Thursday, May 1, 2014

10 Years in the EU

Today is 1 May and it's a public holiday.  Today is also the 10th anniversary of Czech Republic joining the European Union.

In 1952, six countries (Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands, and West Germany) formed the European Coal and Steel Community.  In 1953, Denmark, Ireland and the UK also joined.  This eventually developed in to a European common market.

Greece joined in 1981 and Portugal and Spain both joined in 1986.  After German reunification in 1990, the EU picked up what used to be East GermanySweden, Finland, and Austria all joined in 1995.

2004 was a big year for the EU.  The single largest EU expansion (number of countries, territory, and population) occurred in 2004.  The EU welcomed Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined.  Last year, Croatia became the newest member.  Today, the EU contains 28 countries and more than 500 million people.

Still, not every country in Europe is an EU member.  Norway, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are not members.  Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey are all candidates to join the EU.  Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Ukraine are not yet even candidates to join. 

Czechs have gained economically from joining the EU.  Plus it's a heck of a lot easier for Czechs to travel now.  However, many Czech people consider EU legislation as a negative and only around 20% or so of the people want to give up the Crown for the Euro.

Update:  Here's a video I found out on YouTube about the European Union.
©CGP Grey

Update:  15 years in the EU.
Update:  The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020.

Update:  Here's a short 5½-minute video on how the EU works.
©CNBC International

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