Fast Facts about the EU
The Member Countries of the EU as of August 2013 ar the following - Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, Estonia, Greece, Belgium, France, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Ireland, Croatia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Italy
What is called the European Union began as an agreement between six states in 1951. As of late 2013 there are 28 countries that are members of the Union. World markets welcomed the launch of a brand new currency for the EU, the euro, on January 1, 1999. All but a few EU members (e.g. United Kingdom, etc.) use the Euro as their unit of exchange between members. Although the EU has gotten rid of trade barriers and adopted a currency that is common to all members, it is still in the process of trying to converge living standards among member countries. One of the Union's primary objectives regarding the rest members outside the union is to increase its trade stance within the world.
As a whole, the European Union has the largest GDP or purchasing power in the world. Ranked second on the list is the United States, followed by China, India and Japan. The EU is also ranked number one in the world in terms of goods exported and imported.
The language most used in the EU is German, with about 18% of the people able to speak it. The most used foreign language is English, with roughly 38% of the population able to converse in it. The most commonly practiced religions are Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Muslim and Jewish.