European Union, 2012
World Factbook as of November 2014: "Internally, the EU has adopted the framework of a single market with free movement of goods, services and capital and a common currency amongst 18 member states. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic weight. Despite great differences in per capita income among member states (from $13,000 to $82,000) and in national attitudes toward issues like inflation, debt, and foreign trade, the EU has achieved a high degree of coordination of economic and fiscal policies... In an effort to restore economic growth and create jobs, in 2013 the EU and the United States started negotiations on an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the goal of expanding already massive trade and investment flows."
In 1957 the ECSC developed into the European Economic Community, and the six nations endeavored to reduce trade barriers between them. In 1967 the European Economic Community became the European Community, which developed a parliament. By 1986 six more nations had joined. In 1973 three more nations joined. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis for cooperation in foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal affairs and the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This created the European Union. Three nations joined, making 15 in all. The Euro was launched in 1999. Ten more countries joined in 2004, to 25 in all.
Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden. In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined, bringing the current membership to 27. Candidate countries: Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey.
Population growth rate:
Births / deaths per 1.000 population
2014: 10.17 / 10.17 (sic)
SOURCES: The World Factbook
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