EU cooperation in Brussels
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
With effect from 1 May 2004 the following countries are also members: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithouania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.
The EU cooperation aims to attain a closer union between the nations of Europe. Its objectives include promoting economic and social progress, a high level of employment and achieving balanced, sustainable development. The means used to achieve this are creating an area without internal borders, strengthening economic and social unity and establishing an economic and monetary union with a single currency.
The EU institutions include the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union (which represents the individual Member States), the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. The Council decides on joint legislation, in some cases together with the European Parliament.
The European Union emerged gradually in stages after the Second World War. Milestones in its history include the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, the signing of the Treaties of Rome in 1957, which created the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and the European Economic Community (EEC), and the creation of the European Union (EU) in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. A programme to realise a single market with full mobility for goods, services, capital and people was adopted in 1985. Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was introduced in 1999.