The European Union is composed of 27 countries, primarily located in Europe. The EU has a combined population of over 500 million people, which is a number surpassing that of the United States. Although countries are still independent states, they do follow a set of standardized laws. They also use a common currency, the Euro. A union called the Eurozone refers to the group of countries that uses this currency. They also established the Schengen Area, which allows free travel and trade without the use of passports or border crossings within a set number of EU and non-EU states.
The GDP of the EU is 16,242 billion US dollars, which equals 20% of global GDP. This makes the EU one of the most powerful groups in the world. The European Union is a member of many important institutions, including the United Nations, WTO, G8, and G-20. The EU itself is composed of many institutions, including the European Commission and the European Central Bank