European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations) that are responsible for a common foreign and security policy and for cooperation on justice and home affairs. In Dec., 2009, following the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU officially replaced and succeeded the EC. Twenty-seven countries—Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (originally West Germany), Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden—are full members of the organizations of the EU. Great Britain was a full member from 1973 until 2020.
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