The European Union
The European Union (EU) was an economic union comprising at its peak membership 28 countries in Western and Southern Europe, as well as Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
Based on the European Economic Community, which was founded in 1957, the EU came into being with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, under which a common currency, the Euro was created.
Most member states gave up their national currencies in favor of the Euro, but while it was legal tender in Great Britain, they retained the pound.
The EU was governed centrally by an elected central parliament of 751 elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) drawn from its member-nations, who often faced strong nationalist opposition at home from those against surrendering any local governmental power to a central, federalist body.
In the wake of the "Great Recession" of 2008 many European banks required bailouts from the European Central Bank (ECB) due to losses incurred from exposure to the global sub-prime loan market.
The resulting drop in international trade caused by the global recession, along with the loss of jobs that accompanied it meant that many of the poorer member governments were unable to service their debt obligations, and defaults on those debts by nations and national banks were a constant threat over the next 10 years.
The Euro-zone's economy never fully stabilized under the burden of its internal debt, and the entire EU ultimately collapsed under its weight in 2025.