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The EU today consists of 28 countries with an approximate total population of 508 million. More countries would like to join, for example Serbia and Turkey.
Why did countries in Europe start working together in the first place? Straight after the Second World War, several countries wanted to prevent new wars. For this reason, six of these countries formed the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952. They decided to share responsibility for the production of coal and steel, which were important raw materials in the war industry. In this way, they would avoid a situation in which any individual country could begin to re-arm. This was the first step in the creation of the EU.
In 1958, this form of cooperation was extended to include other products, services and capital. A few years later, the whole project came to be known as the EC, the European Communities. Over time such areas as the environment, agriculture and transport also became responsibilities for the EC. In 1993, the EC became the EU – the European Union. This meant that it was now possible for member states to act together in matters such as foreign policy. Since then, another 16 countries have become members of the EU, which also affects the forms of cooperation between member states.
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