The European Union

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union originally formed in 1958 and established under its current name by the Maastrict Treaty in 1993. Since its inception the EU has grown in size currently including 27 independent member states located in Europe. The EU has established a single market to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. Furthermore, EU member states maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development.

In 1999, the European Union took an additional step by adding a monetary union, eurozone, among 17 of its member states. The currency of the monetary union, the euro, is under the control of the European Central bank (ECB), which controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. Although the euro was designed to further help a single market by eliminating exchange rate problems, providing price transparency, creating a single financial market, and providing price stability and low interest rates, recently the pitfalls for the euro have been exposed. With the economic crisis of 2007 not having an independent monetary policy left several countries in the eurozone with no room to maneuver as they dealt with the crisis.
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