The European Union (EU) is a supranational organization made up of 27 European member states that have chosen to cooperate in developing various social, political, and economic policies. Although the EU in its current incarnation was officially established in 1993 with the Treaty of Maastricht, its seeds were planted in 1953 when the European Coal and Steel Community, consisting of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, was created for the purpose of regulating certain industries. Over time, as more countries joined and priorities shifted, the EU developed as the organizational structure for broader European integration. The new community is now based on two amended treaties: the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the EU currently has a population of 447.7 million. Its member states, in order of accession, include: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia.
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