On February 15, Bosnia and Herzegovina (that’s just one country, not two!) submitted its application for European Union (EU) membership. It might take the nation a few years before it is admitted into the EU, but turning in the application is a first big step.
The EU is a group of 28 European countries that cooperate and work together to improve things such as trade, employment, and environment. In the first half of the 1940s, a large part of Europe was at war, and many countries did not get along. The idea of a more unified Europe started in the early 1950s to bring peace and economic stability. Six European countries got together and unified their coal and steel industries. This was very successful, and so the unification spread to other areas. More countries joined, and in 1993, a treaty creating the EU was signed in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Rules were created for a single currency, foreign policies, trade policies, and more.
When countries join the EU, it benefits them and it also benefits the EU. More countries means more people, which means a bigger marketplace for the EU. It’s simpler to sell products to countries within the EU. People can easily move around the various EU nations. More countries in the EU also means a larger region that follows the same standards and regulations for energy, environment, food safety, fishing, trading, banking, and more. A country needs to meet certain conditions to be part of the EU and also has to incorporate several EU rules and regulations into its own laws. This can take time. The last nation to join the EU was Croatia in 2013. The EU has its own flag. There are 24 official languages of the EU. Its anthem is the music of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. You can hear it here. Europe Day is celebrated annually on May 9. There is also an EU motto and a currency (euro), though not all EU countries use the euro. Here is a video about the EU.
Did you know?
In 1991, the country of Yugoslavia started splitting up into different nations. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia were the first to break away. In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina broke away. What remained of Yugoslavia became two countries in 2006 – Serbia and Montenegro. In 2008, a part of Serbia called Kosovo split and formed its own country, though it is disputed as many nations still consider Kosovo to be a part of Serbia.
Image Credits: http://www.citsee.ed.ac.uk/ for the Yugoslavia-split-map image, http://ec.europa.eu/ for the Euroepean Union map image
Sources: http://europa.eu/, http://america.aljazeera.com, http://www.history.com