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A regional organization created in 1958 providing for the gradual elimination of customs duties and other intraregional trade barriers a common external tariff against other countries and gradual adoption of other integrating measures including a Common Agricultural Policy and guarantees of free movement of labor and capital Formerly called the European Community EC the organization became the European Union in January 1994 Since 1967 common institutions the EU Commission the EU Council the European Parliament and the Court of Justice have served members of the EU On January 1 1999 the EU launched a single European currency called the euro which most member countries have adopted With 15 members Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK the Union plans to expand membership in coming years including Southern and Eastern European Countries An economic association of European countries founded by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 as a common market for six nations It was known as the European Community before 1993 and is currently comprised of 15 European countries Its goals are a single market for goods and services without any economic barriers and a common currency with one monetary authority The EU was known as the European Community until Jan 1 1994 Status The European Union is the most powerful regional organisation in existence In certain areas where Member States have transferred national sovereignty rights to the Union eg currency monetary policy the internal market foreign trade the EU begins to resemble a federal state However the Union is not organised federally but according to the subsidiarity principle a term expressly created to describe the peculiar organisation of the Unions competencies The Member States also remain the Masters of the Treaties and the Union does not have the power to transfer additional competencies from the Member States onto itself On account of its unique structure the European Union can be regarded not merely as
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