What the European Union has done for you


Easy travel

Border crossings , customs checks and long waiting lines belong to the past. Today, holidaymakers can travel freely throughout Europe in the so-called “ Schengen Countries”. If you get ill in a foreign country you don’t have to pay for it. Driving licences are valid in all EU countries.


Living abroad

Europeans are free to live and work wherever they want in the European Union. About 15 million Europeans have moved across borders. An EU citizen living in another country gets the same treatment as a national citizen.


paid maternity

Paid Leave

The European Union guarantees that all Europeans, no matter where they work, get at least 4 weeks of paid holiday leave per year. EU laws also set standards for paid maternity.


Foreign Studies

Thousands of students take part in the foreign exchange programme Erasmus each year. This programme helps students learn foreign languages and gain experience of other cultures.


Cheaper flights


In the 1980s and 1990s the EU slowly banned monopolies in the air transport market. In the past two decades budget airlines have emerged almost everywhere and since 1992 prices have fallen by nearly 60 %. In the same time travellers have received a better choice of airlines and destinations.



Cheaper phone calls

During the 1990s the EU has also broken the monopolies of public telecom companies. The results were new private companies, more competition and cheaper phone calls. They have fallen by 80 % since 1984. A short time ago the EU has also succeeded in reducing the roaming costs on mobile phones.


Consumer protection

Consumers can send back a product bought anywhere in the EU if it breaks down within two years of purchase. Customers shopping on the Internet, by phone or mail order can also cancel a contract within seven days without giving a reason.


Food labellingFood labelling

All ingredients, as well as colouring, preservatives, sweeteners and other chemical additives must be put on food labels. Names of food that come from a certain geographical region, like Emmentaler cheese or Parma ham, are protected by the EU.


Cleaner air and rivers

In the last 20 years the EU has done a lot to improve the quality of air, rivers and beaches.

The European Union- Table of Contents



The European Union- Exercises


Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets:



  • additive =something that is added to food to give it a better taste or colour
  • ban = forbid
  • border crossing = the place where two countries meet
  • budget airlines = airlines that can fly very cheaply and do not have all the services that other companies have
  • cancel = call off, stop
  • certain = special
  • choice = option, alternative
  • colouring = something that gives colour to food
  • competition = when you want to be more successful than other people
  • consumer = someone who buys products
  • contract = an agreement that is signed by two people
  • customer = same as “consumer”
  • customs = place where your bags are checked when you enter a country
  • decade = ten years
  • destination = place that someone is going to
  • driving licence = a document that says that you are allowed to drive a car
  • emerge = come up
  • exchange = trade
  • experience = knowledge that you get from doing a job
  • foreign = a different
  • gain = get
  • guarantee = to promise something
  • ham = meat from the upper part of a pig’s leg
  • improve = to make better
  • ingredient = a single food that you use to make a meal
  • label = a piece of paper on food that tells you what’s in it
  • mail order = something you order which comes by mail
  • monopoly = companies that have complete control in a part of the economy
  • national citizen = a person who was born in a country and lives there
  • paid holiday leave = the time that you can spend on holidays without losing any money
  • paid maternity = time that a mother is allowed to spend away from work when she gets a baby - she gets some money from the state during this time
  • preservatives = something that is put into food so that it can’t become bad
  • protect = defend, guard
  • public = here: owned by the government
  • purchase = buy
  • reason = why something happens
  • receive = get
  • reduce = to make something smaller or less
  • roaming = when a mobile phone is in another country and uses a different network
  • Schengen = place where a treaty was signed which ends border controls in EU countries
  • standards = here: rules that all countries must accept
  • succeed = to do what you wanted or tried
  • sweetener = something that makes food sweet
  • throughout = in all of
  • treatment = something that a doctor or a hospital does to cure an ill person
  • valid = something that is officially or legally accepted