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Countries in brief

EU Member States

The European Union (EU) currently comprises 28 Member States. The origins of what is known as the EU today started with six Member States founding the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952. Since then the number of members has increased continuously. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark joined in 1973, the Mediterranean countries Spain, Portugal and Greece joined in the Eighties. 1995 saw the addition of Finland, Austria and Sweden, whilst the East European accession in 2004 increased the number of Member States from 15 to 25. The most recent countries to join were Croatia (2013), Romania and Bulgaria (2007).

Candidate countries

Currently five countries have official candidate country status. Accession negotiations have begun with two of the five candidates: Turkey and Montenegro. Macedonia, Serbia and Albania have not yet entered into official negotiations with the EU. As some of the official statistics compiled by the candidate countries are not yet fully harmonised to EU standards, Eurostat offers a range of data on the candidate countries and other potential future Member States in a separate database section entitled enlargement countries.

EFTA countries

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) currently consists of four countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It was founded in 1960. Many of the original Member States have since joined the European Union (EU). Together with 28 EU Member States, the EFTA Member States Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland form the European Economic Area (EEA). One EFTA member, Switzerland, has not joined the EEA but has a series of bilateral agreements, including a free trade agreement, with the EU.


The EU Statistics Office provides access to virtually all data published by Eurostat. The database contains a very large amount of datasets and is divided into thematic sections. Assistance on how to extract data from the Eurostat database can be found in the Eurostat demo tour.

More : Databases …

Additional Information

Statistics visualized

EU comparison: Germany and the other Member States

Compare Germany with other European Union countries

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