European Union|Definition, History, Structure, & Members

Introduction: The European Union is a union of twenty-seven (27) independent states based on the European Communities and founded to raise political, social, and financial cooperation formerly known as the European Community or European economic community (EEC).

European Union was established by six states and the community was enlarged for the first time in 1973, 1981, 1986, 1995, and 2004.

European Union creation


European Union has till now 27 member states, they are.

(1). Austria (2). Belgium (3). Bulgaria (4). Croatia (5). Denmark (6). Finland (7). France (8). Germany (9). Greece (10). Ireland (11). Italy (12). Luxemburg (13). Netherland (14). Portugal (15). Spain (16). Sweden (17). United Kingdom (18). Cyprus. (19). Czech Republic (20). Estonia (21). Hungary (22). Latvia (23). Lithuania (24). Malta (25). Poland (26). Slovakia (27). Slovenia 


Many European leaders after the second world war were thinking about the crucial issue of how to avoid such devastating wars in Europe in the future.

Two French leaders Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman were working on a plan to implement the idea of functionalism in Europe. Robert Schuman in a speech in 1950 emphasized the need for the formation of a federated Europe for the building of lasting peace in Europe.

This idea was floated at a time when Europe was in process of rebuilding. Its war tear economy with the help of Marshall’s aid from the U.S Which itself was designed to provide stability and peace to the region by rebuilding the economy. These were the first glimpses of a united Europe or what we call the European Union today.

European Union Commission

Winston Churchill was the first leader to talk about European integration when speaking in Zurich on the 19th of September 1946. He called for the united states of Europe. His words might have seemed too optimistic rather idealistic to some of the leaders of his time, which was a time period of turmoil for Europe, But today Europe is seriously thinking over the issue of uniting itself.

The origin of the European Union can be dated back to 1950 when the French foreign minister Robert Schuman merged the French and German steel and coal industries into a single framework that could most efficiently use the two states’ coal resources and steel mills.

The Schuman plan gave birth to the European coal and steel community (ECSC) in 1952, in which France and Germany were joined by Italy and three smaller countries Belgium, Netherland, and Luxemburg.


Since the formation of the European coal and steel community, the community underwent many phases of change to finally evolve into the modern European Union.


The first landmark towards amalgamation after the creation of the European coal and steel community was attained with the treaty of Rome. Which came into effect on the 1st of January 1958. In the treaty the six member states established two new organizations.


The European Atomic Energy Community was created to co-operate nuclear power development by pooling research, investment, and administration in that area.


The second organization was the European Economic Community. It stood for the eradication of all hindrances to the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor between member states and the formation of common policies in the sphere of agriculture and transport, and a common external financial policy.


The Maastricht treaty of 1991 renamed European Union and called for a single currency and naval and economical integration. That is to work for a common foreign policy and joint defense structure. The treaty after having a hard time for approval in some member states entered into force on 1st November 1993.


The Amsterdam treaty signed on October 1997 made certain amendments to the treaty on European Union and the treaty founding European currency. 


On the economic side, it defines the challenges and articulation of continuing the scope of common commercial policy to include international agreements on services and intellectual property rights.

On the side of common foreign and security policy (CFSP), it calls for an enhanced and uncomplicated funding system for common foreign and security policy.


The treaty of Nice signed on 26 February 2001 calls for some modification in the voting system and admittance of new members into the union of the European Union. This treaty has however not been accepted by all the member states.


The European Union headquarters is stationed in Brussels. European Union according to the Maastricht treaty of 1991 has a pillar structure. The European Union is the European Community. 

The second pillar is the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the third is the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The community pillar is further divided into the following institutions.


The European Union since the time the community was formed in 1950 has helped the member states a lot in improving their per capita GNP and living standards with the help of reduction of barriers to regional free trade, which not only made the firms exploit large economies but also improve their competitive strength.

European union common market

The European currency helped to coordinate the trade policies of the member states for greater efficiency and competitiveness at a time when it was facing threats from a strong economy like that of the U.S and Japan.

It is argued that this arrangement has not only facilitated intra-European Union trade but has also helped improve the trade relation of the organization with the rest of the world.


The Euro which presently is an abstract unit like IMF, SDR is used mostly by national governments to buy and sell other currencies. The adoption of the Euro is not that simple.

The different issues need to be sorted out before the adoption of the Euro as a common currency. The economies of different states having different growth rates inflation and interest rates will need to be harmonized. 

For this purpose European Union under the Maastricht treaty is working to equalize the European economies and has increased the European Union budget by 25 billion dollars per annum to provide economic assistance to poor states.

If new members are included in European Union and the Euro-Zone, their economies will also need to be upgraded to the required standards.

The European Union has managed this problem by restricting its membership in the monetary union. To achieve membership in the monetary union, a state will have to maintain a budget deficit of less than of state GDP, national debt below 60% of its GDP, and an inflation rate not more than 15% above the average of the three lowest inflation European members.

Moreover, a state will have to keep its interest rates below and its national currency stable.


In the field of trade and integration of common market, European Union has achieved landmarks and will continue to benefit its member states through the Euro adoption. The main goal of the formation of the European Union was free trade among its member states.

It removed the trade barriers among its member states that they faced before the creation of the European Union. European Union created unity among the European countries and no doubt they achieved the goal for which they created such a powerful and strong union.

Who are the 27 members of the EU?

The European Union countries are (1). Austria (2). Belgium (3). Bulgaria (4). Croatia (5). Denmark (6). Finland (7). France (8). Germany (9). Greece (10). Ireland (11). Portugal (12). Luxemburg (13). Malta (14). Italy (15). Sweden (16). Spain (17). United Kingdom (18). Cyprus. (19). Czech Republic (20). Estonia (21). Hungary (22). Latvia (23). Lithuania (24). Netherland (25). Poland (26). Slovenia (27). Slovakia

What is the European Union and what is its purpose?

The main purpose of the European Union within its borders is to advocate peace and stability, and the welfare of its citizens. European Union also offers freedom of speech, equal rights, free trade, and safety to the people of its member countries.

What are the 5 countries in the EU?

EU5 countries mean Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain.

What is the difference between NATO and the EU?

Nato is a defensive and military organization. The main aim behind the creation of Nato was to keep a check on the expansion of the communist block. On the other hand, European Union is a financial, political, and economical organization. It focuses on the economical growth of the people of its member states.
Nato conducts and manages military operations while European Union works on the political and economical development of its citizens.