The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. It was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993, upon the foundations of the pre-existing European Economic Community. With almost 500 million citizens, the EU combined generates an estimated 30% share of the gross world product.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states, guaranteeing the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital. It maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development. Sixteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro. It has developed a limited role in foreign policy, having representation at the WTO, G8 summits, and at the UN. Twenty-one EU countries are members of NATO.
12 December 2009: Romania, President
19 September 2010: Sweden, General
(by July 2012): Ireland, Parliament
(by 3 June 2010): United Kingdom, General
(by 5 May 2011): Wales, Devolution referendum
(by April 2010): Austria, President
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