What is the European Union?

The European Union is the organisation in which 28 European nations cooperate on economic matters, in order to improve the living standards of 500 million EU citizens. The EU also facilitates common action over cross-border issues such as climate change, security and counter-terrorism and protecting workers’ rights.
EU measures and policies are planned by civil servants from all 28 member states in the European Commission, then debated by the MEPs you vote for in the European Parliament, then signed off by our government’s ministers when they meet at the Council of Ministers. 
Key to the EU is the single market, in which countries have common regulations and no tariffs, which mean they can easily trade goods and services. More than a million UK businesses are linked to trade with the EU, which allows them to grow and employ more people – more than 3 million jobs are linked to the EU. Competition across the single market drives down the costs you pay in UK shops and gives you and your family more opportunities because it creates more jobs.

Last updated: Feb 18, 2016