European Union, 2012
Factbook: In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed and eventual union of all of 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 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.
Estimated per capita GDP (2010 U.S. dollars)
GDP growth rate:
Deaths and Births per 1,000 persons estimated for 2010
Deaths 10.33. Births 9.83.
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