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European Union
European Union
Following the two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a number of European leaders in the late 1940s became convinced that the
only way to establish a lasting peace was to reconcile the two chief belligerent nations - France and Germany - both economically and politically. In 1950,
the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed an eventual union of all Europe, the first step of which would be the integration of the coal and
steel industries of Western Europe. The following year, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up when six members, Belgium, France,
West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, signed the Treaty of Paris.
The ECSC was so successful that within a few years the decision was made to integrate other elements of the countries' economies. In 1957, envisioning an
"ever closer union," the Treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the
six member states undertook to eliminate trade barriers among themselves by forming a common market. In 1967, the institutions of all three
communities were formally merged into the European Community (EC), creating a single Commission, a single Council of Ministers, and the body known
today as the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but in 1979 the first direct elections
were undertaken and have been held every five years since.
In 1973, the first enlargement of the EC took place with the addition of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The 1980s saw further membership
expansion with Greece joining in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis for further forms of cooperation in
foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal affairs, and in the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This
further integration created the European Union (EU), at the time standing alongside the European Community. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined
the EU/EC, raising the membership total to 15.
A new currency, the euro, was launched in world money markets on 1 January 1999; it became the unit of exchange for all EU member states except
Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In 2002, citizens of those 12 countries began using euro banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the
EU in 2004 - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007
and Croatia in 2013, bringing the current membership to 28.
In an effort to ensure that the EU could function efficiently with an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (signed in 2000) set forth rules aimed at
streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish a "Constitution for Europe," growing out of a Convention held in 2002-2003,
foundered when it was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005. A subsequent effort in 2007 incorporated many of the features of the
rejected Constitution while also making a number of substantive and symbolic changes. The new treaty, initially known as the Reform Treaty but
subsequently referred to as the Treaty of Lisbon, sought to amend existing treaties rather than replace them. The treaty was approved at the EU
intergovernmental conference of the 27 member states held in Lisbon in December 2007, after which the process of national ratifications began. In October
2009, an Irish referendum approved the Lisbon Treaty (overturning a previous rejection) and cleared the way for an ultimate unanimous endorsement.
Poland and the Czech Republic signed on soon after. The Lisbon Treaty, again invoking the idea of an "ever closer union," came into force on 1 December
2009 and the European Union officially replaced and succeeded the European Community.
Preliminary statement:
The evolution of what is today the European Union (EU) from a regional economic agreement among six neighboring states in 1951 to today's hybrid
intergovernmental and supranational organization of 28 countries across the European continent stands as an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals
of history. Dynastic unions for territorial consolidation were long the norm in Europe; on a few occasions even country-level unions were arranged - the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were examples. But for such a large number of nation-states to cede some of their
sovereignty to an overarching entity is unique.
Although the EU is not a federation in the strict sense, it is far more than a free-trade association such as ASEAN, NAFTA, or Mercosur, and it has certain
attributes associated with independent nations: its own flag, currency (for some members), and law-making abilities, as well as diplomatic representation
and a common foreign and security policy in its dealings with external partners.
Thus, inclusion of basic intelligence on the EU has been deemed appropriate as a new, separate entity in The World Factbook. However, because of the EU's
special status, this description is placed after the regular country entries.
European Union
Europe between the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to the east
Map references:
4,324,782 sq km
Area - comparative:
less than one-half the size of the US
Land boundaries:
12,440.8 km
border countries:
Albania 282 km, Andorra 120.3 km, Belarus 1,050 km, Croatia 999 km, Holy See 3.2 km, Liechtenstein 34.9 km, Macedonia 394 km,
Moldova 450 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Norway 2,348 km, Russia 2,257 km, San Marino 39 km, Serbia 945 km, Switzerland 1,811 km, Turkey 446 km, Ukraine
1,257 km
data for European Continent only
65,992.9 km
Maritime claims:
cold temperate; potentially subarctic in the north to temperate; mild wet winters; hot dry summers in the south
fairly flat along the Baltic and Atlantic coast; mountainous in the central and southern areas
Elevation extremes:
lowest point:
Lammefjord, Denmark -7 m; Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands -7 m
highest point:
Mont Blanc 4,807 m; note - situated on the border between France and Italy
Natural resources:
iron ore, natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, uranium, potash, salt, hydropower, arable land, timber, fish
Land use:
arable land:
permanent crops:
72.34 (2011)
Irrigated land:
154,539.82 sq km (2011 est.)
Total renewable water resources:
2,057.76 cu km (2011)
Natural hazards:
flooding along coasts; avalanches in mountainous area; earthquakes in the south; volcanic eruptions in Italy; periodic droughts in Spain; ice floes in the
Environment - current issues:
Environment - international agreements:
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Marine Living
Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
People and Society
European Union
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese,
Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
only the 24 official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue
- about 18% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken foreign language - about 38% of the EU population is conversant with it (2013)
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish
509,365,627 (July 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Age structure:
0-14 years:
15.41% (male 40,260,485/female 38,227,892)
15-24 years:
11.39% (male 29,658,221/female 28,372,384)
25-54 years:
42.31% (male 108,552,954/female 106,950,141)
55-64 years:
12.68% (male 31,342,550/female 33,262,502)
65 years and over:
18.21% (male 39,348,896/female 53,389,602) (2013 est.)
Median age:
note - see individual country entries of member states
Population growth rate:
0.21% (2013 est.)
Birth rate:
10.19 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate:
10.13 deaths/1,000 population
country comparison to the world:
Net migration rate:
2.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth:
1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years:
1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years:
1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years:
1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years:
0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over:
0.74 male(s)/female
total population:
0.96 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
4.43 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world:
4.89 deaths/1,000 live births
3.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
5.9% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
7.52% (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$6.736 trillion (31 December 2013)
country comparison to the world:
$6.219 trillion (31 December 2012)
this is the quantity of money, M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of
money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
Stock of broad money:
$12.9 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$12.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
this is the quantity of broad money for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of
broad money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
Stock of domestic credit:
$21.71 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$21.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
this figure refers to the euro area only; it excludes credit data for non-euro-area members of the EU
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$10.4 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$9.36 trillion (31 December 2011)
$10.56 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Current account balance:
-$34.49 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world:
-$5.73 billion (2010 est.)
$2.173 trillion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$2.174 trillion (2011 est.)
external exports, excluding intra-EU trade
Exports - commodities:
machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, aircraft, plastics, iron and steel, wood pulp and paper products, alcoholic
beverages, furniture
$2.312 trillion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$2.404 trillion (2011 est.)
external imports, excluding intra-EU trade
Imports - commodities:
fuels and crude oil, machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, precious gemstones, textiles, aircraft, plastics, metals, ships
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$812.1 billion (31 December 2011)
country comparison to the world:
$863.8 billion (31 December 2011); this includes reserves held by the European Central Bank and euro-zone national central banks; it excludes
reserves for non-euro-area members of the EU
Debt - external:
$15.95 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
$14.78 trillion (31 December 2011)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar -
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
European Union
Electricity - production
3.255 trillion kWh (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Electricity - consumption:
3.037 trillion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Electricity - installed generating
868.4 million kW (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Crude oil - production:
1.857 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Crude oil - proved reserves:
5.568 billion bbl (1 January 2013 es)
country comparison to the world:
Refined petroleum products -
12.05 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Refined petroleum products -
12.8 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Refined petroleum products -
2.196 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Refined petroleum products -
8.613 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Natural gas - production:
164.6 billion cu m (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Natural gas - consumption:
443.9 billion cu m (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Natural gas - exports:
93.75 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Natural gas - imports:
420.6 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world:
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.953 trillion cu m (1 January 2012 es)
country comparison to the world:
Carbon dioxide emissions from
consumption of energy:
3.978 billion Mt (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world:
European Union
Telephones - main lines in use
226 million (2011)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
629 million (2011)
Telephone system:
note - see individual country entries of member states
Internet country code:
.eu; note - see country entries of member states for individual country codes
Internet hosts:
201,116; note - this sum reflects the number of Internet hosts assigned the .eu Internet country code (2012)
Internet users:
340 million (2009)
European Union
3,102 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways:
over 3,047 m:
2,438 to 3,047 m:
1,524 to 2,437 m:
914 to 1,523 m:
under 914 m:
479 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
over 3,047 m:
2,437 to 3,047 m:
1,524 to 2,437 m:
914 to 1,523 m:
under 914 m:
982 (2013)
90 (2013)
461,096 km (2013)
10,582,653 km (2013)
53,384 km (2013)
Ports and terminals:
major port(s):
Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Braila (Romania), Bremen (Germany), Burgas (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania), Copenhagen (Denmark),
Galati (Romania), Gdansk (Poland), Hamburg (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain), Le Havre (France), Lisbon (Portugal), London
(UK), Marseille (France), Naples (Italy), Peiraiefs or Piraeus (Greece), Riga (Latvia), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Stockholm (Sweden), Talinn (Estonia), Tulcea
(Romania), Varna (Bulgaria)
European Union
Military expenditures
1.65% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world:
1.66% of GDP (2011)
1.65% of GDP (2010)
Military - note:
the five-nation Eurocorps - created in 1992 by France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Luxembourg - has deployed troops and police on peacekeeping
missions to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and assumed command of the ISAF in Afghanistan in August 2004;
Eurocorps directly commands the 5,000-man Franco-German Brigade, the Multinational Command Support Brigade, and EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
in November 2004, the EU Council of Ministers formally committed to creating 13 1,500-man battle groups by the end of 2007, to respond to international
crises on a rotating basis; 22 of the EU's 27 nations have agreed to supply troops; France, Italy, and the UK formed the first of three battle groups in 2005;
Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Finland established the Nordic Battle Group effective 1 January 2008; nine other groups are to be formed; a rapid-reaction
naval EU Maritime Task Group was stood up in March 2007 (2007)
Transnational Issues
European Union
Disputes - international
as a political union, the EU has no border disputes with neighboring countries, but Estonia has no land boundary agreements with Russia, Slovenia
disputes its land and maritime boundaries with Croatia, and Spain has territorial and maritime disputes with Morocco and with the UK over Gibraltar; the
EU has set up a Schengen area - consisting of 22 EU member states that have signed the convention implementing the Schengen agreements or "acquis"
(1985 and 1990) on the free movement of persons and the harmonization of border controls in Europe; these agreements became incorporated into EU law
with the implementation of the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam on 1 May 1999; in addition, non-EU states Iceland and Norway (as part of the Nordic Union)
have been included in the Schengen area since 1996 (full members in 2001), Switzerland since 2008, and Liechtenstein since 2011 bringing the total
current membership to 26; the UK (since 2000) and Ireland (since 2002) take part in only some aspects of the Schengen area, especially with respect to
police and criminal matters; nine of the 12 new member states that joined the EU since 2004 joined Schengen on 21 December 2007; of the three
remaining EU states, Romania and Bulgaria may join in 2013 or 2014, while Cyprus' entry is held up by the ongoing Cyprus dispute


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