50 reasons to love the European Union

Posted in Europe | 21-Mar-07 | Source: The Independent (UK)

As the EU celebrates its anniversary, The Independent looks at 50 benefits it has brought, and asks: "What has Europe done for us?"

1 The end of war between European nations

2 Democracy is now flourishing in 27 countries

3 Once-poor countries, such as Ireland, Greece and Portugal, are prospering

4 The creation of the world's largest internal trading market

5 Unparalleled rights for European consumers

6 Co-operation on continent-wide immigration policy

7 Co-operation on crime, through Europol

8 Laws that make it easier for British people to buy property in Europe

9 Cleaner beaches and rivers throughout Europe

10 Four weeks statutory paid holiday a year for workers in Europe

11 No death penalty (it is incompatible with EU membership)

12 Competition from privatised companies means cheaper phone calls

13 Small EU bureaucracy (24,000 employees, fewer than the BBC)

14 Making the French eat British beef again

15 Minority languages, such as Irish, Welsh and Catalan recognised and protected

16 Europe is helping to save the planet with regulatory cuts in CO2

17 One currency from Bantry to Berlin (but not Britain)

18 Europe-wide travel bans on tyrants such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe

19 The EU gives twice as much aid to developing countries as the United States

20 Strict safety standards for cars, buses and aircraft

21 Free medical help for tourists

22 EU peacekeepers operate in trouble spots throughout the world

23 Europe's single market has brought cheap flights to the masses, and new prosperity for forgotten cities

24 Introduction of pet passports

25 It now takes only 2 hrs 35 mins from London to Paris by Eurostar

26 Prospect of EU membership has forced modernisation on Turkey

27 Shopping without frontiers gives consumers more power to shape markets

28 Cheap travel and study programmes means greater mobility for Europe's youth

29 Food labelling is much clearer

30 No tiresome border checks (apart from in the UK)

31 Compensation for passengers suffering air delays

32 Strict ban on animal testing for the cosmetic industry

33 Greater protection for Europe's wildlife

34 Regional development fund has aided the deprived parts of Britain

35 European driving licences recognised across the EU

36 Britons now feel a lot less insular

37 Europe's bananas remain bent, despite sceptics' fears

38 Strong economic growth - greater than the United States last year

39 Single market has brought the best continental footballers to Britain

40 Human rights legislation has protected the rights of the individual

41 European Parliament provides democratic checks on all EU laws

42 EU gives more, not less, sovereignty to nation states

43 Maturing EU is a proper counterweight to the power of US and China

44 European immigration has boosted the British economy

45 Europeans are increasingly multilingual - except Britons, who are less so

46 Europe has set Britain an example how properly to fund a national health service

47 British restaurants now much more cosmopolitan

48 Total mobility for career professionals in Europe

49 Europe has revolutionised British attitudes to food and cooking

50 Lists like this drive the Eurosceptics mad