The 785-member, directly elected European Parliament (EP) is a key institution of the 27-member European Union (EU). Once limited to being a consultative assembly, the EP has accumulated more power over time. Currently, it plays a role in the EU's legislative and budgeting processes, and exercises general supervision over other EU bodies. Ties between the EP and the U.S. Congress are long-standing, and EPCongressional exchanges are expected to continue in the second session of the 110th Congress.
The European Union (EU) views the enlargement process as a historic opportunity to promote stability and prosperity in Europe. Although the EU maintains that the enlargement door remains open, "enlargement fatigue" has become a serious issue in Europe and some experts believe that EU enlargement may be reaching its limits. The status of EU enlargement is one of many transatlantic issues likely to be of interest to the second session of the 110th Congress. This report lists the various nations admitted to the European Union within the past several years and analyzes the enlargement issue in general.
This report describes the European Union (EU), its evolution, governing institutions, trade policy, and efforts to forge common foreign and defense policies. The report also addresses the EU-U.S. and EU-NATO relationships, which may be of interest to the second session of the 110th Congress. It will be updated as events warrant. For more information, see CRS Report RS21344, European Union Enlargement, by Kristin Archick, and CRS Report RL34381, European Union-U.S. Trade and Investment Relations: Key Issues, coordinated by Raymond Ahearn.
This report examines some of Europe's critical energy security challenges and EU efforts to coordinate a common European energy strategy. It also includes an overview of broader transatlantic energy security cooperation and will be updated as needed.
In December 2007, leaders of the European Union (EU) signed the Lisbon Treaty, which seeks to reform the EU's governing institutions and decisionmaking processes to enable a larger EU to operate more effectively. This new treaty represents the latest stage in a reform process begun in 2002 and essentially replaces the proposed EU "constitution" that foundered after French and Dutch voters rejected it in referendums in 2005. In June 2008, Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty, and have thrown its future into doubt. This report provides background information on EU reform efforts and possible implications for U.S.-EU relations that may be of interest in the second session of the 110th Congress.
In the early 1990s, Sweden faced a large banking and exchange rate crisis which it eventually resolved. Four lessons that emerged from Sweden's experience are: 1) the resolution process must be transparent; 2) the resolution agency must be politically and financially independent; 3) market discipline must be maintained; and 4) there must be a plan to jump-start credit flows in the financial system. This report provides an overview of the Swedish banking crisis and an explanation of the measures Sweden used to restore its banking system to health.
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