Government and Administration – International – UN EC EEC EU

What are the United Nations (UN) and its Member States? What is the difference between the European Union (EU), the European Community (EC) and the EEC? What is the Commonwealth? What is a republic and what is a federal republic? What is a dictatorship or dictator and which countries are dictatorial? What is the job of an ambassador? Interesting questions and answers about government and political administration are clearly listed in this article.

Political Administration and Government

  • What is the United Nations?
  • Difference between European Union, European Community and EEC?
  • What is the Commonwealth – Commonwealth of Nations?
  • What is a republic and a federal republic?
  • When do you speak of a dictatorship or dictator?
  • What is the job of an ambassador?


What is the United Nations?

The United Nations is an international organization, a group of many countries that united in 1945 (after WWII) to promote world peace. The UN was founded by 51 countries and currently (in 2007) has 192 member states. The member states cooperate in the areas of international law, global security, the preservation of humanitarian (human) rights, the development of the world economy and the research of social and cultural developments.

The UN has six governing bodies: the Secretariat, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, the Trusteeship Council and, most famously, the Security Council. The UN sometimes deploys special forces to try to settle disputes and conflicts between countries or to monitor or guarantee peace and security. There are also various specialized organizations within the UN that deal with international social and economic problems, including Unicef, the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN headquarters are located in New York; there are sub-headquarters in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. The head of the UN, called the Secretary General, is currently Ban Ki-moon.

Difference between European Union, European Community and EEC?

EC European Community

The European Community is the more important of two European Communities; the other is the Euratom. Both together form the European Union. People don’t often talk about the European Community these days, but it still exists within the umbrella organization: the European Union. The European Community (EC) was created in 1993 and was before then the EEC (European Economic Community). Since there were many tasks and not only in the economic field, this changed to EC.

EU European Union

The European Union (EU) is an organization of several (majority) European states, which currently has 27 member states. The 27 countries are: Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and in 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined. There is cooperation

within the EU, including in political, economic and legal areas. For example, they are working on obstacles in the field of import and export duties (customs) between the Member States in order to promote trade, developing a common policy in the field of agriculture and traffic, etc. The intention was to also to unite politically with a joint Constitution for Europe, which has been rejected through referenda by France and the Netherlands, among others. If this Constitution were adopted, the name EC would disappear forever and be replaced by EU.

What is the Commonwealth – Commonwealth of Nations?

This usually refers to the British Commonwealth. This name is actually outdated, but is still used to indicate the difference with a commonwealth in general. A commonwealth in general is the name for a federation of states. The English term for commonwealth is commonwealth (which comes from the Latin ‘res publica’ from which the word republic is also derived).

The Commonwealth of Nations means the Commonwealth of Nations and is a voluntary association between 53 independent sovereign states, with the (symbolic) head of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Symbolic, as the member states are independent and self-governing.

The Commonwealth of Nations consists mainly of the United Kingdom and most of its former colonies (see the countries indicated in purple). The main exceptions are the Arab states and also Israel, which were previously under British control.

What is a republic and a federal republic?


The word republic comes from the French république, which in turn comes from the Latin res publica, which literally means public affairs and is translated as state. A republic is a country in which the people who are allowed to vote (the electorate) have the power to govern the country. The country is then actually governed – in terms of practical implementation – by an elected leader or president. A republic can have different models. In some countries there is a central government, such as in the Republic of France.

Federal Republic

In certain republics, such as the United States of America and Australia, a different model exists. These countries are called federal republics. This means that there is no central government, but an administration of various states or per state, which means that there may be different administration and different legislation and regulations in the different states.

When do you speak of a dictatorship or dictator?

Dictatorship Dictator

A dictator is a ruler of a country who has absolute power over his people. The dictator unites in one person (or in a small group around him) all the legislative, administrative and executive powers of a country. In a country ruled by a dictator – a dictatorship – there is usually only one political party; other parties are prohibited. A dictatorship is often ruled with support from or sometimes by the army. Constitutionally speaking, there is no parliamentary democracy in those countries, with the practical consequence that no elections are held.

Dictatorial countries

Examples of current countries – with dictatorial leaders in brackets – are: China (Hu Jintao), Cuba (Fidel Castro), Laos (Khamtai Siphandon), Libya (Moammar al-Qadhafi) and North Korea (Kim Jong Il).
Furthermore, there are countries in which no recent elections have been held to form a constitutional government and are therefore in fact dictatorial: Eritrea (Isaias Afworki), Myanmar (Than Shwe), Sudan (Omar al-Bashir) and Syria (Bashar al-Assad ). In addition, there are other countries that have held ‘elections’ (pro forma), but nevertheless exhibit dictatorial characteristics (which are not mentioned here for the sake of clarity).

What is the job of an ambassador?

Ambassador or Ambassador. Ambassadorship can entail two different functions, namely a representative of:

  • an organization or group (with a good purpose, for promotional purposes, in the Netherlands often fulfilled by celebrities, such as Marco Borsato for War Child)
  • the government of a country in another country or international organization (such as the United Nations). In this case, an ambassador in principle represents the head of state

An ambassador in the latter sense is a country’s chosen representative of that country in another country. The ambassador then lives in his embassy (in that other country) and talks to the leaders and other important figures of that country, for the benefit of his own country.
When another country sends a new ambassador to the Netherlands, he/she must first present his/her credentials to the Queen. Once the credentials have been accepted (approved), the ambassador is officially recognized in the position.

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