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Is the European Union a Country, Federation, Confederation, Nation etc?

Finally the answer to this mystery has arrived, from the European Union itself!
For several years, I’ve been seriously confused about the real definition of the European Union (EU), so I asked the EU for an answer and got a decent reply. The following is the full conversation I had with the European Union via email:

Date: Thursday, [Aug 1, 2013] 04:21:32
From: “Ogechi A.” <…@….com>
Subject: [Case_ID: 775590 / 3335635] Is the EU a country, sovereign state, federation, or empire?

Hello, I’m an American who [has] argued with several European editors on the publication of the definition of the European Union for online encyclopedias like the Wikipedia. We have a problem coming to a consensus on what the EU actually is. So, please, I need your assistance to the answer of these two questions:
#1: Is the EU a sovereign state, nation, country, federation, confederation, or empire, with limited powers of the member states like the United States?
#2: If not, then is the EU working towards or planning to be any of those?

Thank you in advance. I await for your response, as I believe that the EU is just a great peacekeeping political and economic organization, and not any of the things listed in question #1 as the European editors I’m arguing with have claimed.
Response from the European Union:
[Case_ID: 0775590 / 3335635] [Aug 23, 2013] 07:57 AM
“Europe Direct”
Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your message. We would like to apologise for the delay.

Regarding your first question, the European Union (EU) is not a federal State like the United States of America because its member countries remain independent sovereign nations. Nor is it a purely intergovernmental organisation like the United Nations because the member countries do pool some of their sovereignty ? and thus gain much greater collective strength and influence than they could have acting individually. They pool their sovereignty by taking joint decisions through shared institutions such as the European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them and the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries.

Regarding your second question, the integration within the EU will continue in the fields in which the Member States consider in their best interests. (The traditional EU framework covers issues like trade, globalisation, the single market, regional and social development, research and development, measures to promote growth and jobs, etc.)

For more information about the future of the EU, please see Lesson 12 the ?Europe in 12 lessons? portal:
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions.

With kind regards,

EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre – your shortcut to the EU!

Some people, particularly Eastern Europeans and most pro-EU people, believe that the EU is a country or federation or confederation or something of that kind. In particular, many of these pro-EU fellas want a rival entity against the United States. This is understandable, seeing that the United States is very large and that its size has contributed to its world power status. Most Pro-Europe advocates believe that no European country can achieve the status of world power without increasing the size of its own territory. And the only way this can happen is through peaceful negotiations, which is currently possible via the European Union, which must become something like a “Federated Europe” for that to happen. But facing the truth clears off pitiful delusions. I asked the EU and it replied. The answer is unfortunate to pro-Federated-Europe folks, that the European Union is not a country. Neither is it a federation, confederation, sovereign state, confederacy, monarchy, republic, nor a nation. One thing we may all agree with is that the EU has been influential to Europe in keeping peace and building one voice, identity and neighborhood.

Poprama supports the European Union.

2 thoughts on “Is the European Union a Country, Federation, Confederation, Nation etc?

  1. I think the EU is basically a confederation, as it pools sovereignty in areas of shared interests, yet the member states remain sovereign. However, it also has many elements of federalism in the way it is governed.

    All it really lacks in terms of nation-state qualities is full fiscal power (in particular, the power to levy taxes directly), full military and defense integration, and the sovereignty of the Union over its member states. It has everything else, from a common currency to common laws, a common government, common borders and a common citizenship. It is only a matter of time before the EU is a full federation; I would estimate it’ll happen within 10-20 years.

    If you contact the EU directly, they will avoid using terms like ‘federation’ or ‘confederation’ (and they will certainly dislike the term ’empire’) due to the politically sensitive nature of those words. As the member states are supreme, not the Union, it would in inappropriate for the EU to describe itself as a federation/confederation, or claim a desire to become either of those things. Right now, only the member states have the right to define the EU and decide what it will ultimately become.

    1. Although the EU seems to have a common currency, it doesn’t actually do so — some member states have opted out of the common currency (for example the UK). This isn’t a popular characteristic of a modern sovereign state.

      I agree though, that the EU has developed many characteristics of an independent country over the years. There seems to be a possibility of the EU becoming one, but only possible between the member countries who are in the Eurozone part of the organization. The other members outside the Eurozone seem to be in fact contradictory to the idea of EU becoming a sovereign country, because the non-Eurozone members seem to be often opting out of the most important treaties or establishments that bring EU closer to the sovereign federation status. Many citizens of the non-Eurozone members of the EU also oppose the idea of their own countries losing their sovereignty.

      The EU, however, can become a superpower without having to be a sovereign country. This can be achieved by investing a lot in EU’s military and space programs, giving a lot of foreign aid to less fortunate countries of the world, and thus having a say in the world. If EU does all of that stuff regularly and strongly, it may rise in power to be in par with the United States as powerful, without actually being a sovereign superstate.

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