The European Union is an economic and political union of 28 member states. It has a population of over 500 million; Germany is its largest member.
The founding members of the bloc were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany, who signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993.
EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels to respond to growing calls for an arms embargo against Russia. The meeting comes in the wake of the MH17 crash, which some say was caused by Russian-supplied missiles. EU countries, however, remain at odds on how far to go with sanctions.
United States is reportedly pressuring the EU to toughen sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis. But business leaders in Germany are already beginning to feel the economic sting of existing sanctions. They warn jobs could be at risk.