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European Union: Founded by the Treaty of Rome in 1958, the EU initially included just Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. After 50 years and four waves of additions (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), it now has 15 members. Up to ten other countries, from eastern and southern Europe, are expected to join in 2004. European Commission: The European Union’s executive branch, the commission is based in Brussels. Its 20 members, or commissioners, are appointed by the EU nations and approved by the European Parliament. The commissioners propose policy and legislation to the European Council and European Parliament, act as EU spokespeople and negotiators, administer EU policies, and enforce EU laws among member nations. European Council: Also called the Council of Ministers, this Senate-like body represents the governments of the EU member nations. It meets in Brussels and Luxembourg. Composed of government ministers from the 15 member states, the council negotiates and then votes on laws proposed by the European Commission. Most decisions require a majority vote to pass, but in a few areas — such as taxation — unanimity is required. Certain laws also are voted on by the European Parliament. European Parliament: The European Parliament mainly serves as the public forum for the EU. Its 626 members are elected every five years by the citizens of their respective countries. Headquartered in Strasbourg, France, the parliament has limited legislative power. It shares with the European Council the power to adopt or reject certain laws proposed by the European Commission. European Court of Justice: The EU’s Supreme Court, the ECJ is based in Luxembourg. The court typically has one judge from each member nation. It also has eight influential “advocates general” — judges who present public, impartially reasoned opinions on the cases. Judges and advocate generals are appointed by joint agreement of the member states, for a renewable term of six years. The court’s president serves for a three-year term. Directive: One of two types of EU law. (All EU laws supersede the national laws of EU member nations.) Directives are imposed directly on people, companies, and institutions within the member states. Regulation: Another form of EU law, regulations are imposed indirectly, through member states’ governments. The national governments decide how regulations should be implemented. European System of Central Banks: This network consists of the European Central Bank and the national central banks of all 15 EU member nations. Its main objective is to maintain price stability and to hold and manage the foreign reserves of member nations. European Central Bank: Founded in June 1998, the ECB replaced the European Monetary Institute. Based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the ECB sets and implements EU monetary policy, conducts foreign exchange, and issues euro currency. International Accounting Standards: Also known as the International Financial Reporting Standards, these are rules for the preparation of financial statements. All publicly listed EU companies must use these standards by 2005. International Accounting Standards Board: An independent, privately funded body that formulated, and now updates, the IAS. Based in London, the IASB’s 14 board members reside in nine countries.

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