The EU refers to the European Union. The EU is an economic and political union of 27 member states. The EU originated from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The Maastricht Treaty established the EU under its current name in 1993. The latest amendment of the EU's constitutional bais, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into forice in 2009.
The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational indepedent institutions and intergovernemntally made decisions negotiated by the member states. The EU's primary institutions are the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, European Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament (parliemtnarians ar elected for 5 year yerms by EU citizens).
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states including the abolition of passport controls within the Schengen area.
To join the EU, an applicant state must qualify the Copenhagen criteria as defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council.
- Original 6 founding states: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands.
- Primary Treaties: Paris Treaty (23 July 1952); Rome Treaty (1 January 1958); Maastricht Treaty (1 November 1993); Lisbon Treaty (1 December 2009)
- Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are not EU members.