View Full Version : Basic Questions

03-06-09, 22:45
As an American I know very little about the European Union. I have a few questions; are there any provisions about what happens if a member state is invaded? Do they make laws that effect member countries besides economic and emigration policy such as abortion, driving age, drinking ages etc or are they left to each member state?

01-05-10, 16:46
As an American who is equally uninformed about the European Union, I looked it up. First, here's a copy of the original "Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union", which was signed in 2000 and contains 54 articles which are sufficiently vague to be left up to individual countries interpretation:


I didn't see anything specific about drinking, driving ages, etc so it appears to be left up to the individual country to set the limits. I was surprised to find the legal drinking age for many European countries is 16, or 18, compared to our 21. Most 16-18 y/o's in the US are drinking, and I wonder if legalizing it (supervising it) wouldn't be better. Additionally, I believe legalizing it, takes some of the thrill out of it (might be a good thing)??? Driving was around 17 or 18 for Europeans, 14-18 for us (16 is average).

As far as in the case of invasion, foreign relations seem to be left up to the individual countries, with loose coordination on some issues. In the event of an invasion of a member country, I would imagine they would quickly convene, and likely mount a coordinated defense.


In regards to the 54 articles set out by the charter, I imagine lawsuits must be filed citing the articles requiring further interpretation which made me wonder...Who would settle that? It seems each European country has it's own "supreme court" where such questions are settled, and there also seems to be a "Presidents and judges of the European Supreme Courts" which also exists with the mission of "securing the uniform interpretation of the law".

The supreme court in the UK seems particularly powerful:


Is all this delineation effective, or just more gridlock?

Michael Folkesson
02-05-10, 18:22
Well, the Western European Union is a part of the EU, and with the ESDP and Permanent Structured Cooperation a European defense pact is slowly taking form which might some day lead to a common Union military.

At the moment it's NATO that has the role of a European coordinated defense. America made it quite clear around the Maastricht Treaty - pertinent was the Bartholomew Telegram - that they are not interested in a break up of NATO or a diminishing of it's role what with the American bases, "special relationships" and interests in East Europe and all that yadda yadda. I am of the opinion that NATO in any form is obsolete, but that it has ceased to be a military organisation as much as it has become an interest organisation, the plans of expansion and "going global" is more than worrisome. The policy of non-European "partner" countries and the NATO mission in Afghanistan shows much of the ambition of it. I don't believe in a organization undercutting the authority of the UN. I fail to see the global benefit. It seems to slowly take the form of a global American toolkit, and I don't see why Europe should hand the US a new pair of gloves. The EU must form a viable alternative to NATO and this is slowly taking form.

Regarding legal jurisdiction with civil and criminal matters, the EU has none. That's all within national control and responsibility. I don't see why the Union should have any jurisdiction there. As the Union is confederate in nature and will be for a forseeable future, it only have powers regarding issues pertaining to EU specific areas put down in the treaties.

As one might guess I am all for the confederacy, and less enthusiastic about a federal state. If that is in the future that might be, but I feel that we must hurry very slowly when it comes to that.