Portal:European Union/Member states
A Member State of the European Union is any one of the 28 sovereign states that have acceded to the European Union (EU) since its de facto inception in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). From an original membership of six states, there have been seven successive enlargements, the largest occurring on 1 May 2004, when ten states joined. The EU is currently composed of twenty one republics, six kingdoms, and one grand duchy.
Croatia is the most recent Member State, joining on 1 July 2013. Negotiations are also under way with a number of other states. The process of enlargement is sometimes referred to as European integration. However, this term is also used to refer to the intensification of cooperation between EU Member States as national governments allow for the gradual harmonisation of national laws. Before being allowed to join the European Union, a state must fulfil the economic and political conditions generally known as the Copenhagen criteria. These basically require that a candidate Member State must enjoy a secular, democratic system of government, together with the corresponding freedoms and institutions, and respect the rule of law. Under the terms of the Treaty on European Union, enlargement of the Union is conditional upon the agreement of each existing Member State as well as approval by the European Parliament.
|The Republic of Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Its capital city is Vienna. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine federal states and is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that included the concept of everlasting neutrality in their constitution. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.|
|The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Belgium has a population of over ten million people, in an area of around 30,000 square kilometres. Historically, Belgium has been a part of the Low Countries, which also include the Netherlands and Luxembourg and used to cover a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states. More recently, Belgium was a founding member of the European Union, hosting its headquarters, as well as those of many other major international organisations, such as NATO.|
|The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southeastern Europe, and the oldest contemporary country in Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, mostly along the Danube. Bulgaria is an active member of NATO and joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. The country has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, and is a founding member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.|
|The Republic of Croatia is a country located in Central and Southeast Europe, bordering Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south-east, Montenegro to the south-east, the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and Slovenia to the northwest. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia's Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country's population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence from Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, following a four year Croatian War of Independence. Having joined on 1 July 2013, Croatia is the newest, 28th member state of the European Union. Croatia is also a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean.|
|The Republic of Cyprus is a Eurasian island nation in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea south of the Anatolian peninsula and to the east of the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastelorizo. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The Republic of Cyprus is divided into six districts. A former British colony, the Republic of Cyprus gained independence in 1960 while the United Kingdom retained two Sovereign Base Areas. The Republic of Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since 1 May 2004.|
|The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe and a member state of the European Union. The country has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The capital and largest city is the historic Prague, a major tourist attraction. Other major cities include Brno, Ostrava, Zlín, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Liberec, Olomouc, and Ústí nad Labem. The country is composed of two entire historic regions, Bohemia and Moravia, and parts of Silesia.|
|The Kingdom of Denmark is the smallest and southernmost of the Nordic countries. Located north of its only land neighbour, Germany, southwest of Sweden, and south of Norway. From a cultural point of view, Denmark belongs to the family of Scandinavian countries although not located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The national capital is Copenhagen. After almost 200 years of absolutist rule, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849. It is a leader in the "Scandinavian Model" of public services. Denmark has historically controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, also known as the Danish straits.
|The Republic of Estonia is a country in Northern Europe. Estonia has land borders to the south with fellow Baltic state Latvia (339 km) and Russia (229 km) to the east. It is separated from Finland in the north by the narrow Gulf of Finland and from Sweden in the west by the Baltic Sea. Estonia has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004 and of the NATO since March 29, 2004. Estonia is a [[constitutional democracy, with a president elected by its unicameral parliament.
|The Republic of Finland is one of the Nordic countries. Situated in Northern Europe, it shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east and Norway to the north while Estonia lies to its south. Finland is bounded by the Baltic Sea with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. The Åland Islands, off the south-western coast, are an autonomous province of Finland. Finland joined the European Union in 1995, where it is an advocate of federalism contrary to the other Nordic countries that are predominantly supportive of confederalism.|
|The French Republic is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in Western Europe and which also comprises various overseas islands and territories located in other continents. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. The French Republic is a democracy which is organised as a unitary semi-presidential republic. France is one of the founding members of the European Union, and has the largest land area of all members. France is also a founding member of the United Nations, and a member of La Francophonie, the G8, and the Latin Union.|
|The Federal Republic of Germany is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, on the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, on the south by Austria and Switzerland, and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany is a democratic parliamentary federal republic of 16 states. The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and the G4 nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It is the European Union's most populous and most economically powerful member state.|
|The Hellenic Republic is a country in south-eastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan peninsula. It is bordered by Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania to the north and by Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Greece has a particularly long and eventful history and a cultural heritage considerably influential in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Today, Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981 and a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001.|
|Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Hungary has been a member of the Visegrad Group since 1991, NATO since 1999 and joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. Hungary is subdivided administratively into 19 counties and one capital city: Budapest. The Hungarian government has expressed a desire to adopt the euro currency in 2010. This is widely criticised as unrealistic given the current shape of the economy in relation to the Maastricht criteria.|
|Ireland is the official description of the sovereign state which covers approximately five-sixths of the island of Ireland, off the coast of north-west Europe. The state's constitutional name is 'Ireland' and this is how international organisations and residents usually refer to the country. It is a member of the European Union, has a developed economy and a population of slightly more than 4.2 million. The remaining sixth of the island of Ireland is known as Northern Ireland and is politically an administrative part of the United Kingdom.|
|The Italian Republic is a country located in Southern Europe, that comprises the Po River valley, the Italian Peninsula and the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. It shares its northern alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italian territory. Its capital Rome has been a historically important world city, especially as the core of ancient Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. Italy is a member of the G8 and a founding member of what is now the European Union, having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957.|
|The Republic of Latvia is a country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with two fellow Baltic states – Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south – and both Russia and Belarus to the east. In the west, Latvia shares a maritime border with Sweden. The capital of Latvia is Riga. Latvia has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004. Latvia still has one of the lowest standards of living in the EU, though its economy has one of the highest growth rates.|
|The Republic of Lithuania is a country in northern Europe. The largest of the three Baltic States situated along the Baltic Sea, it shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the southeast, Poland and the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004. Lithuania joined the United Nations on September 17, 1991. On May 31, 2001, Lithuania became the 141st member of the World Trade Organization.|
|The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. Luxembourg is a parliamentary representative democracy with a constitutional monarchy, ruled by a Grand Duke. It is the world's only sovereign Grand Duchy. Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, Benelux, and the Western European Union. Luxembourg City, the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions and agencies of the European Union.|
|The Republic of Malta is a small and densely populated island nation consisting of an archipelago of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta lies directly south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya. The islands constituting the Maltese nation have been ruled by various powers and fought over for centuries. Malta has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004, and it is currently the smallest EU country in both population and area. Malta is the only nation in the world that has collectively been awarded the George Cross for conspicuous gallantry, and its flag bears a replica of that award.|
|The Kingdom of the Netherlands is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba. The Netherlands, often incorrectly referred to as Holland, is located in northwestern Europe bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. The country is host to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The Netherlands is a member of the Benelux cooperation, was among the founding members of NATO and among the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community.|
|The Republic of Poland is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Russia and Lithuania to the north. It also shares a maritime border with Denmark and Sweden. Today, as the 6th most populated member state of the European Union, Poland is a liberal democracy made up of sixteen voivodeships. Poland is also a member of NATO, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization.|
|The Portuguese Republic located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal. Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portugal is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, and a founding member of the Eurozone, OECD, and NATO.|
|Romania is a country in Southeastern Europe. Romania borders Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south. Romania has a stretch of sea coast along the Black Sea, and the eastern and southern Carpathian mountains run through its center. The capital and largest city of Romania is Bucharest. Romania has been an active member of NATO since 2004, and is the 7th most populated member state of the European Union.|
|The Slovak Republic is a landlocked republic in Central Europe with a population of over five million. Slovakia borders the Czech Republic and Austria in the west, Poland in the north, Ukraine in the east and Hungary in the south. The largest city is its capital, Bratislava. Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party system, and has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004.|
|The Republic of Slovenia is a coastal Alpine country in southern Central Europe bordering Italy to the west, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north. The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Slovenia is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, NATO, and has observer status in La Francophonie.|
|The Kingdom of Spain is a country located in Southern Europe, with two small exclaves in North Africa. Spain is a democracy which is organized as a parliamentary monarchy. Spain borders Portugal and Gibraltar to the south, France and Andorra along the Pyrenees mountains, and through its cities in North Africa Morocco. Spain joined the EU in 1986 and on January 1, 1999, adopted the Euro as its national currency.|
|The Kingdom of Sweden is a Nordic country in Scandinavia. It is bordered by Norway in the west, Finland in the northeast, the Skagerrak Strait and the Kattegat Strait in the southwest, and the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia in the east. It is connected to Denmark in the southwest by the Oresund Bridge. Its citizens enjoy a high standard of living in a country that is generally perceived as modern and liberal. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, however, in a 2003 consultative referendum, Swedish citizens declined to adopt the Euro.|
|The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country and sovereign state that is situated to the north west of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and its ancillary bodies of water. The mainland is linked to France by the Channel Tunnel, with Northern Ireland sharing a land border with the Republic of Ireland. The Islands that make up the United Kingdom were divided into many Kingdoms and regions since the fall of the Roman Empire, the land since has gradually merged; from the formations of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, to the Various Acts of Union which united the Islands (The UK and the Republic of Ireland split in 1922 until they both joined the EEC/EU together in 1973). The UK is a member of the G8, founding member of NATO, the United Nations (permanent member of the Security Council) and the Commonwealth of Nations, and member or the EU since 1973.|