Profile: European Union

Map of 28 EU countries as of October 2013

The forerunner to the European Union was formed by six countries in 1952 and now has 28 members with a combined population of more than 500 million people.

It is set to expand even further, with several countries being considered for membership.

The European Union has its roots in the 1951 agreement by France, Germany and four other countries to pool coal and steel supplies, with the aim of ending "age-old rivalries".

In 1993 EU leaders adopted the so-called Copenhagen criteria setting standards for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, minority protection and civilian control over the military that all candidate states must meet to become members.

The maps below show how the economic bloc has grown over the years.

Map of first European Community 1952 The European Coal and Steel Community came into existence in July 1952. The Treaty of Rome creating a broader "common market" was signed five years later.
Map, 1973 The first enlargement took place in 1973, bringing in Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Norway voted not to join.
Map 1981 Greece became the 10th member in January 1981.
Map, 1986 Spain and Portugal joined on 1 Jan 1986.
Map: 1990 East Germany became part of the EU when Germany formally reunified on 3 October 1990.
Map: 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden joined in 1995. Norway voted against EU entry in a referendum in the previous year.
Map: 2004 Eight countries of central and eastern Europe — the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia — joined the EU, finally ending the post-war division of Europe. Cyprus and Malta also become members in what has been the EU's biggest enlargement.
Map: 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007
Map: 2013 Croatia became the newest member in 2013
Map: Candidate countries Five states are candidate counties, and are in the process of integrating EU legislation into national law.
Member state since: Member state since:

€ - Euro is official currency

Austrian flag

Austria

1995

Flag of Italy

Italy

1952

Flag of Belgium

Belgium

1952

Flag of Latvia

Latvia

2004

Flag of Bulgaria

Bulgaria

2007

Flag of Lithuania

Lithuania

2004

Flag of croatia

Croatia

2013

Flag of luxembourg

Luxembourg

1952

flag of Cyprus

Cyprus

2004

Flag of Malta

Malta

2004

Flag of Czech Republic

Czech Republic

2004

Flag of Netherlands

Netherlands

1952

Flag of denmark

Denmark

1973

Flag of Poland

Poland

2004

Flag of Estonia

Estonia

2004

Flag of Portugal

Portugal

1986

Flag of Finland

Finland

1995

Flag of Romania

Romania

2007

Flag of France

France

1952

Flag of slovakia

Slovakia

2004

Flag of Germany

Germany

1952

Flag of Slovenia

Slovenia

2004

Flag of Greece

Greece

1981

Flag of Spain

Spain

1986

Flag of Hungary

Hungary

2004

Flag of Sweden

Sweden

1995

Flag of Ireland

Ireland

1973

Flag of UK

United Kingdom

1973

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