The primary focus of the chapters presented in this book is the European Union. The EU is a treaty-based, institutional framework that defines and manages economic and political co-operation among its 25 member states (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). The Union represents the latest stage in a process of European integration begun after World War II to promote peace and economic prosperity in Europe. This European integration project has evolved from encompassing primarily economic sectors to include developing a common foreign policy and closer police and judicial co-operation. With the end of the Cold War, the Union has also sought to extend the political and economic benefits of membership, especially to central and eastern Europe. This book examines the Union's expectations of the future, and the relationships that it has with countries in other parts of the world.
The European Union