European Union (EU)

Vlaggen van de Europese Unie
© Belga

The European Union (EU) was established as the European Economic Community (EEC) by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Since then, 28 countries have joined the EU, the last being Croatia in 2013.

Since the departure of the United Kingdom on 31 January 2020 (Brexit), the EU still has 27 Member States:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France (including the French overseas regions of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion and Mayotte, as well as the French overseas collectivity Saint-Martin)
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain (including the Canary Islands)
  • Czech Republic
  • Sweden

On the website of the European Union you will find more information on the current Member States and candidate countries(opens in new window).

European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area (EEA) has 30 members:

  • all 27 Member States of the European Union
  • the 3 States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), except Switzerland:
    • Iceland
    • Liechtenstein
    • Norway.

Switzerland is not an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market. This means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Since its departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Economic Area.

Schengen Area

The Schengen area is a travel zone without borders between the 27 Schengen countries. It allows EU nationals and many non-EU nationals to travel freely without border checks.

The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.