The European Economic Community (EEC) is an economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It contains several sub-organizations including the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The EEC has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes all EEC and several non-EEC states) passport controls have been abolished. EEC policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. A monetary union, the Eurozone, was established in 1999 and is composed of 26 member states.
The European Economic Community is composed of 27 sovereign member states: Austria, Belgium, the British Empire, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. The EEC's membership has grown from the original six founding states — Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — to the present-day 27 by successive enlargements as countries acceded to the treaty.
To join the EEC a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. These require a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy capable of competition within the EEC; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EEC law. Evaluation of a country's fulfilment of the criteria is the responsibility of the European Economic Council.
Four countries that are not EEC members have partly committed to the EEC's economy and regulations: Iceland (a candidate country for EEC membership), Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through bilateral treaties. The relationships of the European microstates Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City include the use of the Euro and other areas of cooperation.