7 Facts about the European Union

And here it is! To kick-start A Bird’s Eye View’s #EuropeanWeek, we will be posting random updates with some short facts derived from the several documents published on the 60th anniversary from the Rome treaty. They are intended to make us more aware of the achievements a united Europe has reached and the potential it has for more.

Fact #1: Europe has been keeping peace for the past 70 years.

Our older family members almost all went to war. Yet nowadays, we have the privilege of being able to trust our European neighbours. War within the EU is unthinkable; eastern and western Europe are united. Our common European home safeguards peace. We should be extremely thankful.

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Fact #2: Europe is not the wild west, it is a social market economy

We are all aware of the achievements of the social market economy. In the EU, employees cannot be sacked overnight, mothers-to-be enjoy special protection and firms are not allowed to form cartels to dictate prices. All this is guaranteed, and it is something we should not take for granted.

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Fact #3: From screens to lorries, the EU takes action against cartels

Whether screens, lifts or lorries, the European Commission regularly imposes heavy fines on European and international businesses that fix the prices of such products or manipulate the market. Because that distorts free competition and is banned.

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Fact #4: The EU secures the rights of passengers on journeys, by air and by rail.

If a flight is overbooked or cancelled, or if a suitcase disappears, the passenger is entitled to financial compensation. Uniform EU rules ensure this. The same applies for journeys by rail.

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Fact #5: The single market brings down prices.

Since the European single market came into being in 1993, the range and diversity of products on offer has grown. As a result of increased competition and the end of national monopolies, many goods and services are cheaper than before.

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Fact #6: The EU makes sure we have healthy food.

What exactly is in your orange juice? How many calories are there in a granola bar? Thanks to EU rules, as a consumer you can get the answers immediately by looking at the packaging. If you suffer from allergies and go to a restaurant, you can be sure of what is in the food you order. And you can count on food being safe, containing neither salmonella nor other hazardous substances.

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Fact #7: The EU makes it possible to live and work in any EU Member State.

In the EU, you can decide where you want to live. There are lots of options a pensioner can decide to retire to Cyprus, for example, and enjoy the sunshine, a student can choose between the Netherlands and Italy and a businessman can decide to set up a company in another EU country.

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