The European Union (also known as the EU) was started after World War Two. Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands joined together in 1958 to create the ‘European Economic Community‘ (EEC). The EEC was created so that the member countries can trade with one another become economically interdependent. Therefore, they were likely to avoid any conflict.
In 1993, the EEC became the European Union. Since then, the EU has moved from a purely economic union into an organisation that covers; economic, climate, environment, health, security, justice and migration.
“The European flag. The European flag symbolises both the European Union and, more broadly, the identity and unity of Europe. It features a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background. They stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe.” (Source)
1) The EU is the second-largest economy in the world.
The EU has a combined GDP of $18.8 trillion. Take Malta, for example. Malta is the 120th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $16 billion (according to the IMF). Being a part of the Union offers Malta a chance to hold more of a significant influence.
2) Free movement of goods, services, capital and persons in a single EU internal market.
This allows businesses to reduce costs by avoiding tariffs from intra-EU trade. Moreover, companies can hire any EU citizen, meaning their talent pool as increased tenfold.
3) Freedom of movement also increases the market size.
The average population of an EU country is 18 million citizens. With the open borders, the total population of the EU just over 500 million citizens. This increased market size dramatically improves business prospects.
4) 19 of the 28 countries have adopted the Euro as their single currency.
These countries include; Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Malta. 340 million people use the Euro on a day to day basis. This vast market eases any problems when trying to convert currencies and figure out the exchange rates.
5) A collection of EU programmes are made available to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).
These programmes help access finance and markets, support entrepreneurship, business creation, internationalisation and growth.
6) Another benefit for SME’s are the EU’s competition laws.
This prevents large companies from using their bargaining power to impose conditions that would make it difficult for their suppliers or customers to do business with their competitors.
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