The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political partnership among 27 European countries that together cover much of the continent. 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 are more likely to avoid conflict. The EU has since grown to become a "single market" allowing goods and people to move freely, and has launched a common currency, the euro.
Today, the EU is facing some of its biggest challenges in decades. The euro crisis has highlighted the need for greater economic integration, while the UK's vote to leave the EU has raised questions about the future of European integration. Despite these challenges, the EU remains an important player on the global stage, and is committed to promoting peace, democracy, and human rights around the world.