The European Union (EU)
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.
- 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.
How the EU Functions
Because the European Union has formed over time and is constantly adding new members, its methods of operation continue to evolve in order to incorporate the varied needs of its members. The EU is currently comprised of several governing bodies and institutions. Below are sites that cover both the EU at large, and the various organizations within it.
- If you’re looking for detailed financial or voting records, visit the Web sites that represent each individual body independently; these sites are affiliated with Europa, the umbrella Web site that covers the European Union at large.
- If you want news about the EU from an outside perspective, see some of the sites listed in the “EU News” section of this Web guide.
As the European Union expands to include an increasing number of countries, the organization faces ever-changing dynamics and challenges. The following media sources show you the broad range of arguments and perspectives that encompass current European Union debates and news, both from the EU perspective and from external sources, mainstream and independent alike.
- If you want news from the EU perspective, visit any of the individual branch Web sites recommended in the previous section.
- Although we’ve suggested some worthwhile blogs in this guide, there are thousands of other great resources to choose from. If you like what you see, go to the blogrolls of the sources listed below for more recommendations.