Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

 
Central Intelligence Agency
The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence
CIA - The World Factbook The World Factbook Home
CIA - The World Factbook
Europe :: European Union
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of European Union
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of European Union
Click flag or map to enlarge Opens in New Window
 
Map of European Union
Click map to enlarge Opens in New Window
No Photos available for European Union
 
no photos available of European Union
Expand All | collapse All
Introduction ::European Union
The evolution of the European Union (EU) from a regional economic agreement among six neighboring states in 1951 to today's supranational organization of 27 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 truly 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 many of the attributes associated with independent nations: its own flag, anthem, founding date, and currency, as well as an incipient common foreign and security policy in its dealings with other nations.
In the future, many of these nation-like characteristics are likely to be expanded. 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.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Following the two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a number of European leaders in the late 1940s became convinced that the only way to establish a lasting peace was to unite the two chief belligerent nations - France and Germany - both economically and politically. In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed an eventual union of all Europe, the first step of which would be the integration of the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. 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 parts of the countries' economies. In 1957, 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 European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but in 1979 the first direct elections were undertaken and they 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). In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU, 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 of the EU states except the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark. In 2002, citizens of the 12 euro-area countries began using the 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 - and in 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined, bringing the current membership to 27. In order to ensure that the EU can continue to function efficiently with an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (in force as of 1 February 2003) set forth rules streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish an EU constitution, begun in October 2004, failed to attain unanimous ratification. A new effort, undertaken in June 2007, created an Intergovernmental Conference to formulate a political agreement - initially known as the Reform Treaty but subsequently referred to as the Treaty of Lisbon - which would serve as a constitution. Unlike the constitution, however, the Treaty of Lisbon would amend existing treaties rather than replace them. In October 2009, an Irish referendum approved the Treaty (overturning a previous rejection) and appeared to clear the way for ultimate unanimous endorsement.
Back to Top
Geography ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Europe between the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to the east
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 4,324,782 sq km
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
less than one-half the size of the US
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 12,440.8 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Andorra 120.3 km, Belarus 1,050 km, Croatia 999 km, Holy See 3.2 km, Liechtenstein 34.9 km, Macedonia 394 km, Moldova 450 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Norway 2,348 km, Russia 2,257 km, San Marino 39 km, Serbia 945 km, Switzerland 1,811 km, Turkey 446 km, Ukraine 1,257 km
note: data for European Continent only
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
65,992.9 km
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
cold temperate; potentially subarctic in the north to temperate; mild wet winters; hot dry summers in the south
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
fairly flat along the Baltic and Atlantic coast; mountainous in the central and southern areas
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
iron ore, natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, uranium, potash, salt, hydropower, arable land, timber, fish
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arable land: NA
permanent crops: NA
other: NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
168,050 sq km (2003 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
flooding along coasts; avalanches in mountainous area; earthquakes in the south; volcanic eruptions in Italy; periodic droughts in Spain; ice floes in the Baltic
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Back to Top
People ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
491,582,852 (July 2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0-14 years: 15.44% (male 38,975,981/female 36,925,704)
15-64 years: 67.22% (male 166,277,341/female 164,183,829)
65 years and over: 17.34% (male 35,372,684/female 49,847,313) (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.108 % (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
9.9 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
10.28 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 5.72 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 182
male: 6.38 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total population: 78.67 years
country comparison to the world: 41
male: 75.54 years
female: 81.97 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1.51 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
note: only official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue - over 19% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken language - about 49% of the EU population is conversant with it (2007)
Back to Top
Government ::European Union
conventional long form: European Union
abbreviation: EU
a hybrid intergovernmental and supranational organization
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
name: Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg
geographic coordinates: 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
note: the Council of the European Union meets in Brussels, Belgium; the European Parliament meets in Brussels and Strasbourg, France; the Court of Justice of the European Communities meets in Luxembourg
27 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, 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 - Canary Islands (Spain), Azores and Madeira (Portugal), French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion (France) are sometimes listed separately even though they are legally a part of Spain, Portugal, and France; candidate countries: Croatia, Macedonia, Turkey
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
7 February 1992 (Maastricht Treaty signed establishing the EU); 1 November 1993 (Maastricht Treaty entered into force)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Europe Day 9 May (1950); note - a Union-wide holiday, the day that Robert SCHUMAN proposed the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community to achieve an organized Europe
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none
note: based on a series of treaties: the Treaty of Paris, which set up the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951; the Treaties of Rome, which set up the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in 1957; the Single European Act in 1986; the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht) in 1992; the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997; and the Treaty of Nice in 2003; note - a new draft Constitutional Treaty, signed on 29 October 2004 in Rome, gave member states two years for ratification either by parliamentary vote or national referendum before it was scheduled to take effect on 1 November 2006; defeat in French and Dutch referenda in May-June 2005 dealt a severe setback to the ratification process; in June 2007, the European Council agreed on a clear and concise mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference to form a political agreement and put it into legal form; this agreement, known as the Reform Treaty, would have served as a constitution and was presented to the European Council in October 2007 for individual country ratification; it was rejected by Irish voters in June 2008, again stalling the ratification process
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
comparable to the legal systems of member states; first supranational law system
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18 years of age; universal
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of union: President of the European Commission Jose Manuel DURAO BARROSO (since 22 November 2004)
cabinet: European Commission (composed of 27 members, one from each member country; each commissioner responsible for one or more policy areas)
elections: the president of the European Commission is designated by member governments and is confirmed by the European Parliament; working from member state recommendations, the Commission president then assembles a "college" of Commission members; the European Parliament confirms the entire Commission for a five-year term; the last confirmation process was held 16 September 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: European Parliament approved the European Commission by a vote of 382 to 219 with 117 abstentions
note: the European Council brings together heads of state and government and the president of the European Commission and meets at least four times a year; its aim is to provide the impetus for the major political issues relating to European integration and to issue general policy guidelines
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
two legislative bodies consisting of the Council of the European Union (27 member-state ministers having 345 votes; the number of votes is roughly proportional to member-states' population; note - the Council is the main decision-making body of the EU) and the European Parliament (736 seats; seats allocated among member states in proportion to population; members elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year term)
elections: last held 4-7 June 2009 (next to be held in June 2014)
election results: percent of vote - EPP 35.9%, PES 21.9%, ALDE 10.9%, Greens/EFA 7.2%, UEN 4.8%, GUE/NGL 4.3%, IND/DEM 2.4%, others 12.6%; seats by party - EPP 266, PES 161, ALDE 80, Greens/EFA 53, UEN 35, GUE/NGL 32, IND/DEM 18, others 93
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Court of Justice of the European Communities (ensures that the treaties are interpreted and applied uniformly throughout the EU; resolve constitutional issues among the EU institutions) - 27 justices (one from each member state) appointed for a six-year term; note - for the sake of efficiency, the court can sit with 13 justices known as the "Grand Chamber"; Court of First Instance - 27 justices appointed for a six-year term
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left or GUE/NGL [Francis WURTZ]; European People's Party-European Democrats or EPP-ED [Joseph DAUL]; Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe or ALDE [Graham R. WATSON]; Group of Greens/European Free Alliance or Greens/EFA [Monica FRASSONI and Daniel Marc COHN-BENDIT]; Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty Group or ITS [Bruno GOLLNISCH]; Independence/Democracy Group or IND/DEM [Hanne DAHL and Nigel FARAGE]; Socialist Group in the European Parliament or PES [Martin SCHULZ]; Union for Europe of the Nations Group or UEN [Brian CROWLEY and Cristiana MUSCARDINI]
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
European Union: ARF (dialogue member), ASEAN (dialogue member), IDA, OAS (observer), PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), UN (observer)
European Community: Australian Group, CBSS, CERN, FAO, EBRD, G-10, LAIA, NSG (observer), OECD, UNRWA, WCO, WTO, ZC (observer)
European Central Bank: BIS
European Investment Bank: EBRD, WADB (nonregional member)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador John BRUTON
chancery: 2300 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 862-9500
FAX: [1] (202) 429-1766
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Christopher MURRAY
embassy: 13 Zinnerstraat/Rue Zinner, B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: same as above
telephone: [32] (2) 508-2111
FAX: [32] (2) 508-2063
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
blue field with 12 five-pointed gold stars arranged in a circle in the center, representing the union of the peoples of Europe; the number of stars is fixed
Back to Top
Economy ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Internally, the EU is attempting to lower trade barriers, adopt a common currency, and move toward convergence of living standards. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic power. Because of the great differences in per capita income among member states (from $7,000 to $69,000) and historic national animosities, the EU faces difficulties in devising and enforcing common policies. For example, since 2003 Germany and France have flouted the member states' treaty obligation to prevent their national budgets from running more than a 3% deficit. Between 2004 and 2007, the EU admitted 12 countries that are, in general, less advanced technologically and economically than the other 15. Eleven established EU member states introduced the euro as their common currency on 1 January 1999 (Greece did so two years later), but the UK, Sweden, and Denmark chose not to participate. Of the 12 most recent member states, only Slovenia (1 January 2007) and Cyprus and Malta (1 January 2008) have adopted the euro; the remaining nine are legally required to adopt the currency upon meeting EU's fiscal and monetary convergence criteria.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$14.91 trillion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$14.79 trillion (2007 est.)
$14.36 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$18.14 trillion (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.8% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
3% (2007 est.)
3.4% (2006 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$33,700 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
$33,500 (2007 est.)
$32,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 2%
industry: 27.1%
services: 70.9% (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
224.4 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 5.6%
industry: 27.7%
services: 66.7% (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
7.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
8.5% (2006 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 25.2% (2001 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
31 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
31.2 (2003 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
21.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
1.8% (2006 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 97
5% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 106
8.03% (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$5.542 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 1
$5.649 trillion (31 December 2007)
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$5.631 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 2
$5.18 trillion (31 December 2007)
note: this is the quantity of quasi money, M2-M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of quasi money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 1
$20.94 trillion (31 December 2007)
note: this figure refers to the euro area only; it excludes credit data for non-euro-area members of the EU
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$NA (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
$15.57 trillion (31 December 2008)
$13.5 trillion (31 December 2006 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
wheat, barley, oilseeds, sugar beets, wine, grapes; dairy products, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry; fish
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
among the world's largest and most technologically advanced, 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 beverage processing, furniture, paper, textiles, tourism
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-0.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.044 trillion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.884 trillion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA kWh
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA kWh
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.538 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14.44 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.196 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
8.613 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
5.718 billion bbl (1 January 2008)
country comparison to the world: 21
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
201.9 billion cu m (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
516.9 billion cu m (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA cu m
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA cu m
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.318 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$51.4 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.952 trillion (2007)
country comparison to the world: 1
$1.33 trillion (2005)
note: external exports, excluding intra-EU trade
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
machinery, motor vehicles, aircraft, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, iron and steel, nonferrous metals, wood pulp and paper products, textiles, meat, dairy products, fish, alcoholic beverages.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.69 trillion (2007)
country comparison to the world: 2
$1.466 trillion (2005)
note: external imports, excluding intra-EU trade
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
machinery, vehicles, aircraft, plastics, crude oil, chemicals, textiles, metals, foodstuffs, clothing
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
euros per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)
Back to Top
Communications ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
238 million (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
466 million (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note - see individual country entries of member states
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
AM 930, FM 13,655, shortwave 71 (1998); note - sum of individual country radio broadcast stations; there is also a European-wide station (Euroradio)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2,700 (1995); note - sum of individual country television broadcast stations excluding repeaters; there is also a European-wide station (Eurovision)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
.eu; note - see country entries of member states for individual country codes
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
118,760; note - this sum reflects the number of internet hosts assigned the .eu internet country code (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
247 million (2006)
Back to Top
Transportation ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3,391 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 1,995
over 3,047 m: 115
2,438 to 3,047 m: 341
1,524 to 2,437 m: 543
914 to 1,523 m: 421
under 914 m: 575 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 1,396
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 257
under 914 m: 1,110 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
100 (2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 229,450 km (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 5,454,446 km (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
52,332 km (2006)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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), Stockholm (Sweden), Talinn (Estonia), Tulcea (Romania), Varna (Bulgaria)
Back to Top
Military ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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 27 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)
Back to Top
Transnational Issues ::European Union
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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), and Switzerland since 2008 bringing the total current membership to 25; 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 12 new member states that joined the EU since 2004 joined Schengen on 21 December 2007; of the three remaining EU states, Cyprus is expected to join by 2009, while Romania and Bulgaria continue to enhance their border security systems
Back to Top
Expand All | collapse All
The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.