The European Union (EU) is an international organization comprises 28 countries from the continent of Europe. They are all considered the members of the European Union. 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.
Since 2015, the European Union leaders are:
European Parliament president – Antonio Tajani
European Council president – Donald Tusk
European Commission president – Jean-Claude Juncker
Here is a list of the 28 members of the European Union, as of 2018 –
|Country||EU Member Since|
|Belgium||January 1, 1958|
|Denmark||January 1, 1973|
|Greece||January 1, 1981|
|Portugal||January 1, 1986|
|Austria||January 1, 1995|
|Cyprus||May 1, 2004|
|Bulgaria||January 1, 2007|
|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.