Introduction to the European UnionThe European Union (EU) is a supranational and intergovernmental union of twenty-seven states in a category of its own. It was established in 1992 by the Treaty on European Union (The Maastricht Treaty), and is the de facto successor to the six-member European Economic Community founded in 1957. Since then new accessions have raised its number of member states, and competences have expanded.The EU is one of the largest economic and political entities in the world, with 494 million people and a combined nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of EUR11.6 (US$14.5) trillion in 2006. The Union is a single market with a common trade policy, a Common Agricultural/Fisheries Policy, and a Regional policy to assist underdeveloped regions. It introduced a single currency, the Euro, adopted by 13 member states. The EU initiated a limited Common Foreign and Security Policy, and a limited Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters.On 23 July 1952 six founding members formed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which was transformed into the European Community, later renamed the European Union, in waves of accession.Certain areas of the member countries were not part of the EU, like the Channel Islands, or the… Read full this story
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