This article is from the Europe FAQ, by Yves Bellefeuille firstname.lastname@example.org with help from Martin Rich M.G.Rich@city.ac.uk.
The European Union, formerly known as the European Common Market or the
European Economic Community (EEC), started as a "free trade" or "common
market" agreement. Although trade and economic policy are still its
major focus, it now also deals with social policy, external affairs, and
The countries in the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The
following countries are expected to join in 2004: Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia,
For travellers, the main effect of the EU is that border controls at
airports and elsewhere often have two queues, one for citizens of EU
countries and one for citizens of other countries. Choose the queue
that's appropriate for you.
For more information on the EU, see http://europa.eu.int/.