What is the European Union?
The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 member states. It first developed over the decades immediately following the Second World War, with the first precursor—the European Coal and Steel Community—established in 1952 with six original members: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, more countries have joined as various treaties deepening co-operation and integration between member states have been agreed. The EU, formerly the European Economic Community, was established by the Maastricht Treaty, signed in 1992.