Which European countries eased travel restrictions?

The European Union is a unified trade and monetary body of 27 member countries.1 It eliminates all border controls between members. The open border allows the free flow of goods and people.

What is the European Union? The EU represents one in a series of efforts to integrate Europe since World War II. At the end of the war, several western European countries sought closer economic, social, and political ties to achieve economic growth and military security and to promote a lasting reconciliation between France and Germany.

To this end, in 1951 the leaders of six countries — Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany — signed the Treaty of Paris, thereby, when it took effect in 1952, founding the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

Purpose

The EU’s purpose is to be more competitive in the global marketplace. At the same time, it must balance the needs of its independent fiscal and political members.

Its 27 member countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

The goals and values form the basis of the EU and are laid out in the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Charter of fundamental rights.

In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

The EU in the world

Trade

The European Union is the largest trade block in the world. It is the world’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and the biggest import market for over 100 countries.

Free trade among its members was one of the EU’s founding principles. This is possible thanks to the single market. Beyond its borders, the EU is also committed to liberalising world trade.

Humanitarian aid

The EU is committed to helping victims of man-made and natural disasters worldwide and supports over 120 million people each year. Collectively, the EU and its constituent countries are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid.

Diplomacy and security

The EU plays an important role in diplomacy and works to foster stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level.

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