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The european union (eu) is a union of 25 independent states joined to increase economic integration and cooperation. The EU was established by the Treaty on European Union, agreed between 12 member states on November 1, 1993. The Treaty on European Union, or Treaty of Maastricht, was ratified by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom (UK). In 1995 Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU, and in May 2004, a further 10 countries became members: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The member states have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made ...

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