The European Union (EU) is a politic/economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,324,782 km2 (1,669,808 sq mi), and an estimated population of over 510 million. The euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of the eurozone.

One of the advantages of the adoption of a common currency is the reduction of the risk associated with changes in currency exchange rates. It has been found that the introduction of the euro created "significant reductions in market risk exposures for nonfinancial firms both in and outside of Europe."

The European sovereign debt crisis occurred during a period of time in which several European countries faced the collapse of financial institutions, high government debt and rapidly rising bond yield spreads in government securities. The European sovereign debt crisis started in 2008, with the collapse of Iceland's banking system, and spread primarily to Greece, Ireland and Portugal during 2009. Also recently, credit rating agency Standard and Poor's has cut their rating for the European Union's debt from AA+ to AA. The agency cited the United Kingdom's decision to exit the organization (Brexit) and a possible cascading effect from the vote as the primary reasons for the downgrade. the U.K. has voted to leave the European Union. The financial markets braced for a knee-jerk reaction to the results of the European Union Referendum vote and will now awake to turmoil. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will step down in October 2016.

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