The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries.
It has delivered half a century of peace, stability, and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single European currency, and is progressively building a single Europe-wide market in which people, goods, services, and capital move among Member States as freely as within one country.
The EU was created in the aftermath of the second world war. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: countries that trade with one another are economically interdependent and will thus avoid conflict.
Since then, the union has developed into a huge single market with the euro as its common currency. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy. Source: