What is the European Union?
A unique economic and political partnership between 27 democratic European countries.
What are its aims?
Peace, prosperity and freedom for its 498 million citizens — in a fairer, safer world.
What results so far?
Frontier-free travel and trade, the euro (the single European currency), safer food and a greener environment, better living standards in poorer regions, joint action on crime and terror, cheaper phone calls, millions of opportunities to study abroad … and much more besides.
How does it work?
To make these things happen, EU countries set up bodies to run the EU and adopt its legislation. The main ones are:
* the European Parliament (representing the people of Europe);
* the Council of the European Union (representing national governments);
* the European Commission (representing the common EU interest).
Click on the map of Europe. Choose two countries, read their description and compare them.
Source: Official website of EU