and other newsgroups. See +About this list;[1] in the last part of this list
   for ways to retrieve the most recent version.
   This file contains a list of basic questions and answers about the European
   Union, edited by Roland Siebelink <>[2] with the
   help from Bart Schelfhout. The web space from which these files are served
   are provided courtesy of Allmansland/De Schutter Digital Media[3], the
   company I work for. However, I am the only person responsible for the
   contents of this list, either as writer or as editor of contributions sent
   to me. Therefore, information mentioned in this file does not necessarily
   reflect the opinion of my company. Also, there is no official relationship
   whatsoever with the European Commission, the European Parliament or any
   other official or unofficial European institution.
   Please note that although I try to ensure that everything mentioned in this
   file is correct or, alternatively, clearly labeled as a personal opinion or
   note from me or one of the contributors, there is no guarantee as to the
   accurateness let alone objectivity of this file. If you think information is
   incorrect or missing, send me corrections/additions/comments and I will
   include them and your name in this list.
What's new in this version?

   Since the major update of last year, a number of bigger and smaller changes
   have been made (well, a lot has happened since then!). Many details have
   been corrected thanks to the help of many contributors[4] from all over
   Europe and abroad, and many political parties with seats in the European
   Parliament[5] have set up their own web pages.
   In addition, three major sections have been added in these last months:
      A Quick guide to EU legislation which delves deeper into the basic
      concepts about what different kinds of EU laws actually exist and how
      they come into being, before the FAQ expands on the Institutions
      themselves. Therefore, we put it in the General Questions[6] part.
      Information about the European Court of Justice has expanded considerably
      thanks to a major contribution by Frangois Thunus.[7] For now the Court's
      section[8] still lives in the +Other EU Institutions; file, but it may
      soon qualify for its own if more information keeps getting added...
      At the instigation of Alan Fraser Reekie,[9] we have added a major part
      about the changes that the EU is expected to go through or at least
      pursue in 1996 and after. There is now some information about the IGC or
      Intergovernmental Conference that will start in Torino on March 29, and a
      summary of the conlusions of the +Reflection Group; that has prepared its
   Readers who have seen one of the 1.x versions but have missed out on any
   versions published since 20 March 1995 may look for references to other
   European political resources on the Internet. These have been removed from
   this FAQ, as there is now a much better alternative written by Antero
   Aunesluoma[10] of the University of Helsinki. The URL is
Table of Contents

      General European Union Questions [12]
      What is the European Union or EU?[13]
      When did the EU come into being?[14]
      What countries are members of the EU?[15]
      Which are the languages of the EU?[16]
      How come the flag has only twelve stars?[17]
      Quick guide to EU legislation[18]
      Main types of legislation[19]
      The Intergovernmental Conference of 1996[20]
      Conclusions of the Reflection Group[21]
      The main issues on the agenda[22]
      How much time will it take?[23]
      Questions about the European Parliament[24]
      How is the European Parliament composed?[25]
      Direct universal elections[26]
      General composition[27]
          PES/Group of the Party of European Socialists[28]
      EPP/European People's Party (Christian-Democrats)[29]
      UE/Union  for Europe Group[30]
      ELDR/Group of the European Liberal, Democratic and Reformist Party[31]
      GUE/Confederal Group of the United Left - Northern Green Left[32]
       GRN/Green Group in the European Parliament[33]
      ERA/Group of the European Radical Alliance[34]
      EN/Europe of Nations Group[35]
      NI/Non-attached members[36]
      What are the powers of the European Parliament?[37]
      Who is the President of the European Parliament?[38]
      Where can I find the European Parliament on the net?[39]
      Email connectivity[40]
      Databases and infosystems[41]
      Questions about the European Commission[42]
      General information[43]
      The Directorates-General of the Commission[44]
      Who is the President (chairman) of the European Commission?[45]
      Where can I find the European Commission on the net?[46]
      Email connectivity[47]
      Databases and infosystems[48]
      Councils representing the Member States' Governments[49]
      What is the Council of Ministers?[50]
      Composition of the Council of Ministers[51]
      Council decisions and secrecy[52]
      What is the European Council?[53]
      Who are the current members of the European Council?[54]
      What are the powers/activities of the European Council?[55]
      Who is the President of the (European) Council?[56]
      Other important EU institutions[57]
      What is the European Court of Justice?[58]
      Court of First Instance[60]
      Lenght of proceedings[62]
      What is the Court of Auditors?[65]
      What is the Economic and Social Committee?[66]
      What is the Committee of Regions?[67]
      What is the European Monetary Institute?[68]
      What is the difference between the European Union and...[69]
      The European Community?[70]
      The Common Market?[71]
      The Council of Europe?[72]
      The Western European Union?[73]
      The European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area?[74]
      The North American Free Trade Agreement?[75]
      About the European Union Basics (FAQ)[76]
      Where to get the most recent version of this file[77]
      Original hypertext version[78]
      Text only (ISO-8859-1) version[79]
      Author, contributors and sources[80]
                               Edited by Roland Siebelink & Bart Schelfhout[81]
                                           corrections and suggestions welcome.

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM