Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 13: Europe Today
"The European Union"

In this chapter students have learned about the development and goals of the European Union. The European Union has become a dominant force in the world economy and will become more powerful as new members continue to join. In this activity students will learn more about the history and policies of the EU as well as some of the challenges of a unified Europe.

Lesson Description
Students will visit a Web site about the European Union to learn more about the history, policies, and future of this organization. After answering four questions about the material they have read, students will write two short essays—one arguing in favor of a completely unified Europe, the other arguing against such a union.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe the requirements for membership in the European Union.
  2. Students will be able to argue the potential benefits and drawbacks to a completely unified Europe.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 1: The geographically informed person knows and understands how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
Standard 11: The geographically informed person knows and understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface.
Standard 13: The geographically informed person knows and understands how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influences the division and control of Earth's surface.
Standard 18: The geographically informed person knows and understands how people apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. As of 2000, membership included 15 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The requirements for membership are a stable democratic government, a good human rights record, a properly functioning market economy, and macroeconomic fitness.
  2. Pillar One incorporates the three founding treaties and sets out the institutional requirements for EMU. Pillar Two established the Common Foreign and Security Policy which makes it possible for the Union to take joint action in foreign and security affairs. Pillar Three created the Justice and Home Affairs policy, dealing with asylum, immigration, judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, and customs and police cooperation against terrorism, drug trafficking, and fraud.
  3. The euro is a single currency that will be used in 11 EU member countries, becoming legal tender in 2002 and replacing national currencies. Its symbol looks like an E with two parallel horizontal lines across it—inspired by the Greek letter epsilon and referring to the first letter in the word Europe. Euro notes will come in 7 denominations (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500), and there will be 8 euro coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 euro cents and 1 and 2 euro coins).
  4. The European Union and the United States together account for more than 30 percent of total world trade. They also represent almost 60 percent of the industrialized world's gross domestic product (GDP). EU-US trade in goods and services as well as mutual investments is generally well balanced.
  5. Students' essays will vary. Arguments in favor may include a unified voice in international politics and trade, ease of travel, and ease of using a single currency; arguments against may include loss of individuality and too much cultural homogenization.

Go To Student Web Activity


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Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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