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How many Countries are Members of the European Union? - Answers

How many Countries are Members of the European Union?

Europe Map highlighting European Union Countries
Map of European Union Countries

The European Union (EU) is an international organization made up of 28 member countries from the continent of Europe. This union is centered on the furtherance of common economic and socio-cultural goals and cooperation in a number of matters including defense, trade, and technology-transfer. Initially, only countries from Western Europe were EU members but subsequently a number of countries across the eastern and central parts of the continent also became members. Here is a list of all the 28 EU members as of June 2017 –

Country EU Member Since
Belgium January 1, 1958
France
Germany
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Denmark January 1, 1973
Ireland
United Kingdom
Greece January 1, 1981
Portugal January 1, 1986
Spain
Austria January 1, 1995
Finland
Sweden
Cyprus May 1, 2004
Czech Republic
Estonia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Poland
Slovakia
Slovenia
Bulgaria January 1, 2007
Romania
Croatia July 1, 2013

In 1957, six European nations – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany – came together and decided to form the European Economic Community (EEC). Other nations such as the UK, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined in subsequently. The main focus of the community was to facilitate free trade and work towards the economic growth of the member states. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty came into force and the EEC was transformed into the European Union. Some 16 countries joined the EU in subsequent years.

Membership of the EU is granted only to countries that meet the “Copenhagen criteria” – a set of criteria spelt out during the European Council meeting held in Copenhagen in 1993. The criteria include that the prospective members have deep-rooted commitments towards democracy, human rights, and rule of law. A functioning market economy is also imperative. The members when accepted may enjoy equal rights and privileges but will also have certain obligations to fulfill.

While the EU has 28 members, not all member countries are part of the Eurozone. The Eurozone consists of 19 EU member states, 2 non-member states and 4 micro states that have adopted the Euro as their official currency. 9 EU members do not use the Euro as their currency. No member state has hitherto left the European Union. In 1985, Greenland (an autonomous province of Denmark), however, announced its withdrawal. Apart from this, the UK held an election in June, 2016, and narrowly voted to leave the EU. This has led to the term ‘Brexit,’ and UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s launching of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – a process of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Related Maps:

EU Member Countries
EU Member Countries
European Union Flag
European Union Flag
Europe Map
Europe Map

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