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The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 447 million. An internal single market has been established through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where the states have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market; enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area. A monetary union was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 member states which use the euro currency. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison) with the characteristics of either a federation or confederation.
The union and EU citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome. The original member states of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The communities and their successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The United Kingdom became the first member state to leave the EU on 31 January 2020. Before this, three territories of member states had left the EU or its forerunners. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. (Full article...)
The economy of the European Union combines the economies of 28 member states and is generating an estimated nominal GDP of €12.8 trillion in 2012 according to the Eurostat. It accounts for about 31% of the world's total economic output. 18 member states adopted a single currency, the euro, managed by the European Central Bank. The EU economy consists of a single market and is represented as a unified entity in the WTO.
Did you know?
is the capital
and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria
, with a population of 1,246,791, and some 1,377,761 in the metropolitan area
, the Capital Municipality. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of the mountain massif Vitosha
, and is the administrative, cultural, and economic centre of the country.
The history of Sofia dates back to the 8th century B.C, when Thracians established a settlement there. Sofia has had several names in the different periods of its existence, and remnants of the city's millenary history can still be seen today alongside modern landmarks. Sofia is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, blending its past and present in a remarkable architectural style. Historic landmarks include the 10th-century Boyana Church, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, and the early Byzantine Saint Sofia Church. More modern architecture is represented by the Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the Rakovski Str theatre district, Slaveykov Square's outdoor book market, and the NDK. Sofia is the see of an Eastern Orthodox and of a Roman Catholic diocese.
The following are images from various European Union-related articles on Wikipedia.
Politics of the European Union)
Organigram of the political system. The seven organs of the Union are in blue, national / intergovernmental elements in orange. (from
cartogram depicting the population distribution between old EU-27 member states (including the UK and excluding Croatia). 58% of all citizens of the EU live in the four largest member states: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. (from Demographics of the European Union)
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