"The European Union (EU) is a unique partnership in which member states have pooled sovereignty in certain policy areas and harmonized laws on a wide range of economic and political issues. […] The EU currently consists of 28 member states, including the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. […] The EU is largely viewed as a cornerstone of European stability and prosperity. Currently, however, the EU faces a range of political and economic pressures, including slow growth and persistently high unemployment in many EU countries, as well as the rise of populist political parties, at least some of which harbor anti-EU or 'euroskeptic' sentiments. […] Successive U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have long supported the European integration project, viewing it as crucial to European peace and security and as a way to foster strong U.S. allies and trading partners. The United States and the EU share a dynamic political partnership on an array of foreign policy issues, and U.S.-EU trade and investment relations are extensive and mutually beneficial. How the EU evolves in the years ahead may have significant strategic and economic repercussions for the United States. At the same time, EU leaders are concerned about indications that the Trump Administration could diverge from traditionally held U.S. views on European integration and the U.S.-EU partnership. This report provides a brief history of the EU and the major challenges currently confronting the EU as an institution. It also discusses the potential implications both for the EU itself and for U.S.-EU relations."
CRS Report for Congress, R44249
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html