The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 European countries, located primarily in Europe. It was established to promote peace, stability, and economic cooperation among its member states. The EU operates as a supranational organization, meaning that it has its own institutions, such as the European Commission and the European Parliament, which have authority over certain policy areas, while member states retain sovereignty in others.
One of the EU's core objectives is to create a single market, allowing the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people across its member states. This has led to increased trade and economic integration, benefiting the overall prosperity of the region. Additionally, the EU has a common currency, the Euro, used by 19 member states, further facilitating economic cohesion.
The EU also plays a crucial role in shaping policies on various issues, from environmental protection and consumer rights to foreign policy and human rights. It is known for its commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The EU promotes cooperation and decision-making through negotiation and consensus, aiming to find common ground among its diverse member states.
Over the years, the EU has expanded its membership and deepened its integration, contributing to greater stability and prosperity in Europe. It has faced various challenges, such as the management of the Eurozone crisis and the implications of Brexit, but it remains a significant player in global politics and economics.