The European Union is a political and economic organisation in Europe with the purpose of unifying Europe for both the sake of peace and economic strength. The EU originally grew out of the Coal and Steel Community set up by the European superpowers to regulate the means for war and prevent the tragedies of World War 1 and 2 from repeating themselves. As the community proved itself beneficitial it was expanded uppon and new member states joined, eventually growing into the quasi governmental body of Europe we know today.

Members of the European Union contribute to the EU and allow it's continued operation by paying membership fees, these are themselves paid for through taxes. In other words, the EU citizens pay to keep the EU going. One might wonder if this is responsibly spent money. The economic growth and political stability Europe has enjoyed since it's inception suggests that it is. Citizens of the members states of the EU are themselves also EU Citizens. Meaning European laws and benefits apply to them, such as the freedom of movement between EU member states.

Besides these clearly defined EU member states there are a few nations where the lines are a bit fuzzy. These are close allies to the EU and enjoy certain benefits of EU laws without being member states themselves while still paying membership fees. (Leichtenstein, Iceland and Norway.) This phenomenom is elaborated uppon in the next paragraph.

EU Laws

Members of the EU and it's closest allies (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) are members or participants of the Schengen area. The Schengen areas are defined as regions with free movement of people and goods. Meaning any citizen of a county or city state in the Schengen area can move between countries part of the Schengen area without needing a passport or give a reason for their visit. This allows an EU citizen or member of the Schengen area to live, work and retire in any nation part of this area. These nations pay membership fees to be part of the Schengen area and are bound by EU laws. More commonly nations part of the Schengen area are referred to as the European Economic Area (EEA). Why a nation would choose to be part of the EEA but not the EU is simple. A nation part of the EU has to abide to all the rules of the EU. A nation part of the EEA grants them a pass in some areas of law, mainly farming and fishing, which a country who values those like Iceland may want to regulate themselves. Although having signed no official papers, the city states of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City in Rome are part of the Schengen area, as they do not have border controls with the Schengen countries that surround them.

How the EU itself works is hideously complicated. Many laws and rules within the EU and close allies of the EU have exceptions for different countries due to their complex and long histories. The governmental body of the EU itself can be explained as being divided into Legsilative power, Exective power and Judiciary power.

Together these institutes propose new laws and, if accepted, implement an execute them. EU laws apply to all of it's member states.


Eurozone

The Eurozones is defined as the nations with the right to mint and use Euros as their own currency. Austria, Belgium, Cyrpus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourhg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Solevakia, Slovenia, Spain. This includes the EU member states (minus the states with an insufficiently powerful Economy) and close allies such as San Marino, Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City. This however does not include the overseas territories belonging to any nation part of the Eurozone, such as the Dutch islands of CuraƧao or Sint Maarten or the French New Caledonia.

Member States

The European Union currently includes the following nations:

  • Austria (1995)
  • Belgium (1952)
  • Bulgaria (2007)
  • Croatia (2013)
  • Cyprus (2004)
  • Czech Republic (2004)
  • Denmark (1973)
  • Estonia (2004)
  • Finland (1995)
  • France (1952)
  • Germany (1952)
  • Greece (1981)
  • Hungary (2004)
  • Ireland (1973)
  • Italy (1952)
  • Latvia (2004)
  • Lithuania (2004)
  • Luxembourg (1952)
  • Malta (2004)
  • Netherlands (1952)
  • Poland (2004)
  • Portugal (1986)
  • Romania (2007)
  • Slovakia (2004)
  • Slovenia (2004)
  • Spain (1986)
  • Sweden (1995)
  • United Kingdom (1973)