In 2014, 28 countries of Europe were member states of the European Union(EU).
All member states of the EU aim to work closely with other members and there are some laws that apply in an EU country because it is a member. The European Council is made up of the heads of states of EU countries and,in 2014, the European Parliament consists of 756 MEPs (Members of European Parliament) from EU countries. All member states are represented in these groups. The UK has over 70 seats in the European Parliament.
The EU also sets goals and targets for looking after the environment. One initiative is a policy developed in 2008 to combat climate change. It aims to:
The Euro is a form of currency. Many EU members use it because it helps to make trade easier between member states. The group of countries that use the Euro are called the 'Eurozone'.
Outside of the EU, the state of other countries' economies in Europe has continental and global effects. For example, in 2008 there was a financial crisis in Iceland. Iceland is not in the EU but this still affected many European countries.
Transport links have increased between European countries due to:
Communication links allow information to be exchanged between people in different countries, such as:
There are only three time zones in Europe, which means most business hours in the week overlap between countries.