From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Sat May 01 2004 - 15:21:45 CST
From: "Peter Kirk" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Welcome, Malta, to the European Community.
Correction: Welcome, Malta, to the "European Union".
Malta was already part of _a_ European Community; if you know the history of the
European Union, you'll have seen many references to the European Communities
(with the plural). The European Union is a common treaty that replaces several
distinct preexistent treaties into a single one, with only one remaining
The Council of Europe, which includes 15 countries in Europe (including
Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, San Marino but excluding the Holy See, and the
next member Monaco) and Asia (including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia,
but still missing the Belarus). In some sense, the Council of Europe is still
_a_ European Community, and it shares the same blue flag with 12 stars, and the
All the new 10 member countries in the E.U. have joined the Council of Europe
prior to entering the European Union, if they were not already part of it (Malta
and Cyprus were member of the Council of Europe since long).
Before the European Union, the organization was named "European Economic
Community" which was also a joint treaty of 4 other historic treaties. At that
time it had 12 members, and 3 joined to the birth of the new "European Union",
for a later adoption of the treaty on the single european currency (that treaty
was signed by the 15 members including the 3 new members, and UK and Denmark
that opted to keep their currency for some time with the conditions of the
"stability pact" of required by the treaty of Maastricht).
Confusion can come with the names "Council of Europe" which is not directly an
institution of the European Union, unlike the "European Council" (or European
Summit, which exists every two years), and the "Council of the European Union"
(with a Presidency rotating every 6 months). If the new European Constitution is
voted and ratified, this confusion will disappear (I hope) as the new E.U.
institutions will have more distinctive names.
The European Union is still a complex organization because of its links to lots
of other treaties and charters, that all its members are not required to be a
member body: the Euro for the currency and the "Shengen space" related to a
common borders security policy and controls of migrations, "EuroCop", and the
Council of Europe that groups not only the European Union, but also countries in
other separate Economical European organizations (for example EFTA, EEA, CIS),
... plus other non enonomical treaties such as the European Court of Justice,
and indirectly NATO too.
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