The European Union is an international organization that now consists of 27 European countries. It governs the common economic, social and security policies of its member states.
- It operates an internal (or single) market that allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.
- The 19 EU countries use EURO as their official currency. But eight EU members namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden do not use the euro.
Origin of the European Union:
- Despite not being officially formed until 1993, the European Union’s foundations actually reach further back to 1957, when the European Economic Community was established.
- The EEC was formed out of a previous group called the European Coal and Steel Community – which had its own start in 1951.
- In 1993, the EEC morphed into the European Union following the new Maastricht Treaty (also known as the Treaty on European Union).
- Additionally, the Treaty of Lisbon, enacted in 2009, gave the European Union more broad powers that included being authorized to sign international treaties, increase border patrol, and other security and enforcement provisions.
- The EU covers the following three organisations with common membership:
- European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), formed in 1951.
- European Economic Community (EEC) or European Common Market (ECM) formed in 1957.
- European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), formed in 1958.