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The "European Union (EU) is an "economic and "political union of 28 "member states that are "primarily located in "Europe. The EU operates through a system of "supranational independent institutions and "intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. "Institutions of the EU include the "European Commission, the "Council of the European Union, the "European Council, the "Court of Justice of the European Union, the "European Central Bank, the "Court of Auditors, and the "European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by "EU citizens.
The EU traces its origins from the "European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the "European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the "Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the community and its successors have grown in size by "the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The "Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the "Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.