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The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that

are primarily located in Europe. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent
institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. Institutions of the
EU include the European Commission, theCouncil of the European Union, the European Council,
the Court of Justice of the European Union and also.
The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the
European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958,
respectively. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in

After World War II, moves


towards European integration
were seen by many as an
escape from the extreme forms
of nationalism that had
devastated the continent.

The 1948 Hague Congress


was a pivotal moment in
European federal history, as
it led to the creation of the
European Movement
International. The 1952
saw the creation of the
European Coal and Steel
Community, which was
declared to be "a first step
in the federation of Europe

The founding members


of the Community
were Belgium, France, It
aly, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands,
and West Germany.

The EU has established a single market in all Member States. A monetary union, the euro area
is composed of 17 member states which use the euro. In 2010 the EU generated an estimated
26% (16.242 billion dollars) of gross domestic product in the world, so the EU is the largest
economy in the world. It is the largest exporter, the largest importer of goods and services and
the largest trading partner for many countries like China, India and USA.

The creation of a European single


currency became an official
objective of the European
Economic Community in 1969.
However, it was only with the
advent of the Maastricht Treaty in
1993 that member states were
legally bound to start the monetary
union no later than 1 January
1999.
All other EU member states,
except Denmark and the United
Kingdom, are legally bound to join
the euro when the convergence
criteria are met, however only a
few countries have set target
dates for accession. Sweden has
circumvented the requirement to
join the euro by not meeting the
membership criteria.

While the EU
population is the third
largest in the world
after China and India,
in 2003 contributed
less than 2%
population growth
worldwide has
increased by 75
million.
In most countries of
southern Europe has
been a shift from a
situation of high birth
rates and lower death
rates from birth,
although this
phenomenon has
emerged decades
later than in other
more developed
European countries.