The EU currently consists of 28 member nations. A total of around 510 million people live within the union. By comparison, the USA has a population of about 324 million.
Think you know Europe? Then test your knowledge by taking our quiz – and find out how European you really are.
1. How many member nations and inhabitants make up the European Union?
2. What year was the European Union founded?
The Treaty of Maastricht brought the EU into being on 7 February 1992 but its origins date back to the 1950s, when six nations set up the European Economic Community (EEC).
3. What language do most people in the EU speak as their mother tongue?
German is the most widely spoken mother tongue in the EU: 18 percent of EU citizens speak German as their first language – in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Italy in particular. French is in second place with 14 percent, followed by English and Italian with 13 percent each.
4. How many countries of the EU use the euro as their common currency and what was the first year EU citizens were able to pay for things with it?
19 of the 28 EU member nations make up the so-called Eurozone and have done so since 1 January 2015. Within that zone, the euro is the sole form of payment. Euro notes and coins were introduced in 2002 but, three years prior to that, the common currency was already recorded as official book money within the banking industry.
5. Which EU country has the biggest and which has the smallest population?
81 million people live in Germany, making it the most highly populated country within the EU and almost 190 times bigger than the population of Malta, where around 430,000 have their permanent residence.
6. What is the highest point within the EU? And where is the lowest?
The summit of Mt Blanc or Monte Bianco on the border of France and Italy is the highest point within the European Union at 4,810 metres above sea level. Around 700 kilometres further north, as the crow flies, is the small community of Zuidplas near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The town lies seven metres below sea level, which makes it the lowest point within the EU.
7. How many gold stars appear on the European flag and what do they stand for?
The European flag features a wreath made out of twelve golden stars on a blue background. Originally this was the flag the European Council adopted in 1955. The design has prevailed ever since because the number twelve is a traditional symbol of perfection, completeness and unity.
8. What is meant by the term “blue banana”?
This refers to the banana-shaped, densely populated main European area between the Irish Sea and the Mediterranean. Almost all the institutions of the European Union are also found within this area. Why blue? Because it is the colour of the European flag and therefore also the colour of the European Union.
9. Who wrote the European anthem?
The composer was none other than Ludwig van Beethoven. The European anthem is an instrumental arrangement of the last movement of his 9th Symphony.
10. “Europe is our future; without it we have no future.” Who does this quote come from?
From the former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. He more than any other politician was an ardent advocate of a united Europe.