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Europe :: European Union
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European Union
  • Introduction :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • Following the two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a number of far-sighted European leaders in the late 1940s sought a response to the overwhelming desire for peace and reconciliation on the continent. In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed pooling the production of coal and steel in Western Europe and setting up an organization for that purpose that would bring France and the Federal Republic of Germany together and would be open to other countries as well. The following year, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up when six members - Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands - signed the Treaty of Paris.
    The ECSC was so successful that within a few years the decision was made to integrate other elements of the countries' economies. In 1957, envisioning an "ever closer union," the Treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the six member states undertook to eliminate trade barriers among themselves by forming a common market. In 1967, the institutions of all three communities were formally merged into the European Community (EC), creating a single Commission, a single Council of Ministers, and the body known today as the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but in 1979 the first direct elections were undertaken and have been held every five years since.
    In 1973, the first enlargement of the EC took place with the addition of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The 1980s saw further membership expansion with Greece joining in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis for further forms of cooperation in foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal affairs, and in the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This further integration created the European Union (EU), at the time standing alongside the European Community. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU/EC, raising the membership total to 15.
    A new currency, the euro, was launched in world money markets on 1 January 1999; it became the unit of exchange for all EU member states except Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In 2002, citizens of those 12 countries began using euro banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the EU in 2004 - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007 and Croatia in 2013, bringing the current membership to 28. (Seven of these new countries - Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia - have now adopted the euro bringing total euro zone membership to 19.)
    In an effort to ensure that the EU could function efficiently with an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (signed in 2000) set forth rules to streamline the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish a "Constitution for Europe," growing out of a Convention held in 2002-2003, foundered when it was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005. A subsequent effort in 2007 incorporated many of the features of the rejected draft Constitutional Treaty while also making a number of substantive and symbolic changes. The new treaty, referred to as the Treaty of Lisbon, sought to amend existing treaties rather than replace them. The treaty was approved at the EU intergovernmental conference of the then 27 member states held in Lisbon in December 2007, after which the process of national ratifications began. In October 2009, an Irish referendum approved the Lisbon Treaty (overturning a previous rejection) and cleared the way for an ultimate unanimous endorsement. Poland and the Czech Republic signed on soon after. The Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009 and the EU officially replaced and succeeded the EC. The Treaty's provisions are part of the basic consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union (TUE) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE) now governing what remains a very specific integration project.
    The evolution of what is today the European Union (EU) from a regional economic agreement among six neighboring states in 1951 to today's hybrid intergovernmental and supranational organization of 28 countries across the European continent stands as an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals of history. Dynastic unions for territorial consolidation were long the norm in Europe; on a few occasions even country-level unions were arranged - the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were examples. But for such a large number of nation-states to cede some of their sovereignty to an overarching entity is unique.
    Although the EU is not a federation in the strict sense, it is far more than a free-trade association such as ASEAN, NAFTA, or Mercosur, and it has certain attributes associated with independent nations: its own flag, currency (for some members), and law-making abilities, as well as diplomatic representation and a common foreign and security policy in its dealings with external partners.
    Thus, inclusion of basic intelligence on the EU has been deemed appropriate as a new, separate entity in The World Factbook. However, because of the EU's special status, this description is placed after the regular country entries.
  • Geography :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • Europe between the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to the east
    Europe
    total: 4,324,782 sq km
    less than one-half the size of the US
    total: 13,271 km
    border countries (17): Albania 212 km, Andorra 118 km, Belarus 1,176 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 956 km, Holy See 3 km, Liechtenstein 34 km, Macedonia 396 km, Moldova 683 km, Monaco 6 km, Montenegro 19 km, Norway 2,375 km, Russia 2,435 km, San Marino 37 km, Serbia 1,353 km, Switzerland 1,729 km, Turkey 415 km, Ukraine 1,324 km
    note: data for European continent only
    65,992.9 km
    NA
    cold temperate; potentially subarctic in the north to temperate; mild wet winters; hot dry summers in the south
    fairly flat along Baltic and Atlantic coasts; mountainous in the central and southern areas
    lowest point: Lammefjord, Denmark -7 m; Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands -7 m
    highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m; note - situated on the border between France and Italy
    iron ore, natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, uranium, potash, salt, hydropower, arable land, timber, fish
    154,539.82 sq km (2011 est.)
    2,057.76 cu km (2011)
    flooding along coasts; avalanches in mountainous area; earthquakes in the south; volcanic eruptions in Italy; periodic droughts in Spain; ice floes in the Baltic
    various forms of air, soil, and water pollution; see individual country entries
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
    signed but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
  • People and Society :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
    note: only the 24 official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue - about 18% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken foreign language - about 38% of the EU population is conversant with it (2013)
    Roman Catholic 48%, Protestant 12%, Orthodox 8%, other Christian 4%, Muslim 2%, other 1% (includes Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu), atheist 7%, non-believer/agnostic 16%, unspecified 2% (2012 est.)
    511,434,812 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    0-14 years: 15.4% (male 40,489,605/female 38,450,957)
    15-24 years: 11.2% (male 29,297,915/female 28,019,963)
    25-54 years: 42.1% (male 108,580,059/female 106,875,351)
    55-64 years: 12.7% (male 31,624,447/female 33,531,109)
    65 years and over: 18.5% (male 40,278,139/female 54,287,267) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    note - see individual country entries of member states
    .22% (2014 est.)
    10.17 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    10.17 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    2.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    total: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 4.77 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    total population: 80.02 years
    male: 77.19 years
    female: 83.01 years (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    1.60 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    5.4 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    note - see individual country entries of member states
    note - see individual country entries of member states
    note - see individual country entries of member states
  • Government :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • conventional long form: European Union
    abbreviation: EU
    a hybrid and unique intergovernmental and supranational organization
    name: Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg; note - the European Council, a gathering of the EU heads of state and/or government, and the Council of the European Union, a ministerial-level body of ten formations, meet in Brussels, Belgium, except for Council meetings held in Luxembourg in April, June, and October; the European Parliament meets in Brussels and Strasbourg, France, and has administrative offices in Luxembourg; the Court of Justice of the European Union is located in Luxembourg; and the European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt, Germany
    geographic coordinates: (Brussels) 50 50 N, 4 20 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    28 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK; note - candidate countries: Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey
    note: there are non-European overseas countries and territories (OCTs) having special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the UK (list is annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), that are associated with the Union to promote their economic and social development; member states apply to their trade with OCTs the same treatment as they accord each other pursuant to the treaties
    7 February 1992 (Maastricht Treaty signed establishing the European Union); 1 November 1993 (Maastricht Treaty entered into force)
    note: the Treaties of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957 and subsequently entered into force on 1 January 1958, created the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community; a series of subsequent treaties have been adopted to increase efficiency and transparency, to prepare for new member states, and to introduce new areas of cooperation - such as a single currency; the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 and entered into force on 1 December 2009 is the most recent of these treaties and is intended to make the EU more democratic, more efficient, and better able to address global problems with one voice
    Europe Day (also known as Schuman Day) 9 May (1950); note - the day in 1950 that Robert SCHUMAN proposed the creation of what became the European Coal and Steel Community, the progenitor of today's European Union, with the aim of achieving a united Europe
    none; note - the EU legal order relies primaily on two consolidated texts encompassing all provisions as amended from a series of past treaties: the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as modified by the Lisbon Treaty, states in Article 1 that "the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION ... on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common"; Article 1 of the TEU states further that the EU is "founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as 'the Treaties')," both possessing the same legal value; Article 6 of the TEU provides that a separately adopted Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union "shall have the same legal value as the Treaties"
    unique supranational law system in which, according to an interpretive declaration of member-state governments appended to the Treaty of Lisbon, "the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States" under conditions laid down in the case law of the Court of Justice; key principles of EU law include fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and as resulting from constitutional traditions common to the EU's states; EU law is divided into 'primary' and 'secondary' legislation; the treaties (primary legislation) are the basis for all EU action; secondary legislation - which includes directives, regulations, and decisions - are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treaties
    18 years of age (16 years in Austria); universal; voting for the European Parliament is permitted in each member state
    under the EU treaties there are three distinct institutions, each of which conducts functions that may be regarded as executive in nature:
    the European Council: brings together heads of state and government, along with the president of the European Commission, and meets at least four times a year; its aim is to provide the impetus for the development of the Union and to issue general policy guidelines; leaders of the EU member states appointed former Belgian Prime Minister Herman VAN ROMPUY to be the first full-time president of the European Council in November 2009; he took office on 1 December 2009 for a two-and-one-half-year term, renewable once; leaders confirmed VAN ROMPUY for a second term in March 2012; the present president is Donald TUSK who took up his duties on 1 December 2014; the core responsibilities of the president include chairing the EU summit meetings, acting as a facilitator, and providing policy and organizational continuity
    the Council of the European Union: consists of ministers of each EU member state and meets regularly in ten configurations depending on the subject matter; it conducts policy-making and legislative functions; ministers of EU member states chair meetings of the Council of the EU based on a six-month rotating presidency (except for the meetings of EU Foreign Ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council that are chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy)
    the European Commission: headed by a College of Commissioners composed of 28 members (including the president), one from each member country; each commissioner is responsible for one or more policy areas; the Commission's main responsibilities include the sole right to initiate EU legislation (except for foreign and security/defense policy), promoting the general interest of the EU, acting as "guardian of the Treaties," (that is monitoring the application of EU law), implementing the EU budget and managing programs and negotiating on the EU's behalf in core policy areas such as trade; its current president is Jean-Claude JUNCKER who took office on 1 November 2014; the president of the European Commission is nominated by the European Council, taking into account the results of the European Parliament elections and formally "elected" by the European Parliament; the Commission president allocates specific responsibilities among the Commission members appointed by common accord of the member state governments in consultation with the president-elect; the European Parliament confirms the entire Commission for a five-year term; the next confirmation process will likely be held in the fall of 2019
    note: for external representation and foreign policy making, leaders of the EU member states appointed Federica MOGHERINI of Italy as the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; MOGHERINI took office on 1 November 2014, succeeding Catherine ASHTON of the UK (2009-14); the High Represntative's concurrent appointment as Vice President of the European Commission endows the position with policymaking influence (subject to the Council's approval) and the budgetary/management influence of the European Commission; the High Representative helps develop and implement the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) component, chairs the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), represents and acts for the Union in many international contexts, and oversees the European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic corps of the EU, established on 1 December 2010
    description: two legislative bodies consisting of the Council of the European Union (28 seats; ministers representing the 28 member states and the European Parliament (751 seats; seats allocated among member states roughly in proportion to population size; members elected by proportional representation to serve 5-year terms); note - the European Parliament President, currently Martin SCHUTZ (German Socialist) is elected by a majority of fellow members of the European Parliament (MEP) and represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally; the Council of the EU and the MEP share responsibilities for adopting the bulk of EU legislation, acting on a Commission proposal
    elections: last held on 22-25 May 2014 (next to be held May-June 2019)
    election results: percent of vote - EPP 29.43%, S&D 25.43%, ALDE 8.92%, Greens/EFA 6.66%, ECR 9.32%, GUE/NGL 6.92%, EFD 6.39%, independents 6.92%; seats by party - EPP 221, S&D 191, ALDE 67, Greens/EFA 50, ECR 70, GUE/NGL 52, EFD 48, independents 52
    note: the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ensures that EU law is interpreted and applied uniformly throughout the EU, resolves disputed isssues among the EU institutions and with member states, issues opinions on questions of EU law referred by member state courts
    highest court(s): ECJ (consists of 28 judges - 1 from each member state); the court may sit as a full court, in a "Grand Chamber" of 13 judges in special cases but usually in chambers of 3 to 5 judges
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the common consent of the member states to serve 6-year renewable terms
    subordinate courts: General Court; Civil Service Tribunal
    Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left or GUE/NGL [Gabriele ZIMMER]
    Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group or EFD [Nigel FARAGE and David BORRELLI]
    European Conservatives and Reformists Group or ECR [Syed KAMALL]
    Group of Greens/European Free Alliance or Greens/EFA [Rebecca HARMS and Philippe LAMBERTS]
    Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe or ALDE [Guy VERHOFSTADT]
    Group of the European People's Party or EPP [Manfred WEBER]
    Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats or S&D [Gianni PITELLA]
    ARF, ASEAN (dialogue member), Australian Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CERN, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-8, G-10, G-20, IDA, IEA, IGAD (partners), LAIA (observer), NSG (observer), OAS (observer), OECD, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), UN (observer), UNRWA (observer), WCO, WTO, ZC (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador David O'SULLIVAN (since 18 November 2014)
    chancery: 2175 K Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20037
    telephone: [1] (202) 862-9500
    FAX: [1] (202) 429-1766
    chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony Luzzatto GARDNER (since 18 March 2014)
    embassy: 13 Zinnerstraat/Rue Zinner, B-1000 Brussels
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [32] (2) 811-4100
    FAX: [32] (2) 811-5154
    a blue field with 12 five-pointed gold stars arranged in a circle in the center; blue represents the sky of the Western world, the stars are the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity; the number of stars is fixed
    a circle of 12, five-pointed, golden yellow stars on a blue field; union colors: blue, yellow
    name: "Ode to Joy""
    lyrics/music: no lyrics/Ludwig VON BEETHOVEN, arranged by Herbert VON KARAJAN
    note: adopted 1972; official EU anthem since 1985; the song is meant to represent all of Europe rather than just the organization, conveying ideas of peace, freedom, and unity; the song also serves as the anthem for the Council of Europe
  • Economy :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • Internally, the 28 EU member states have adopted the framework of a single market with free movement of goods, services and capital. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic weight. Despite great differences in per capita income among member states (from $13,000 to $82,000) and in national attitudes toward issues like inflation, debt, and foreign trade, the EU has achieved a high degree of coordination of monetary and fiscal policies. A common currency – the euro – circulates among 19 of the member states, under the auspices of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Eleven established EU states introduced the euro as their common currency on 1 January 1999 (Greece did so two years later). Since 2004, 13 states acceded to the EU that are, in general, less advanced economically than the other member states. Of the 13, Slovenia (2007), Cyprus and Malta (2008), Slovakia (2009), Estonia (2011), Latvia (2014), and Lithuania (2015) have adopted the euro; 7 other member states - not including the UK and Denmark, which have formal opt-outs - are required by EU treaties to adopt the common currency upon meeting fiscal and monetary convergence criteria. Following the 2008-09 global economic crisis, the EU economy saw moderate GDP growth in 2010 and 2011 but has struggled since the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone intensified in 2011. Despite EU/IMF rescue programs in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus, significant drags on growth remain, including high public and private debt loads, low domestic demand that discourages investment, aging populations, onerous regulations, and high unemployment. In response, EU leaders plan to use $28 (€21) billion in public money as seed capital to attract private investors to fund $421 [€315] billion in infrastructure projects from 2015 to 2017, focusing on energy, broadband, transport, education, and research and innovation. The eurozone has implemented a banking union to increase financial stability and improve lending conditions, with the European Central Bank taking the lead in banking supervision in the region. The ECB has also expressed its intent to widen its asset-buying program - including government debt if necessary - to fend off deflation and improve borrowing conditions in the euro zone. In another effort to restore economic growth and create jobs, in 2013 the EU and the United States started negotiations on an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the goal of expanding already massive trade and investment flows.
    $18.01 trillion (2014 est.)
    $17.77 trillion (2013 est.)
    $17.75 trillion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 2
    $18.24 trillion (2014 est.)
    1.4% (2014 est.)
    0.1% (2013 est.)
    -0.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    $39,200 (2014 est.)
    $38,700 (2013 est.)
    $38,600 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 42
    19.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    19% of GDP (2012 est.)
    19.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    household consumption: 56.9%
    government consumption: 21.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 17.9%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 44.9%
    imports of goods and services: -42.9%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 1.8%
    industry: 25.2%
    services: 73% (2014 est.)
    wheat, barley, oilseeds, sugar beets, wine, grapes; dairy products, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry; fish
    among the world's largest and most technologically advanced regions, the EU industrial base includes: ferrous and non-ferrous metal production and processing, metal products, petroleum, coal, cement, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, construction equipment, industrial equipment, shipbuilding, electrical power equipment, machine tools and automated manufacturing systems, electronics and telecommunications equipment, fishing, food and beverages, furniture, paper, textiles
    0.6% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    224.2 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    agriculture: 5.2%
    industry: 22.7%
    services: 72.2% (2012 est.)
    9.9% (2014 est.)
    10.5% (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    note - see individual country entries of member states
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 23.9% (2012 est.)
    30.6 (2012 est.)
    30.8 (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    NA
    1.5% (2013 est.)
    2.6% (2012 est.)
    0.75% (31 December 2013)
    1.5% (31 December 2012)
    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
    country comparison to the world: 136
    5.9% (31 December 2010 est.)
    7.52% (31 December 2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $6.736 trillion (31 December 2013)
    $6.219 trillion (31 December 2012)
    note: this is the quantity of money, M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union, e.g., UK pounds, Danish kroner, and Czech koruny
    country comparison to the world: 1
    $12.9 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $12.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: this is the quantity of broad money for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of broad money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
    country comparison to the world: 2
    $21.71 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $21.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: this figure refers to the euro area only; it excludes credit data for non-euro-area members of the EU
    country comparison to the world: 1
    $10.4 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $9.36 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $10.56 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    -$34.49 billion (2011 est.)
    -$5.73 billion (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $2.173 trillion (2012 est.)
    $2.174 trillion (2011 est.)
    note: external exports, excluding intra-EU trade
    country comparison to the world: 2
    machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, aircraft, plastics, iron and steel, wood pulp and paper products, alcoholic beverages, furniture
    $2.312 trillion (2012 est.)
    $2.404 trillion (2011 est.)
    note: external imports, excluding intra-EU trade
    country comparison to the world: 2
    fuels and crude oil, machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, precious gemstones, textiles, aircraft, plastics, metals, ships
    $863.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: this includes reserves held by the European Central Bank and euro-zone national central banks; it excludes reserves for non-euro-area members of the EU
    country comparison to the world: 3
    $15.95 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $14.78 trillion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    $NA
    euros per US dollar -
    0.7489 (2014 est.)
    0.7634 (2013 est.)
    0.78 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • 3.26 trillion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    2.798 trillion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    343.9 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    363.1 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    9.071 billion kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    50.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    13.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    16.3% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    19.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    1.437 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    6.804 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    11.62 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    12.77 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    2.196 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    8.613 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    146.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    438.1 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    93.75 billion cu m (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    420.6 billion cu m (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    1.573 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    3.914 billion Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
  • Communications :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • 226 million (2011)
    629 million (2011)
    note - see individual country entries of member states
    AM 930, FM 13,655, shortwave 71 (1998); note - sum of individual country radio broadcast stations; there is also a European-wide station (Euroradio)
    2,700 (1995); note - sum of individual country television broadcast stations excluding repeaters; there is also a European-wide station (Eurovision)
    .eu; note - see country entries of member states for individual country codes
    201,116; note - this sum reflects the number of Internet hosts assigned the .eu Internet country code (2012)
    340 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • 3,102 (2013)
    total: 1,858
    over 3,047 m: 118
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 335
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 504
    914 to 1,523 m: 422
    under 914 m: 479 (2013)
    total: 1,244
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,437 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
    914 to 1,523 m: 245
    under 914 m: 982 (2013)
    90 (2013)
    total: 230,548 km (2013)
    total: 10,582,653 km (2013)
    53,384 km (2013)
    major port(s): Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Braila (Romania), Bremen (Germany), Burgas (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania), Copenhagen (Denmark), Galati (Romania), Gdansk (Poland), Hamburg (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain), Le Havre (France), Lisbon (Portugal), London (UK), Marseille (France), Naples (Italy), Peiraiefs or Piraeus (Greece), Riga (Latvia), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Split (Croatia), Stockholm (Sweden), Talinn (Estonia), Tulcea (Romania), Varna (Bulgaria)
  • Military :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • 1.65% of GDP (2012)
    1.66% of GDP (2011)
    1.65% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    the five-nation Eurocorps - created in 1992 by France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Luxembourg - has deployed troops and police on peacekeeping missions to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and assumed command of the ISAF in Afghanistan in August 2004; Eurocorps directly commands the 5,000-man Franco-German Brigade, the Multinational Command Support Brigade, and EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina; in November 2004, the EU Council of Ministers formally committed to creating 13 1,500-man battle groups by the end of 2007, to respond to international crises on a rotating basis; 22 of the EU's 28 nations have agreed to supply troops; France, Italy, and the UK formed the first of three battle groups in 2005; Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Finland established the Nordic Battle Group effective 1 January 2008; nine other groups are to be formed; a rapid-reaction naval EU Maritime Task Group was stood up in March 2007 (2007)
  • Transnational Issues :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • as a political union, the EU has no border disputes with neighboring countries, but Estonia has no land boundary agreements with Russia, Slovenia disputes its land and maritime boundaries with Croatia, and Spain has territorial and maritime disputes with Morocco and with the UK over Gibraltar; the EU has set up a Schengen area - consisting of 22 EU member states that have signed the convention implementing the Schengen agreements or "acquis" (1985 and 1990) on the free movement of persons and the harmonization of border controls in Europe; these agreements became incorporated into EU law with the implementation of the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam on 1 May 1999; in addition, non-EU states Iceland and Norway (as part of the Nordic Union) have been included in the Schengen area since 1996 (full members in 2001), Switzerland since 2008, and Liechtenstein since 2011 bringing the total current membership to 26; the UK (since 2000) and Ireland (since 2002) take part in only some aspects of the Schengen area, especially with respect to police and criminal matters; nine of the 13 new member states that joined the EU since 2004 joined Schengen on 21 December 2007; of the four remaining EU states, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia are obligated to eventually join, while Cyprus' entry is held up by the ongoing Cyprus dispute
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