What makes European unity unique?

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Three-part animated series

The first part shows the influence of European unity on the boom and benefits.

Part 1: Boom and Benefits

15 good reasons for Europe

1. Thanks to the European Single Market European citizens have more money in their pockets. Of all the EU Member States, Danes benefit most with an additional 500 euros per annum. Germans have an additional 450 euros at their disposal, Dutch citizens 130 euros. And also the crisis-plagued Greeks benefited from the European Single Market since 1992: Since then, in average every Greek citizen earned 70 euros more a year. 1

2. Thanks to the European Single Market, 3.6 million new jobs have been created since 1990 – around 936,000 were created in Germany, 389,000 in the UK, 323,000 in Poland, 129,000 in the Czech Republic, and 92,000 in the Netherlands. That is roughly equivalent to the total population of Essen, Manchester, Wroclaw, Prague and Amsterdam.2

3. The EU repairs roads, provides fast internet and builds new childcare centres – in all EU Member States. By means of the European Structural and Cohesion Funds, the EU invests €352bn from 2014 to 2020 into the economic development of its Member States.3

4. It is only thanks to collaboration within the EU that we now have tough climate change and environmental standards enshrined in all Member States. By 2030 renewables will make up 27 percent of all energy generation and greenhouse gases will decrease by 40 percent. Without the clear course adopted by the EU, the world would not have reached agreement on climate change targets at the Paris Climate Summit.4

5. The EU supports employees. It ensures all employees are entitled to at least four weeks annual leave. The maximum working time for any employee is limited to 48 hours per week. And parental leave of at least 14 weeks is also a guaranteed EU-wide entitlement.5

6. The EU enables every citizen of the EU to work where they prefer. University and vocational training qualifications are recognised all over Europe and many Europeans make good use of that flexibility. Around 14 million EU citizens live and work in a different Member State to their country of origin.6

7. The EU lobbies for more equal opportunities. For instance, the EU ERASMUS programme allows children from low-income households to spend time abroad and improve their career prospects. From 2014 to 2020 around four million young Europeans are expected to receive an ERASMUS scholarship. Since it was established in 1987, over nine million young people have already been empowered to spend time abroad.7

8. It is now possible to pay in euros in 19 different EU Member States – making annoying conversions and expensive foreign exchange fees a thing of the past. In all the euro countries taken together, average inflation from 2010 to 2016 was only 1.26 percent and remained astonishingly stable during the euro crisis.8

9. The EU makes holidaying within Europe more affordable. From June of this year, roaming charges for mobile phone usage in other EU countries are discontinued in all 28 Member States. Accidents while on holidays also no longer mean financial ruin. The costs are covered by the individual's health insurance company throughout the EU.9

10. It is thanks to the EU that air travel is no longer a privilege of the social elite. The hard-fought liberalisation of air traffic has seen a dramatic drop in ticket prices – by 41 percent in the period 1992 to 2000 alone. According to the German Aerospace Centre, passengers now pay an average of 64 to 107 euros for an air ticket This means even low-income families can now fulfil their dream of a holiday in the south of Europe.10

11. The freedom to travel through Europe without any lengthy traffic jams on the Dutch border or the need to show your passport – is all thanks to the Schengen Agreement of 1985.11

12. The EU protects its citizens from data-hungry companies. Since 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation makes it easier for EU citizens to protect their personal data and receive information about stored data.12

13. Europe is making online shopping safer. For purchases of everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances, sellers must inform customers of all the costs involved in the transaction. Customers must be able to access the hotline without incurring toll charges, which finally puts an end to any hidden phone costs. And if the seller does not deliver within 30 days, the customer can withdraw from the sales agreement.13

14. Since 1957 the per-capita real GDP of the six founding nations, including the Federal Republic of Germany, has more than tripled – this is primarily due to the economic dynamic triggered by the European Single Market. The Single Market generates important gains for citizens and businesses in the EU. Each year, the EU’s GDP is 1.7% higher as a result of integration, which amounts to €250 billion per year.14

15. And last but not least - for six decades now, the EU has been securing peace on our continent. This might seem to go without saying but it doesn't: the vast majority of EU citizens have never experienced war in their own country. This is no small privilege. Before 1945, almost every generation suffered under armed conflict. Let's make sure the longest period of peace in European history does not come to an end due to recklessness and egoism.


1 Bertelsmann Study: 20 Years EU Single Market
2 AmCham Study: The EU-Single Market
3 EU Regional Policy
4 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 34
5 EU Commission
6 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 36
7 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 41
8 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 15
9 European Parliament; EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 37
10 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 28; German Aerospace Center
11 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 30
12 EU Commission
13 EU Commission Report: 60 Reasons for the EU, p. 23
14 KFW Study; AmCham Study: The EU Single Market