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Place Schuman, Brussels, commemorating the European Year of the Environment 1987



The European Union in EU’s own words
© European Union, 1995-2024

Below is the history of, and the current situation in, “Europe” as told by the European Union
 Source: European Union


Map of the European Union showing the 27 Member States. Those in cream are not part of the EU.

What is the European Union? The European Union is a group of 27 countries in Europe. These countries came together to make things better, easier and safer for people. They agreed to work together and help each other.


How the European Union started. The idea to create the European Union came after two big wars broke out in Europe [i.e., the First and Second World Wars]. Countries in Europe saw that it was better to work together than to fight against each other.

Treaty of Paris signed on 18 April 1951 establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in Paris

In the beginning, only 6 European countries started working together [named the European Coal and Steel Community]: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Soon, more and more countries in Europe joined them and the European Union [EU]was made.

Today, 27 countries [form part] of the [supranational] European Union [which is a spillover from the Coal and Steel Community.


Removal of the Union Jack from the European Commission on 31 January 2020 signifying the end ofg the UK’s membership in the EU

Brexit. In June 2016 the United Kingdom decided to stop being part of the European Union. Accordingly,  on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom ceased being an EU member.


The goals and values of the European Union. All countries that are part of the European Union work together to make sure that:

  • there is peace in Europe
  • people have good lives
  • things are fair for all people and nobody is left out
  • the languages and cultures of all people are respected
  • there is a strong European economy and countries use the same coin to do business together.

The countries of the European Union share some important values. For example, they work to make sure that all people are equal and their rights are respected.

Peace in Europe. After the European Union was created, there were no more wars between the [EU] countries. All [EU] countries now work together in peace.
In 2012, the EU won a big award, ‘the Nobel Peace Prize’, for its good work keeping peace in Europe.
[Ed’s note: Per the Nobel Prize website, the EU was awarded the Peace Prize for having contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, as well as democracy and human rights in Europe over six decades, promoting friendly relations between “archenemies” Germany and France. Spain, Portugal, and Greece were especially cited in the Award as having had their democracies strengthened thanks to the European Union.]


Easier for people to move around

Free move. The European Union has made it easier for people to move freely from one [Member State] to another. They can live, study, or work in any country of  [their choice within] the European Union.


> Featured image/Trougnouf (Benoit Brummer), CC BY-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
> EU map/©European Union
> Treat of Paris/Marc Barronet. Source: Archives du ministère des affaires étrangères, traités, multilateraux, La Courneuve. CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
> Brexit ©European Union
> People holding hands ©European Union
> EU Nobel Peace Prize, ©European Union
> People moving about/Gerd Altmann from Pixabay. Retouched, Flipped.