Significance of the European Union

The European Union takes care of the affairs
of all the people living in Europe.

Photo: European Parliament

The European Union has brought peace and stability to Europe. In 2012, the Union was even awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

Joining the European Union has given Finland and other member states a number of new rights. These rights have also meant new obligations. Cooperation across Europe has also created many new opportunities.

Every citizen of Finland is at the same time a citizen of the European Union.

Photo: European Parliament

As a Union citizen, you enjoy four important rights:

  1. You can travel freely and stay in any EU member state. You can find work in another EU member state. You can travel to most EU member states without any border checks, including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. This area where travel is free is known as the Schengen Area.
  2. You can vote in the European Parliament elections in the member state in which you live permanently. You can stand for as a candidate and represent your country in the European Parliament. The same applies to municipal elections. You can vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections in the member state in which you live permanently.
  3. If you travel outside Europe and need help, the Finnish foreign mission will assist you. If there is no Finnish mission in the country where you are staying, you can turn to the foreign mission of another EU member state for help.
  4. If you have been treated unfairly by any EU official, you can appeal to or ask for help from the European Ombudsman.

No duties are paid on trade between EU member states. Exporting and importing goods is simple. Companies find it easy to operate and do business in Europe.

The police cooperate throughout Europe, which makes it easier to investigate crimes.

Educational institutions work together. Students may go to another EU member state to study. School diplomas and employment certificates are accepted in all EU member states. People may work abroad without losing social security.

Common rules bring wealth and stability to Europe. Efforts are made to improve living conditions and cure social ills.