European Union – A union of European countries formed to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its member states
You rope in to the union (European Union) as many countries as you can to join in free trade and cooperation.
The EU has developed an internal single market (for exports and imports between member states) through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member countries.
EU policies are designed to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the single market. Agreements also cover legislation in justice and home affairs and common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development.
Passport controls have been abolished for travel within what is known as the Schengen Area. This is a large area of Europe covered by 26 countries. The name “Schengen” comes from the small town in Luxembourg where the agreement to abolish passport controls was signed.
Nineteen EU member states use a common currency – the euro.
The UK – which never adopted the euro – officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, following a national referendum in 2016 in which just over 50 percent voted to leave. A new trade deal between the UK and the EU was agreed nearly a year later.