18 Facts About the European Union


The European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

The euro is the official currency of the eurozone, which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

An economic union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a common market with a customs union.

Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

The European Union Explained* by CGP Grey


It has an area of 4,324,782 km2, and an estimated population of over 510 million.

Europe: From WWII To Today's European Union by Viking Cruises


The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states.

A common market is usually referred to as the first stage towards the creation of a single market.


EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.

The European Single Market, or Internal Market, is a single market that seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the "four freedoms" – within the European Union.


Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished.

A passport is a travel document, usually issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel.

The Schengen Area is the area including 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders.


A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.


The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making.


The seven principal decision-making bodies—known as the institutions of the European Union—are the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Auditors.

The European Council, charged with defining the EU's overall political direction and priorities, is the institution of the European Union that comprises the heads of state or government of the member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

The European Central Bank is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states and is one of the largest currency areas in the world.


The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community, formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively.

The European Coal and Steel Community was an international organisation serving to unify certain Continental European countries after World War II.

The European Economic Community was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states.

The Inner Six, or simply The Six, were the six founding member states of the European Communities.


The community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit.


The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship.

The Maastricht Treaty undertaken to integrate Europe was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands.

Citizenship of the European Union was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992, and has been in force since 1993.


The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km².

The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement which amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union.


Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2016 generated a nominal gross domestic product of 16.477 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 22.2% of global nominal GDP and 16.9% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.

Theories that invoke purchasing power parity assume that in some circumstances it would cost exactly the same number of, for example, US dollars to buy euros and then to use the proceeds to buy a market basket of goods as it would cost to use those dollars directly in purchasing the market basket of goods.

Gross domestic product is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period.


Additionally, 26 out of 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

The Human Development Index is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.


In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence.

This article deals with the workings of European Union foreign policy.


The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8, and the G-20.

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.


Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as a current or as a potential superpower.

This page is a summary of published academics' opinions.

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