A Progressively Integrated European Community within the Global Economy

Abstract This chapter illustrates the integration process of the European Union (EU), focusing both on the ‘deepening perspective’ (from the original European Economic Community and Customs Union to the Single Market) and on the ‘widening viewpoint’ (from the initial 6 members to the current 28, including enlargement to the East with the admission of several formerly planned economies, and the United Kingdom for the time being). It also considers competition policy and structural funds. It then evidences the weight and composition of the EU budget, with a brief discussion of its evolution over time. The EU’s integration process is assessed within the globalization trend, including evidence on the economic weight - of EU countries and the EU as a whole - in the world economy.

Keywords European Economic Community (EEC) • European Union (EU) • World economy • EU budget • Customs Union • Single Market • Structural funds

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