Unpacking the EU for today’s generation

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Hi bestie! Are you Gen Z and have to vote this weekend for the European Union Elections but you don’t know how the organisation works? Don’t worry! Today I am here to spill the tea about this sui generis organisation so you can vote wisely and responsibly.

So all of this started after the II World War, where a lot of European countries were destroyed by it. Bearing this scenario, the Benelux countries, France, Italy and Germany decided to unite in 1950 and create the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) with the intention to trade these two raw-materials. But as the years went by, from their POV there was a need to deepen the organisation and processes of integration. So in 1992, after other 6 countries joined (UK, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain) and the creation of pair organisations with ECSC (so it was no more about just coal and steel trade), the Maastricht Treaty was signed. This is the treaty that gave a huge glow up to the European Union and defined it as we know it nowadays, or most part of it. Besides changing the name from European Economic Community to European Union (EU), the organisation also developed the European Central Bank, Fundamental Rights of European Union, a defined foreign policy and European security Union, justice court, and other more European bodies.

Yeah, I got you. I don’t want to give you a monotonous lecture about this, just wanted to historically brief you. Now let’s go to the important part you should be more aware of. Nowadays, the discussion and decision-making between the member states happen in 4 different institutions: the European Council, the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Besides these, there are 3 more bodies to complement its work, but today let’s just focus on the first ones.

The European Council is where the heads of government of the EU countries meet to define general political directions and priorities of the organisation, execute the EU budget (the boujee ones) and represent the EU in their international relations.

The European Commission is the one representing the common interests of the member states putting forward proposals for new laws. Speaking about that, do you know that, as a citizen, you can propose a law to this European institution? Highkey what a democratic flex. You can understand better how and what you need to do here. The European Commission is also responsible to manage the EU budget and most of the EU policies and its applications on member states. They are the ones divulging EU policies to the European population, monitoring and analysing their opinions.

Concerning the Council of EU, did you know that your national minister, in pair with the ones from the other member states, are part of this institution to adopt the laws that the European Council approved? Not only that, but they are also to define the EU foreign policy and celebrate treaties.

Now the OG for this weekend’s elections, the European Parliament. It’s the institution that represents the citizens of the member states, that’s why we have to vote every 5 years. The European Parliament is separated into political groups (at the moment speaking there are seven of them). In this link you can check what their priorities are for the next 5 years and what they defend. However, you do not vote for these political groups themselves, you vote for your national political party that is part of one of these groups. I know, lowkey confusing, but I advise you to visit your national parties websites to understand which political group they are part of, as well as visit the website above, and slay in this weekend elections with all this  knowledge! In case you may be wondering, why is it important to vote for the European Parliament, well, they are the ones that adopt the laws jointly with the Council of EU, do amendments of the treaties, approve and control the execution of the EU budget, so it’s basically the place of the EU where we feel the major changes. If you would like to have a better idea of wtv I am talking about, check this website, where you can see which topics are being discussed, approved or withdrawn in the European Parliament. Personally, I love this website because it gives you the opportunity to follow what they actually do throughout the years and get all the tea of their work, no cap.

Specifically talking about the elections this weekend, check out the link where the EU explains how it is going to work in each EU member state. Last but not least, if you are still not convinced whether you should go vote or not, EU has this super cool website demonstrating everything they have done in your country and even in your hometown -just take a look here.

Summing up, the EU is an enormous International Organization that has been developing and growing up throughout the years. I hope you liked this quick guide and feel more enlightened and motivated to vote this weekend for the European Parliament elections.

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