The founding member countries of the European Union are: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. Membership has risen to 28 countries, with another five candidate countries witing for approval to join. These are: Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. Several microstates in Europe are not EU members but use the common currency and cooperate with EU members in various policy areas. These include: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican.
Some of the European Union's institutions which have a bearing on various aspects of public policy in the EU are: the European Parliament (whose office-bearers are elected every five years), the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, and the European Council.
The common currency, the Euro, came into effect in 2002 and is now one of the world's major currencies. A common passport is also applicable in the Schengen Area which covers 22 European Union countries and four states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), which are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Facts about the EU :
- List of current EU countries (in alphabetical order) : Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
- Capital of the EU : Brussels (de facto, there is no official capital).
- President of the European Council : Herman Van Rompuy (Dutch).
- European Commission President : José Manuel Barroso (Portuguese).
- EU Flag : Depicts 12 golden stars on a deep blue background.
- EU Anthem : "Ode to Joy" by the great German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.
Last Updated : October 23, 2013