The European Union (EU) (formerly the European Economic Community) is a political and economic community with supranational and intergovernmental features. It is composed of 28-Member States primarily located in Europe. In 1957, six European countries formed the European Economic Community (EEC) by the Treaty of Rome. Since then the EU has grown in size through the accession of new Member States and has increased its powers by the addition of new policy areas to its remit. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty established the base of the current legal framework.
The EU created a single market which seeks to guarantee the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital between member states. It maintains a common trade policy, agricultural and fisheries policies, and a regional development policy.
In 1999 the EU introduced a common currency, the euro, which has been adopted by thirteen member states. It has also developed a role in foreign policy, and in justice and home affairs. Passport control and customs checks between many member states were abolished under the Schengen Agreement.
With almost 500 million citizens the EU generates an estimated 31 % share of the world´s nominal gross domestic product (€11.8/US$16.6 trillion) in 2007. It represents its members in the WTO and observes the UN and G8 summits.
Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.
Subcomponents of its executive body (the European Commission) are to engage in cybersecurity activities designed to improve (1) preparedness and prevention, (2) detection and response, (3) mitigation and recovery, (4) international cooperation, and (5) criteria for European critical infrastructure in the information communication technology sector. European Commission officials have stated that, in the future, the European Commission will prioritize international engagement involving mutual assistance, recovery efforts, and crisis management.
In addition, the European Commission formed the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), an independent European agency created to enhance the capability of its members to address and respond to network and information security problems.
- The EU Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom