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The EU, or European Union, is an inter-governmental, supranational organization of European states. Although the roots of the EU go back to predecessor organizations dating from the 1950s, the EU was established by treaty on February 7th, 1992, in Maastricht, Netherlands. The EU has several institutions, including the European Parliament, the European Commission, and European System of Central Banks, which includes the ECB, or European Central Bank. The membership of the EU is subject to expansion, and already is more than double the original 12 member states. The Byzantine structure of the EU results in slow decision making processes. The linkage between the members of the EU may someday be strengthened beyond a series of treaties to include a common EU constitution or other unifying document.



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