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The European Union (EU) is a group o 28 member states that are locatit primarily in Europe. The Union wis pitten thegither for cultural an economic ettils. Monie kintras in the Union bruiks the same siller, the euro.
The EU traces its origins frae the European Coal an Steel Community (ECSC) an the European Economic Community (EEC), formed bi the Inner Sax kintras in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervenin years the commonty an its successors hae grown in size bi the accession o new member states an in pouer bi the addeetion o policy auries tae its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union unner its current name in 1993. The latest major amendment tae the constitutional basis o the EU, the Treaty o Lisbon, came intae force in 2009.
The EU haes developed a single market through a standardised seestem o laws that apply in aw member states. Within the Schengen Aurie (which includes 22 EU an 4 non-EU states) passport controls hae been abolished. EU policies aim tae ensur the free movement o fowk, guids, services, an caipital, enact legislation in justice an home affairs, an maintain common policies on trade, agricultur, fisheries, an regional development.
The monetary union wis established in 1999 and came intae full force in 2002. It is currently componed o 18 member states that uise the euro as thair legal tender. Through the Common Foreign an Security Policy the EU haes developed a role in freemit relations an defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the warld an represents itself at the Unitit Naitions, the WTO, the G8, an the G-20.
The EU is considered bi mony tae be a potential superpouer. Wi a combined population o ower 500 million indwallers, or 7.3% o the warld population, the EU in 2012 generatit a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) o 16.584 trillion US dollars, constitutin approximately 23% o global nominal GDP an 20% when measured in terms o purchasin pouer parity, which is the lairgest nominal GDP an GDP PPP in the warld. The EU wis the recipient o the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.