Glossary:European Union (EU)
From Statistics Explained
The European Union, abbreviated as EU, is an economic and political union of 27 European countries. The EU was established on 1 November 1993 by the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty).
On 31 December 1994, the EU had 12 Member States: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
From January 1995, the EU added three Member States: Austria, Finland and Sweden.
In May 2004, 10 more countries joined the EU: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. On 1 January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became members of the EU.
The EU today has a surface area of 4 326 183 km², 503 678 862 inhabitants (1 January 2012 estimate) and 23 official languages. The EU Member States are as follows: