In 1951, EU countries began to cooperate in order to stabilize the economy. Today, the European Union is made up of 28 countries. The EU countries list is shown to the right. Schengen countries however, is made up of 26 of these EU countries, and many of the Schengen countries can be found in the EU countries list.
In these EU member countries there will be no discrimination between countries and citizens regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or age. People are granted integrity and human dignity as well as equality between genders. The EU offers the freedom of conscience and expression as well as the right to strike, and vote. The EU also allows for the right for workers to be consulted with and informed. It also offers the right to environmental protection and advocates the rights of children and the elderly. EU member citizens have the right to reconcile professional and family life, as well as the right to social security, health care, social assistance, and data protection.
Regardless of profession or other circumstances, an EU national is allowed to stay in any EU country and the right to visit any EU countries as desired. Regardless of nationality, immediate family has the right to go with EU nationals to accompany an individual and live with them in another EU country. Individuals are entitled to move all of their belongings when they move to a different EU country without paying duties or being taxed. Individuals have the right to retire in any EU country that they have worked in even if self-employed. If an individual is unemployed, the person is allowed to go to any country in the EU to search for a job. If there is any decision that an EU national feels is incorrect, an individual may formally complain to the European Parliament, the European Commission, or the European Ombudsman.
European countries that are not in the European Union are considered to not be a member state of the EU and are referred to as non EU countries. Norway is not a part of the EU but is a member of the Schengen Treaty. Switzerland is also not part of the EU and is a country that is independent and remains neutral. It has its own set of procedures in regards to immigration and obtaining individual visas. Various countries are part of the Schengen treaty and part of the EU and vice versa. There are 26 countries that are part of the Schengen Visa list which allows for the elimination of passports and immigration control at their conjoining borders which encourages international freedom to travel. While some of these countries are not members of the European Union, it is thought to be because they already are economically strong. With their economic strength, they are able to maintain their own independence without being officially part of the EU.
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