An economic and political confederation of European nations which share a common foreign and security policy and co-operate on justice and home affairs. The EU was created on 1 November 1993 by the Treaty on European Union (formerly known as the Maastricht Treaty). Following amendments made by the Lisbon Treaty (www.practicallaw.com/1-500-8458), the EU now has a single legal personality allowing it to enter into international agreements. From 1 December 2009, the EU replaces and succeeds the European Community (EC) (www.practicallaw.com/3-107-6549).
The 27 member states (www.practicallaw.com/A36433) of the EU are currently: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
For further information, see Practice note, The European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon (www.practicallaw.com/2-381-1190).