Guide to the EU

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Welcome to the quick travel guide to the European Union

Here you will find details of each individual country in the European Union, its geography, customs, economy and resorts. This guide is designed to be a quick and handy reference to the EU and the 27 member countries. See the links on the left for each country's individual page. 

                                                                  

The European Union (EU) is currently composed of 27 sovereign member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. At the present time (2010) there are three countries which have applied to join the EU, these are Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey. Two European countries which have opted not to join the EU are Switzerland and Norway. 

European Capital Cities   Map of the European Union

Brief history

The European Economic Community (EEC) was originally founded in 1957 by six states comprising; Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined. Norway also applied to join at this time but its citizens voted no, to membership, in a referendum. Greece joined in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. After the fall of the Berlin Wall East Germany joined the EEC as it reunited with West Germany. 

In November 1993 the European Union (EU) came into being with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. In 1995 Austria, Sweden and joined the EU. In 2004 the largest expansion of the EU took place when ten countries joined. Many of these counties had been members of the Soviet Union until 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the counties left the Union. These counties consist of Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Hungary. Cyprus and Malta also joined at this time. The latest expansion was in 2007 when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. 

A notable exception to membership of the European Union is Switzerland which is not a member and seems to have no intention of joining even though it is at the center of Europe geographically. 

 

European Union fact file

Currently (2010) the EU has a population of 501,250,000 and covers an area of 4,324,782 square kilometers. The total GDP is $14.79 trillion which gives an per capita income of $29,729. There are 23 languages in use among the member states.

           Rome Italy          Stockholm Sweden

The five EU countries with the largest populations are Germany with 82.2 million people; France - 65m; United Kingdom - 61.1m; Italy - 59.3m and Spain with 46.6m. 

The five largest cities in the EU are - London 7.5 million; Berlin 3.4m; Madrid 3.2m; Rome 2.7m; and Paris 2.1m.

In terms of area the five largest countries within the EU are;  France with 547,030 square kilometers; Spain - 504,782 sq km; Sweden - 449,964 sq km; Germany - 357,021 sq km; Finland - 338,445 sq km.

 

The Euro is the currency of 16 of the 27 member states, these are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and  Spain. There are 11 countries using their own currency these are; Britain - pound;  Bulgaria - lev;  Czech - koruna; Denmark - krone; Estonia - kroon; Hungary - forint;  Latvia - lats; Lithuania - litas; Poland - zloty; Romania - leu and Sweden - krona. 

Map of the European Union

 
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EU Capital Cities (in alphabetical order of countries)

Vienna (Austria)   Brussels (Belgium)  Sofia (Bulgaria)   Nicosia (Cyprus)  Prague (Czech Republic)  Copenhagen (Denmark)  Tallinn (Estonia)  Helsinki (Finland)  Paris (France)  Berlin (Germany)  Athens (Greece)  Budapest (Hungary)  Dublin (Ireland)   Rome (Italy)    Riga (Latvia)

Vilnius (Lithuania)  Luxembourg (Luxembourg)  Valletta (Malta)  Amsterdam (Netherlans)  Warsaw (Poland)  Lisbon (Portugal)  Bucharest (Romania)  Bratislava (Slovak Republic)  Ljubljana (Slovenia)  Madrid (Spain)  Stockholm (Sweden)  London (United Kingdom)

 

 

 

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Guide to Europe

Travel Guide to the European Union 2013