European Union (EU) vs European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) are two distinct but closely related transnational entities in Europe.

European Union

Membership: The EU is a political and economic union of 27 European countries that are located primarily in Europe.

Objectives: The EU aims to establish a single market, allowing the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people among its member states. It also has a common currency, the Euro, used by 19 of its member states.

Policies: EU member states share common policies in various areas, including trade, competition, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development. The EU has its institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council, to develop and implement policies.

Legal System: EU member states are bound by a common legal framework, and decisions made by EU institutions have a direct effect on national legislation.

European Economic Area

Membership: The EEA includes the member states of the EU plus three non-EU countries: Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. These three countries participate in the single market without being full EU members.

Objectives: The EEA aims to extend the EU's single market to non-EU member countries, providing them with access to the four freedoms (free movement of goods, services, capital, and people).

Policies: EEA countries adopt EU legislation related to the single market, but they do not participate in the EU's common agricultural and fisheries policies or the customs union.

Legal System: While EEA countries adopt a significant portion of EU laws related to the single market, they do not participate in the full range of EU policies. The EEA Agreement establishes a parallel legal framework that allows these countries to participate in the single market.

In summary, the EU is a political and economic union of European countries with shared policies and institutions, while the EEA is a broader economic area that includes non-EU countries and focuses mainly on participating in the single market.
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