The European Union was formerly called as European Common Market (ECM). The ECM was formed by signing the Treaty of Rome in March 1957 by six countries — France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It came into force from 1.1.1958. Between 1973 and 1995, another 9 countries joined ECM — such as Denmark, Ireland, UK, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Greece, Spain and Portugal. In -2004, another 10 countries joined the group. The 10 countries belonged to the former communist bloc — Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus, Malta and Estonia. In 2007, two more countries are likely to join EU, i.e., Bulgaria and Romania. At present, there are 27 member nations of EU.
The main objectives of EU are:
• To eliminate trade barriers on member nations.
• To assist member nations during the times of emergencies
• To develop cultural and social relations.
• To promote free transfer of labour and capital among member nations.
• To bargain collectively with the non-members by means of collective strength.
• To impose common external barriers on non-members.
Policies of European Union:
There are number of Policies adopted by European Union. The main ones are:
1. Common Agriculture Policy: It aims at improving the agricultural productivity, and to improve the position of the EU farmers. It also aims to make available food products at reasonable rates. It allows free movement of food products among member nations.
2. Common Fisheries Policy: It provides equal access to fishing areas to all nationals of EU. It adopts common market standards for marine products.
3. Common Transport Policy: It aims at integration of transport facilities of the entire community. It monitors organisation and control of transport system within the community.
4. Fiscal Policy: It aims at unification of tax rates, and other fiscal matters. It monitors common value added tax on products in the member states.
5. Industrial Policy: It facilitates research and development among member nations. It aims at improving international competitiveness of industries of EU member states.
6. Competition Policy: It prohibits agreements which lead to prevention, or restriction of competition within the EU. It aims to promote competition within the EU by restricting anti-competitive practices.