What's the use of the EU? Five examples with relevance for everyone
Many citizens of the EU are critical of the bloc. However, over 60 years on from the Treaties of Rome the union grants many advantages to its residents. Here are five examples:
Freedom of residence: One of the central aspects of the European Union is the internal market with its four so-called basic freedoms - the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. It allows EU citizens to travel, live, learn and work where they want.
Study abroad: For many university students, a semester abroad is a fixed component of their course of study. The EU's "Erasmus" programme is a great help in achieving just that. According to the European Commission, nine million people have benefited from the programme - not just students but also apprentices, teachers and young entrepreneurs. More and more students in the EU use the Erasmus programme, as this interactive graphic shows: http://dpaq.de/PubFT
Roam like at home: The EU has put an end to unpleasant surprises in the form of excessively high mobile charges after a holiday. Since 15 June 2017, new EU rules make sure that EU residents who travel to any other EU country don't have to pay any additional roaming charges for calls, texts or data.
Consumer protection: The EU is a big advocate for consumer protection and has been improving customers' rights in a wide variety of areas. Among them are internet retail trade, international banking and air travel. Brussels also fights for safer products, cleaner air and better disease prevention -or at least it tries.
Science and research: Between 2014 and 2020 the EU is investing around 80 billion Euros into promising research projects. The hope is that eventually, scientists will come up with more effective drugs or with improved means to observe Planet Earth from space. The programme is called "Horizon 2020".
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