The process of European integration

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. Its first steps were to foster economic cooperation, with the idea 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. To achieve these goals and values, Member States have ceded some of their sovereign rights to the EU and conferred on the Union powers to act independently. EU institutions are political bodies and institutions in which Member States delegate part of their sovereignty. These institutions are: the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank.