History of the EU

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The European Union (EU)

The foundation of the European Union (EU) was created in the aftermath of World War II in response to the economic, social and political devastations that resulted from nationalist divisions within Europe. The EU has evolved over time to include 27 countries, and operates based on the decisions of numerous governing bodies within the organization. This guide introduces the history of the EU and how it was formed, and explores how it currently operates.

History of the EU

Find out how the six original members of the European Coal and Steel Community (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) formed in 1951 and then grew to include 21 other European countries. Use the sites below to discover the groups and elements that gave rise to the European Union as it currently exists.

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  • Current members of the EU include: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (1951); Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (1973); Greece (1981); Portugal and Spain (1986); Austria, Finland and Sweden (1995); Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia (2004); Bulgaria and Romania (2007).
  • If you want to learn more about the countries that comprise the EU, visit the CIA’s World Factbook for detailed country overviews.
  • Europa, the official EU Web site, is referenced throughout this guide as it provides an exhaustive overview of the EU, including its history, current members, operations and issues.

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