The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. Committed to regional integration, the EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993 upon the foundations of the European Economic Community. With almost 500 million citizens, the EU combined generates an estimated 30% share (US$18.4 trillion in 2008) of the nominal gross world product and about 22% of the PPP gross world product.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states, ensuring the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. It maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Sixteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro, constituting the Eurozone. The EU has developed a limited role in foreign policy, having representation at the WTO, G8, G20 and at the UN. It enacts legislation in justice and home affairs, including the abolition of passport controls by the Schengen agreement between 22 EU and 3 non-EU states.
As an international organisation, the EU operates through a hybrid system of supranationalism and intergovernmentalism. In certain areas, decisions are made through negotiation between member states, while in others, independent supranational institutions are responsible without a requirement for unanimity between member states. Important institutions and bodies of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Court of Justice, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by member states' citizens, to whom the citizenship of the European Union is guaranteed.
The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community formed among six countries in 1951 and the Treaty of Rome formed in 1957 by the same states. Since then, the EU has grown in size through enlargement, and in power through the addition of policy areas to its remit.
Alternate versions of the European Union have been discovered throughout the multiverse:
- European Alliance (Great Global War)
- European Capital District (Bye Bye Belgium)
- European Community (Central World)
- European Economic Community (Byzantine Glory)
- European Union (1861: Historical Failing)
- European Union (1941: Success)
- European Union (An Independent in 2000)
- European Union (A Southron World)
- European Union (Aztec Empire)
- European Union (Empire of Forever)
- European Union (Groß-Deutschland)
- European Union (H5N1Z)
- European Union (New Union)
- European Union (Hitler is an American---Version 1)
- European Union (Ok Stalin)
- European Union (One Europe Under A Union)
- European Union (Ready for the Mother Country)
- European Union (Scotland says "Yes")
- European Union (Washington Shot at Murdering Town!)
- UEN (Union of European Nations)
- Union of Europe (No Napoleon)
- EUSSR (Communist Europe)