European Youth Portal
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Beyond the EU yet still in Europe

The European Union Explained*

Europe and the EU may seem like much the same thing. If a country is part of Europe, then it’s a member of the EU… logically, right?


Actually, no! Not every country in Europe is also a member of the EU. What’s more, not every country that is a member of the EU is inside Europe. Still following?


Today, the European Union numbers 28 countries in all. Most of those are actually in Europe, but there are a few exceptions: several Greek islands (including Cyprus) are officially in Asia, while the overseas territories of the Netherlands, Spain and France are part of the EU even though they’re located in different parts of the world.


To make it even more complicated, there are also countries that are in Europe but that aren’t members of the EU, like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Or in Eastern Europe, where Serbia, Turkey and Macedonia aren’t part of the EU either.


The aim of the EU is to work together towards international peace, democracy and human rights. It is thanks to the EU’s efforts that all its members enjoy a high standard of living. Child labour is prohibited inside the EU, there is a minimum wage, anyone suspected of a crime is entitled to a fair trial and we’re all free to travel from one member country to another without strict border controls.


Want to know which countries are members of the EU? See this up-to-date overview.


Or check out the map here.


Published: Wed, 02/10/2013 - 14:59

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Info for young people in the western balkans

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