A Visual Guide to Europe’s Member States

Map of Europe's member states

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Who are Europe’s Member States?

With Ukraine’s recent bid to join the European Union (EU), the current status of Europe’s member states is back in the fray.

The European member states are countries mainly in Europe, and three outside, that are part of one or more of the four major treaty groups, namely the European Union (EU), NATO, Schengen, and eurozone.

Each of these institutions governs a different aspect of the region’s infrastructure.

Let’s take a look at each of them.

European Union

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union between 27 European countries.

First created as the European Economic Community in the aftermath of WW2, the organization’s main focus was to foster economic cooperation. The idea was simple: countries that trade with one another and become economically interdependent are more likely to avoid conflict.

Beginning with six countries in 1958, the European Economic Community has since added 21 more countries (the UK left the EU in 2020), with a primary focus on single or internal markets.

Here are the countries that comprise the European Union:

Number Countries Year of Accession
1 🇦🇹 Austria 1995
2 🇧🇪 Belgium Founder
3 🇧🇬 Bulgaria 2007
4 🇭🇷 Croatia 2013
5 🇨🇾 Cyprus 2004
6 🇨🇿 Czech Republic 2004
7 🇩🇰 Denmark 1973
8 🇪🇪 Estonia 2004
9 🇫🇮 Finland 1995
10 🇫🇷 France Founder
11 🇩🇪 Germany Founder
12 🇬🇷 Greece 1981
13 🇭🇺 Hungary 2004
14 🇮🇪 Ireland 1973
15 🇮🇹 Italy Founder
16 🇱🇻 Latvia 2004
17 🇱🇹 Lithuania 2004
18 🇱🇺 Luxembourg Founder
19 🇲🇹 Malta 2004
20 🇳🇱 Netherlands Founder
21 🇵🇱 Poland 2004
22 🇵🇹 Portugal 1986
23 🇷🇴 Romania 2007
24 🇸🇰 Slovakia 2004
25 🇸🇮 Slovenia 2004
26 🇪🇸 Spain 1986
27 🇸🇪 Sweden 1995

What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization pioneering the development of many different policy areas. A name change from the European Economic Community to the European Union in 1993 reflected this.

NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exists for the sole purpose of facilitating a political and military alliance between its 30 member countries.

Established in 1949 in response to post-WW2 Soviet aggression, NATO exists for the collective defense and security of the group. Members share few laws and regulations. An attack on one constitutes an attack on all, and member states are obligated to defend one another.

The chronological timeline of NATO’s expansion since its establishment paints a fascinating picture.

Timeline of NATO expansion since establishment.

As of 2021, NATO officially recognizes three aspiring NATO members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine. Ukraine has voiced its desire to join NATO since 2014 but hasn’t met its political and military criteria.

Eurozone

The eurozone is a geographic and economic region that consists of countries that have adopted the euro as their national currency. Approximately 340 million people live in the euro area.

Today, the eurozone consists of 19 countries of the European Union. Here they are:

Number Countries Year of Adoption
1 🇦🇹 Austria 1999
2 🇧🇪 Belgium 1999
3 🇨🇾 Cyprus 2008
4 🇪🇪 Estonia 2011
5 🇫🇮 Finland 1999
6 🇫🇷 France 1999
7 🇩🇪 Germany 1999
8 🇬🇷 Greece 2001
9 🇮🇪 Ireland 1999
10 🇮🇹 Italy 1999
11 🇱🇻 Latvia 2014
12 🇱🇹 Lithuania 2015
13 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 1999
14 🇲🇹 Malta 2008
15 🇳🇱 Netherlands 1999
16 🇵🇹 Portugal 1999
17 🇸🇰 Slovakia 2009
18 🇸🇮 Slovenia 2007
19 🇪🇸 Spain 1999

European Union nations that decide to participate in the eurozone must meet a multitude of financial requirements. They include price stability, sound public finances, the durability of convergence, and exchange rate stability.

Not all countries have to adopt the currency, though. For example, Denmark has a special opt-out clause to use its own currency and maintain its financial independence.

Schengen

The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries that agreed to create common entry and exit requirements to remove the need for internal borders. This allows travellers up to 90 days of visa-free travel to any of the countries in the Schengen Area.

The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, along with non-EU nationals living in the EU or visiting as tourists, exchange students, or for business purposes.

Here’s a list of the 26 countries that are a part of the Schengen Area:

Number Countries Year of Implementation
1 🇦🇹 Austria 1997
2 🇧🇪 Belgium 1995
3 🇨🇿 Czech Republic 2007
4 🇩🇰 Denmark 2001
5 🇪🇪 Estonia 2007
6 🇫🇮 Finland 2001
7 🇫🇷 France 1995
8 🇩🇪 Germany 1995
9 🇬🇷 Greece 2000
10 🇭🇺 Hungary 2007
11 🇮🇸 Iceland 2001
12 🇮🇹 Italy 1997
13 🇱🇻 Latvia 2007
14 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein 2011
15 🇱🇹 Lithuania 2007
16 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 1995
17 🇲🇹 Malta 2007
18 🇳🇱 Netherlands 1995
19 🇳🇴 Norway 2001
20 🇵🇱 Poland 2007
21 🇵🇹 Portugal 1995
22 🇸🇰 Slovakia 2007
23 🇸🇮 Slovenia 2007
24 🇪🇸 Spain 1995
25 🇸🇪 Sweden 2001
26 🇨🇭 Switzerland 2008

Monaco, Vatican City, and San Marino also have open borders with Schengen area countries even though they aren’t part of the treaty.

The post A Visual Guide to Europe’s Member States appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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