GP360 European Union Project

Introduction: EU for Americans

EU Policies

It may be hard to believe, but the process for
passing a law in the EU makes our system in the US Congress look simple
by comparison. It takes most laws two to three years to pass. There are
two very different areas where EU policies have received notice from
Americans.

The first of course is the famous lack of unity to
deal with the Balkans in the 1990's. But note that EU member countries
never handed foreign and military policy to the EU. That means that any
decision must be unanimous. The EU is simply not designed to deal with
issues like hot war. The problem is that some of its members want it to
be and others don't. Many of those who don't would prefer to continue
to defer to the United States and NATO on such issues. The issue of the
role of the United States in Europe and in security issues is central
to the issue of the EU becoming a player in security and military
issues, and will get more treatment elsewhere on these pages.

The other policies Americans have taken notice of is
where the EU can and does establish policy: the environment, human
rights, trade policy, etc. EU policy is opposed to the death penalty
for example, and no country can join it without abolishing capital
punishment. The EU has brought such abolition to hundreds of millions.
And the EU is big enough to try and push this policy elsewhere. For
example, the refusal of its members to extradite suspects to the United
States unless we promise not to execute them. EU policies on food
safety and the environment also challenge U.S. regulations, and a
proposed chemical policy called REACH, which would require the testing
of industrial chemicals before their commercial use is causing a stir.

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