When did these countries join EU?

1952 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands

1973 Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom

1981 Greece

1986 Portugal, Spain

1995 Austria, Finland, Sweden

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 Bulgaria, Romania

What are the Official Languages of the European Union?

The very first Regulation enacted by the Council of what is now the European Union, was concerned with language.
On 15 April 1958. The Council laid down that the official languages of the Member States should be both the official languages of the Community and the working languages of the Community institution.

Every Member State’s official language is an official language of the EU. As several Member States share the same official language this means there are 11 official languages. They are (in alphabetical order): Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.

Which is the Correct Term: ‘European Union’, ‘European Community’ or ‘European Commission’?
They are all correct for different occasions.

The European Union (EU) came into being with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty on 1/11/93. In discussing events prior to this date the term EC or even its predecessor (EEC) would be more accurate.

Since 1/11/93 the term European Union (EU) has replaced in common usage the term European Community (EC) in most cases referring to the group of Member States making up the EU.

The European Commission is the executive body, the “public service” of the EU. The EU, as such, has no overseas diplomatic representation. It is the European Commission that is represented by Delegations overseas and the correct appellation.
From European Community to European Union

The Treaty of the European Union, also known as the Maastricht Treaty, entered into force on 1 November 1993, following the ratification of the Treaty by all twelve Member States of the European Communities. As a result, what used to be known as the European Community (EC) has become known, through common usage, as the European Union (EU).

The European Community of course continues to exist as the first and most important foundation of the European Union. Therefore, the expressions, the EC, European Community, will continue to be used, especially in certain documents of a legal character such as official acts adopted on the basis of the Treaty establishing the European Community.

The role and responsibilities of the European Union, however, is not limited to the EC (including the stages for achieving the economic and monetary union, the European Coal and Steel Community and Euratom (the European Atomic and Energy Community) but also applies to new areas under the Maastricht Treaty such as the common foreign and security policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs.

The Union as a whole is served by a single institutional framework, The former EC Council of Ministers is now called the Council of the European Union or EU Council. The European Parliament and the European Court of Justice have maintained their original names as has the Commission of the European Communities but which can be called the European Commission in short.

In a similar way, the use of the European Union or EU is recommended to call the territory formerly commonly referred to as the EC in such expression as: the EU Member States, EU population, EU market or industry, etc.

Do the Number of Stars on the European Flag Represent the Member States?

The number of stars on the European Flag has always remained the same, ie 12. It was adopted by the European Community in 1986. This same flag had been used to represent “Europe” by a different organisation, the Council of Europe since 1956.

In 1946, the Council of Europe established a committee to discuss the issue of a “european” emblem. Many different proposals were discussed but the final result was the flag you see today. 12 gold stars on a blue background.

The 12 stars were chosed as twelve is the symbol of perfection; there were 12 apostles, 12 hours in the day, 12 hours in the night, 12 months of the year, 12 signs of the zodiac. The colours blue and gold were the original colours of the Count Richard Coudenhove Kalergi who first proposed a Pan European Union in 1923.

Is there a European Anthem?

Yes. In January 1972, the Council of Europe chose the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th symphony, as the European Anthem. In 1986, the European Community adopted this as the European Anthem.

The poem ‘An die Freude’ (Ode to Joy) was composed by the German Poet Friedrich Schiller. Beethoven was so moved by the words that he set it to music and incorporated it into the final chorus of the 9th symphony.

It was decided however, that the music only would be used as the European Anthem in order to avoid any clash of interests over the language in which the words should be sung.

Does the EU have a “National” Day?

Yes. The 9th May is celebrated within the European Union as “Schuman Day” or “Europe Day” as it is more commonly known.

On 9th May 1950, Robert Schuman (French Minister for Foreign Affairs) made a speech on behalf of the French Government to propose the pooling of French and German coal and steel industries under a joint European Institution.

It was this suggested that led to the birth of the first European Community Institution, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and eventually to the European Community itself.

For information please see:

by MPS