The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 countries located in Europe.
The original goal was to tie Germany and France into a closer economic union after nationalism had caused 2 world wars on the European continent. The plan was to have the important steel and coal industries come under a centralized control. The original institutions set up were called the the European Economic Communities.
From those humble beginnings the idea of closely integrating European nations has developed into the EU and the single market within its nations states.
The EU was formed officially in 1993 following the Maastricht Treaty and included 12 European countries. It’s goal was the free movement of people, goods, services and capital throughout the member states.
Laws were standardized, and eventually a monetary union with the common currency – the Euro – was adopted, with 17 of the current27 EU members joining the eurozone.
The combined population of the EU is around 500 million people, and the EU generated an estimated 28% of the global economy.