What is European Union? Explained



The European Union, or EU, is a political and economic entity that consists of 27 European countries. The EU, which began as a collection of western European countries, extended into eastern and central Europe in the twenty-first century. One of the core members, the United Kingdom, left the group in 2020.

The EU as we know it now was founded in 1993 by the Maastricht Treaty, which aimed to improve the region's economic and political unity by establishing a single currency, a single security policy, and common European citizenship. Within the Schengen Area, the organization's policy provides for free movement of people, capital, services, and products. Currently, 19 EU member states utilize the Euro as their common currency.

Historical Background 

Following WWII, numerous European leaders, notably Winston Churchill, began to advocate for a unified Europe. The concept of a unified Europe was both political and economic in nature. By fostering security, long-term peace between Germany and France, economic prosperity, and the reinforcement of democracy in the area, the integration intended to avoid any future conflict. In 1951, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Paris, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

Coal, steel, coke, iron ore, and scraps all have free-trade zones created by the ECSC. It also removed limitations on industrial production in West Germany. The Common Assembly (modern-day European Parliament), Council of Ministers (now the Council of the EU), and High Authority were all formed by the organisation (renamed European Commission). The Court of Justice was in charge of interpreting treaties and resolving disputes that occurred as a result of them.

The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community. The EEC was in charge of creating custom unions, whereas Euratom was in charge of integrating the nuclear energy industry. The Common Assembly and the courts were shared by the three communities. The member states decided to unite the three communities into a single organisation in 1965, and the Merger Treaty was signed in Brussels. The European Community was established on July 1, 1967, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force.

On January 1, 1973, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark became members of the European Community, marking the start of the Union's enlargement. The Maastricht Treaty, commonly known as the Treaty of the European Union, was signed on February 7, 1992, in response to multiple enlargements in the 1980s and pending admissions. Despite opposition from certain nations, such as Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom, the revised treaty went into force the next year (November 1, 1993), establishing the European Union. Three pillars supported the treaty: shared security and foreign policy, European Communities, and home and international affairs.

Member of the state 

Following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union in 2020, the European Union expanded from its original six founding nations to 28 member states (in 2020) to the current 27 members. 

  1. Luxembourg, 
  2. France, 
  3. Netherland
  4. Belgium, 
  5. West Germany
  6. Italy 
The six original members. In 1957, these six countries established the European Economic Community, which later became the European Union in 1993. In successive enlargements, the remaining nations joined the organization. 

  1. Bulgaria,
  2. Croatia,
  3. Cyprus,
  4. Czech Republic, 
  5. Denmark,
  6.  Estonia, 
  7. Finland, 
  8. Greece
  9.  Hungary, 
  10. Ireland, 
  11. Lithuania, 
  12. Latvia, 
  13. Malta, 
  14. Poland, 
  15. Portugal, 
  16. Romania, 
  17. Spain, 
  18. Slovakia, and the 
  19. Slovenia, and 
  20. Sweden.
  21. United Kingdom is all EU members.

The Treaties of the European Union, which comprise the Union's constitutional foundation, are signed by all member states. As a result, all of the states share the membership's responsibilities and benefits. Apart from the member nations, the Union includes up to sixteen overseas territories, nine of which are French colonies. 

  • Aruba, the Azores, 
  • The Canary Islands, 
  • Curaçao, 
  • Guadeloupe, 
  • Mayotte, 
  • French Polynesia, and
  • Madeira is among the member territories.

How Is the EU Governed?

The EU works under the framework of the founding treaties and EU legislation that have been approved and implemented in various forms. The European Union has seven decision-making entities or organs: 

  • The European Council, 
  • The Council of European Union, 
  • The European Parliament, 
  • The European Commission, 
  • The European Court of Auditors, 
  • The European Central Bank, and 
  • The European Court of Justice. 
The European Council is the highest political authority, comprised of the Council's president, the President of the European Commission, and representatives from all 27 member states (mostly heads of states or governments). The EC sets policy, resolves disputes among member nations, and negotiates treaties.

The European Commission is the executive body of the Union, in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Union. It also makes new legislative proposals. The Commission is made up of 27 commissioners, with one acting as president.

The Council of the European Union is one of the three EU legislative bodies, with a representative from each of the 27 member states. The European Parliament collaborates with the European Council to study, modify, and approve laws presented by the Commission. It is made up of 705 members who are directly chosen by EU people.

Economic Situation

After the United States, the EU has the world's second-largest net worth, accounting for around 20% of global wealth. After US dollars, the Euro is the world's second-largest reserve currency. The EU has a single market, which allows free movement of people, capital, commodities, and services among member nations. A uniform external tariff is also levied on all goods entering the EU market from outside the EU. The European Central Bank is in charge of overseeing the Euro and other monetary policies inside the EU.


Although the phrases EU and Eurozone are sometimes used interchangeably, their applications and meanings differ. While the EU is a political and economic organization with 27 member nations, the Eurozone is the area of the world's countries that use the Euro currency. Despite the fact that all EU members agreed to utilize the Euro, only 19 of the 27 member nations do so. Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, and Bulgaria are the only member nations that do not utilize the currency.

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