The European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), Schengen Area, and Eurozone are all closely related, but they are not the same thing. Here is a breakdown of each one:
European Union (EU)
The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The EU has a single market, which means that goods, services, capital, and people can move freely between member states. The EU also has a common currency, the euro, which is used by 19 member states.
European Economic Area (EEA)
The European Economic Area (EEA) is a free trade area that includes the EU member states and three non-EU members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The EEA ensures the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people between member states. However, the non-EU members of the EEA do not have a say in the EU’s decision-making process.
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and other border controls at their mutual borders. This allows people to travel freely between Schengen countries without having to show their passports at the border. The Schengen Area includes 22 EU member states, as well as four non-EU members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The Eurozone is a group of 19 EU member states that have adopted the euro as their official currency. The Eurozone is managed by the European Central Bank, which sets monetary policy for the region.
The difference between the EU, EEA, Schengen Area, and Eurozone
The EU is the most comprehensive of the four, as it includes both political and economic integration. The EEA is primarily an economic agreement, while the Schengen Area is a border-free area. The Eurozone is a monetary union that includes 19 EU member states.
|Number of Members||27||30||26||19|
|Primary focus||Political and economic integration||Economic integration||Border-free area||Monetary union|
|Currency||Euro (19 members), other national currencies (8 members)||Euro (3 members), other national currencies (27 members)||Euro (22 members), other national currencies (4 members)||Euro (19 members)|
|Free movement of goods, services, capital, and people||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|