The European Union is a group of European countries, originally established in 1992 by the Treaty on European Union (The Maastricht Treaty). As of January 1, 2007, there are twenty-seven member countries of the European Union. The EU is not the same as Europe: several countries that are part of the continent Europe (e.g. Switzerland, Norway) are not part of the EU.
To make things even more complicated, the Schengen zone, in which you can move freely, does not correspondent with the EU. Some countries that are part of the EU are not part of the Schengen zone (e.g. the United Kingdom and Ireland), while others that don't belong to the European Union, like Switzerland and Norway, are included in the Schengen zone.
These countries are (in order of becoming a member) part of the EU:
As indicated in the list, unfortunately for travellers, not all of the countries that are a member of the European Union have the euro as their currency. Vatican City also issues Euros but it´s unlikely you come across these, as most of them end up in the hands of coin collectors
Ask hotguy_here a question about European Union
I have traveled extensively in Europe from Norway to Greece and Portugal to Romania, that too on euro rail. So I believe I can provide the first timers a lot of necessary info. Message me if you need any help.
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