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European Union

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

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The euro was launched on 1 January 1999, when it became the currency of more than 300 million people in Europe. For the first three years it was an invisible currency, only used for accounting purposes, e.g. in electronic payments. Euro cash was not introduced until 1 January 2002, when it replaced, at fixed conversion rates, the banknotes and coins of the national currencies like the Belgian franc and the Deutsche Mark.

Today, euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in 16 of the 27 Member States of the European Union, including the overseas departments, territories and islands which are either part of, or associated with, euro area countries. These countries form the euro area. The micro-states of Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City also use the euro, on the basis of a formal arrangement with the European Community. Andorra, Montenegro and Kosovo likewise use the euro, but without a formal arrangement.

Click on the picture for an interactive map of Euro area

Click here to learn about security features of Euro banknotes.

Play a game. Find the security features

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