26 April 2016
10 words you need to know to understand the EU referendum
1 – Heads of States and government
The head of state is the highest authority in a state, in the UK this is the queen. The head of government is usually the elected leader of each nation. In some countries, such as the US, one person holds both positions. In EU decision making bodies most countries are represented by their head of government. For example, David Cameron represents the UK, while Germany will be represented by Angela Merkel.
2 – Member states
The 28 countries that currently make up the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The referendum in June will decide whether the UK remains a member state.
3 – Eurozone
Officially called the euro area. This is the monetary union of 19 of the 28 states of the EU that use the euro as their sole and legal tender. Countries joining the EU are obliged to join the Eurozone once they have met the criteria – the UK and Denmark have been exempted.
4 – Commissioners
Commissioners make up the Commission. There is one commissioner for every member state. These 28 commissioners swear an oath to represent the EU as a whole, rather than their own member state. Turn to page 10 for more information about the European Commission.
5 – EEA
European Economic Area, compiled of Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. This provides the free movement of people, goods, services and capital with the 28 member states of the EU. Established through the Treaty of Rome.
6 – Single market
This term refers to the EU as one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. This is designed to stimulate competition and trade, improve efficiency, raise quality and help cut prices.
7 – Schengen area
Most EU states – except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom – are part of this area of abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders. Bulgaria and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area, and Turkey are negotiating inclusion of this in their potential EU membership. Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area, despite not belonging to the EU.
8 – Subsidiarity
This is the principle that decisions should be made at the level closest to the people they impact and is supposed to help strengthen the democratic tone of the EU. In theory, decisions that impact on a national level should be taken by the national government, unless the EU can make a more effective decision for all member states.
9 – "Ever closer union"
This term was first used in the founding treaty of the European experiment in 1957. It refers to the intention that the people of Europe would draw closer together both economically and politically. British governments have often resisted the idea, wary of being too tightly connected to the laws, policies and economics of other countries.
10 – Eurosceptic and Europhile
A Eurosceptic is someone who generally wants to withdraw from the EU, usually citing uncertainty about whether the EU is a benefit to the UK. A Europhile is someone who is positive about the EU, considering it to be a good influence in British affairs.