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What does the EU do?

The EU tries to promote economic and social progress across its 28 members states. It does this through supporting the free trade of goods and services, the free movement of people, and the freedom to invest capital (money).

It created a single market so there is one set of rules for trading across whole EU economy. To do this, it creates and enforces rules on a number of policy areas and requires member states to accept each others’ standards.

There are many EU policies on specific matters such as:

The EU is also getting more involved in digital commerce and transport. Members also aim to cooperate on foreign policy challenges.

The EU also promotes trade through the single currency, the euro, which is used by 19 member countries. For trade treaties with non-EU countries, the EU is represented collectively by the Commission. The Europe 2020 strategy is an attempt to coordinate countries’ economic goals.

Many members are also part of an area where cross-border travel is possible without passports, called the Schengen area.

The EU has expanded several times and has several possible future members.