Glossary:European Union (EU)
From Statistics Explained
The European Union, abbreviated as EU, is an economic and political union of 28 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 latest country to accede was Croatia, on 1 July 2013.
The EU has a surface area of 4 413 844 km², 508 061 751 inhabitants (January 2012, provisional) and 24 official languages. The EU Member States are as follows: