Response to Bigmack (Original post)
Mon Dec 12, 2011, 03:40 PM
mrdmk (2,725 posts)
5. There is a difference between the Eurozone and European Union
The eurozone (About this sound pronunciation (help·info)), officially called the euro area, is an economic and monetary union (EMU) of 17 European Union (EU) member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender. The eurozone currently consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Most other EU states are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so. No state has left and there are no provisions to do so or to be expelled.
Monetary policy of the zone is the responsibility of the European Central Bank (ECB) which is governed by a president and a board of the heads of national central banks. The principal task of the ECB is to keep inflation under control. Though there is no common representation, governance or fiscal policy for the currency union, some co-operation does take place through the Euro Group, which makes political decisions regarding the eurozone and the euro. The Euro Group is composed of the finance ministers of eurozone states, however in emergencies, national leaders also form the Euro Group.
Since the late-2000s financial crisis, the eurozone has established and used provisions for granting emergency loans to member states in return for the enactment of economic reforms. The eurozone has also enacted some limited fiscal integration, for example in peer review of each other's national budgets. The issue is highly political and in a state of flux as of 2011 in terms of what further provisions will be agreed for eurozone reform.
On occasion the eurozone is taken to include non-EU members who use the euro as their official currency. Some of these countries, like San Marino, have concluded formal agreements with the EU to use the currency and mint their own coins. Others, like Kosovo and Montenegro, have adopted the euro unilaterally. However, these countries do not formally form part of the eurozone and do not have representation in the ECB or the Euro Group.
The European Union (EU) Listeni/ˌjʊərəˈpiːənˈjuːnjən/ is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by six countries in 1958. In the intervening years the EU has grown in size by the accession of new member states, and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993. The latest amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.
The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmentally made decisions negotiated by the member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes EU and non-EU states) passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. A monetary union, the eurozone, was established in 1999 and is currently composed of 17 member states. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy the EU has developed a limited role in external relations and defence. Permanent diplomatic missions have been established around the world and the EU is represented at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8 and the G-20.
With a combined population of over 500 million inhabitants, or 7.3% of the world population, the EU generated a nominal GDP of 16,242 billion US dollars in 2010, which represents an estimated 20% of global GDP when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.
Just a small detail: The Eurozone is mostly about currency, whereas European Union is a social cause, trade, and free movement of people, goods and services.
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There is a difference between the Eurozone and European Union
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