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( European Union EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km 2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of over 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters (only) where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.
The EU and
European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome. The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified an intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal.
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and the country's largest city, with a population of some 450,000. Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak presidency,
and government as well as home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other national economic, cultural and educational institutions. Most of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions have their headquarters in Bratislava. The city's past has been characterized by the strong influence of various peoples, including
. Bratislava still retains its cosmopolitan spirit. It hosts many festivals and trade shows and it is famous for its night life and leisure facilities.
Out of the 28 EU member states, 22 are also members of
NATO. Another three NATO members are EU applicants—Albania, Montenegro and Turkey.
EU population density in 2014
euro was introduced in 2002, replacing 12 national currencies. Seven countries have since joined.
Organigram of the political system with the seven institutions of the Unio in blue, national / intergovernmental elements in orange
The continental territories of the member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993), coloured in order of accession
The Roman Empire in AD 117, at its greatest extent (with its
vassals in pink).
Scheme of Indo-European migrations from c. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the
Kurgan hypothesis Area possibly settled up to c. 2500 BCE.
Area settled up to 1000 BCE.
EU Free trade agreements (2017)
European Union Agreement in force Pending
standardised passport design, displaying the name of the member state, the national arms and the words "European Union" given in their official language(s). (Irish model)
Eurozone (dark blue) represents 340 million people. The euro is the second-largest reserve currency in the world.
Approximate extent of completed motorway network in Europe as of March 2016
Parada Równości, Warsaw in 2018, the Court of Justice declared same-sex spouses have EU residence rights.
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