The European Union (EU) is an international organisation of democratic European countries pledged to work together for peace and prosperity. Its historical roots go back to the Second World War. The idea was launched in 1950 by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister. On 9 May, ‘Europe Day’, we commemorate the declaration by R. Schuman, considered as the birth of the Union.
In 1951, the first European coal and steel community (ECSC) was made up of 6 ‘founding’ States: Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Other sectors in the economy were then added by the Treaties of Rome, integrating the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The Member States abolished commercial barriers to form a ‘common market’.
In 1967, these institutions merged (a single Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament). In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty brought in new forms of cooperation between the governments of the Member States. It gave birth to the European Union (EU). In 2002, twelve countries in the EU adopted the European single currency, the euro.
Today’s EU has 28 members : the six founding countries, plus Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. In some areas, the States transfer their sovereignty to the EU, while in others they cooperate among themselves.
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