Summary: European Union (EU):
Organization of European countries dedicated to increasing economic integration and strengthening cooperation among its members. The European Union headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium. The European Union was formally established on November 1, 1993. It is the most recent in a series of European cooperative organizations that originated with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) of 1951, which became the European Community (EC) in 1967. The members of the EC were Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. In 1991 the governments of the 12 member states signed the Treaty on European Union (commonly called the Maastricht Treaty), which was then ratified by the national legislatures of all the member countries. The Maastricht Treaty transformed the EC into the EU. In 1994 Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU, bringing the total membership to 15 nations.

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