An economic and political union currently consisting of 28 European member states.
The current members are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK).
A referendum in the UK in June 2016 resulted in a vote for the UK to begin the process of leaving the EU.
The UK formally 'triggered' Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, starting an initial two-year period of negotiations over the terms of the exit and arrangements thereafter.
Areas of work
The three areas which form the union are:
- The European Community
- Common Foreign and Security Policy
- Police and Judicial co-operation in Criminal Matters
The legislature of the EU includes the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
The EU's judicial bodies include the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which includes the General Court and the Court of Auditors.
- Article 50
- Court of Justice of the European Union
- Direct effect
- Economic and Financial Affairs Council
- EU 27
- euro zone
- European Commission
- European Community
- European Court of Justice
- European Council
- European Economic and Monetary Union
- European Economic Area
- European Investment Bank
- European Parliament
- Official Journal of the European Union
- Payment Services Directive
- Schengen Area