The EU can trace its history as far as the aftermath of the Second World War. Amidst a movement to establish unity within a war-torn continent, France and Germany came together to make sure they would never face each other in battle again. The result was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), created to stop the inner nations (West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) fighting over resources.
The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 to incorporate trade in a more general sense, and established what became known as the European Economic Community (EEC). With the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the confederation became the European Union and took the single biggest step towards becoming what we recognise today. Member nations would now co-operate in politics, economics, trade, money, justice and foreign affairs. At this stage 22 members had also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, creating an open-borders zone allowing people to travel without a passport, and 16 members had adopted the Euro as their currency. Today, the EU contains 28 member nations and over 500million people.