Above the doors to the Main Library are inscribed the words, "The Hope of Democracy Depends Upon the Diffusion of Information and Knowledge." This accurately sums up the attitude of the founding fathers of our federal states. The basic tenets of our form of government require free and easy access to information concerning the workings of our government. It is very important to understand that this belief is not a universal one. Despite the democratic forms of goverment of and in the European Union, the information cultures from which these governments are formed do not universally subscribe to the same beliefs about freedom of access. This is reflected in the access and use policies that surround European Union publications. That being said, the EU provides some of the most robust government-related web pages available today.
The European Union is an organization that unites 27 European countries through common laws, economics, and security. The EU traces its origins to the aftermath of World War II, when European countries were seeking solidarity after years of war. The first pan-European organization was the Council of Europe, established in 1949 by founding members Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Three other organizations, knows as the "three communities" were established in the 1950s - the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). In 1967 the "three communities" joined to become the European Communities. Finally, in 1993 with the Treaty of Maastricht, the European Union as we know it today was born.
Follow the links below for some general information about the European Union.