How many countries are in the EU?

29 March 2017

What's the difference between the EU and EFTA? How many countries are in the EU? In the EFTA? In Schengen? Here are our maps to guide you through the jargon.

What is an EU member state and how many are there?

28 European countries are members of the EU. Without the UK, there will be 27. 

How many countries are going to join the EU?

Five countries are candidates. Their individual prospects of joining are quite different

Two more are potential candidates, who have been promised the prospect of joining when they are ready. 

What are the EEA countries?

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are also part of the European Economic Area. This makes them part of the EU's single market, although they also accept EU laws. 

What is EFTA?

EFTA is the European Free Trade Association. Switzerland is the fourth member. It’s not a member of the single market but has a series of individual deals with the EU giving it significant market access. 

Which countries are in the Schengen zone?

The Schengen zone is an area without border controls like passport checks.  26 countries in Europe are part of the Schengen free travel area. It includes 22 EU members, plus the four EFTA countries. 

What's the Eurozone?

This refers to the 19 EU countries which have adopted the Euro as their currency. 

Non-Eurozone countries

Seven more members will do, in theory, at some point in the future. 

Which countries have an opt-out?

Two countries have an opt-out from joining the Euro: Denmark and the UK. 


Correction 29 March 2017

We corrected a typo shortly after publication.

Correction 31 March 2017

We corrected the figure for the number of EU countries in Schengen.

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