The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 European countries that together cover much of the continent. The predecessor of the EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.
Member States and the EU share goals and values, which form the basis of the EU. In the achievement of these goals and values, Member States have ceded some of their sovereign rights to the EU and have conferred on the Union powers to act independently. EU institutions are political bodies and institutions in which Member States delegate part of their sovereignity. The principal decision-making bodies of the European Union are: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank.