The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: countries that trade with one another are economically interdependent and will thus avoid conflict.
Since then, the union has developed into a huge single market with the euro as its common currency. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy.
The EU actively promotes human rights and democracy and has the most ambitious emission reduction targets for fighting climate change in the world. Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, it is now possible for people to travel freely within most of the EU.
View publications about the EU and how it works. For more, visit the Easy Reading Corner to browse by topic or title.
|The European Union: A Guide for Americans (April 2011)|
|Panorama of the European Union (February 2009)|
|Europe in 12 lessons (July 2010)|
|How the European Union works: Your guide to the EU institutions (July 2007)|
|Understanding enlargement: The European Union’s enlargement policy (2011)|