Portal:European Union/Selected article

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Portal:European Union/Selected article/1
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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.

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The Treaty of Lisbon or Lisbon Treaty (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement which amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Lisbon Treaty was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It amends the Maastricht Treaty (also known as the Treaty on European Union) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC; also known as the Treaty of Rome). In this process, the Rome Treaty was renamed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Prominent changes included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in several policy areas in the Council of Ministers, a change in calculating such a majority to a new double majority, a more powerful European Parliament forming a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure, a consolidated legal personality for the EU and the creation of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Treaty also made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding.

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€2 commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the Eurozone since 2004 as legal tender. The coins typically commemorate the anniversaries of historical events or draw attention to current events of special importance. Eighteen variations of €2 commemorative coins have been minted. €2 commemorative coins have become collectibles.

The basis for the commemorative coins derived from a decision of the European Council, which repealed the prohibition of changing the national obverse sides of euro coins from 1 January 2004 onwards.

The face value of the coins, typically is less than their intrinsic value of between €3 and €12. The exceptions are San Marino and the Vatican City, where coins from the former are regularly sold for between €30 and €40, while coins from the latter are very rarely obtained for less than €100. Issued designs are made public in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France and is one of the founding and core members of the European Union. Belgium has a population of over ten million people, in an area of around 30,000 square kilometres (11,700 square miles).

Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Romance Europe, Belgium is linguistically divided. It has two main languages: 59% of its population, mainly in the region Flanders, speak Dutch; French is spoken by 40% of the entire Belgian population. Less than 1% of the Belgian people, around 70,000 citizens, live in the German-speaking Community in the east of Wallonia. This linguistic diversity often leads to political and cultural conflict and is reflected in Belgium's complex system of government and political history.

Belgium derives its name from the Latin name of the most northern part of Gaul, Gallia Belgica, named after a group of mostly Celtic tribes, Belgae. Historically, Belgium has been a part of the Low Countries, which also include the Netherlands and Luxembourg and used to cover a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states. From the end of the Middle Ages until the seventeenth century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the sixteenth century until the Belgian revolution in 1830, the area at that time called the Southern Netherlands, was the site of many battles between the European powers. More recently, Belgium was a founding member of the European Union, hosting its headquarters, as well as those of many other major international organisations, such as NATO.

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The Treaties of Rome are two of the treaties of the European Union signed on March 25, 1957. Both treaties were signed by The Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.

The first established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the second established the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom). They were the first international organisations to be based on supranationalism, after the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) established a few years prior.

The treaties came into force on 1 January 1958 and the EEC treaty has been amended on numerous occasions (see Treaties of the European Union); It has since been renamed from The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community to the The Treaty establishing the European Community. However the Euratom treaty has seen very little amendment due to the later sensitivity surrounding atomic energy amongst the European electorate.

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The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is in the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands. Established in 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court. The ICJ should not be confused with the International Criminal Court or a court exercising jurisdiction under Belgium's War Crimes Law, both of which also potentially have "global" jurisdiction. English and French are its two official languages.

The Court's workload is characterised by a wide range of judicial activity. Its main functions are to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorised international organs and agencies. The number of decisions made by the ICJ has been relatively small, but there has clearly been an increased willingness to use the Court since the 1980s, especially among developing countries, although the USA withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986, meaning it accepts the court's jurisdiction on only a case-to-case basis.

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The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an inter-governmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 20 member states. Its headquarters are in Paris, France. ESA has a staff of about 2,000 with an annual budget of about €4 billion in 2013.

ESA's spaceport is the Centre Spatial Guyanais (Guyana Space Centre) in Kourou, French Guiana, a site chosen because it is close to the equator from which commercially important orbits are easier to access. During the 1990s ESA gained the position of market leader in commercial space launches and in recent years ESA has established itself as a major player in space exploration.

ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, and the European Astronauts Centre (PACI), that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany.

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The EUFOR or European Union Force is an international military force under the supervision of the European Council. It is best known for operation Althea; their current involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina to oversee the military implementation of the Dayton Agreement. It replaced the NATO-led SFOR on the 2nd of December 2004. The EUFOR is led by the Political and Security Committee, and the civilian implementation of the agreement lies in the hands of the Office of High Representative. The efforts of both are coordinated by the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

EUFOR has around 7,000 personnel from 33 countries, mostly from the countries of the European Union. There are however, additional troops from other European countries and also some from Canada and elsewhere. As of 2005, this is the largest purely European military operation.

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The eurozone, officially euro area, refers to a currency union among the European Union member states that have adopted the euro as their sole official currency. The Eurosystem, headed by the European Central Bank, is responsible for monetary policy within the Eurozone.

The Eurozone has 17 members, with a further nine states and territories using it as their sole currency. It circulates widely beyond that, and has started to serve as a reserve currency. Based on official estimates of 2007 GDP, the Eurozone is the largest economy in the world.

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Galileo launch on Soyuz, 21 Oct 2011

The Galileo positioning system is a proposed satellite navigation system, to be built by the European Union as an alternative to GPS (which is controlled by the United States military) and the Russian GLONASS. The system should be operational by 2010, two years later than originally anticipated. The first stage of the Galileo program was agreed upon officially on May 26, 2003 by the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA).

It is named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. The Galileo positioning system should not be referred to as GPS, which refers specifically to the existing United States system, but as "Galileo." Galileo is intended to provide: greater precision to all users, improved coverage of satellite signals at higher latitudes, which northern regions such as Scandinavia will benefit from, a positioning system upon which European nations can rely even in times of war or political disagreement.

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The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and creating the foundation for European democracy and the modern-day developments of the European Union. The ECSC was the first organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism.

The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. He declared his aim was to 'make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.' The means to do so, Europe's first supranational Community, was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed not only by France and West Germany, but also by Italy and the three Benelux states: Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Between these states the ECSC would create a common market for coal and steel. The ECSC was governed by a 'High Authority', checked by bodies representing governments, MPs and an independent judiciary.

The ECSC was joined by two other similar communities in 1957, with whom it shared its membership and some institutions. In 1969 all its institutions were merged with that of the European Economic Community (EEC, which later became part of the European Union), but it retained its own independent identity. However in 2002 the Treaty of Paris expired, and with no desire to renew the treaty, all the ECSC activities and resources were absorbed by the European Community. During its existence, the ECSC had succeeded in creating a common market but could not prevent the decline of the coal and steel industries. It did however set the ground for the future European Union.

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The Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for valor in the face of the enemy. Foreign decorations equivalent to the Virtuti Militari include Britain's Victoria Cross and the U.S. Medal of Honor. It is awarded either for personal heroism or sometimes to commanders representing their units.

Awarded in five classes, the order was created in 1792 by Poland's King Stanisław August Poniatowski. It has been reintroduced, renamed and banned several times, with its fate closely reflecting the vicissitudes of the Polish people. Throughout the decoration's existence, thousands of soldiers and officers, Polish and foreign, several cities and one ship have been awarded the Virtuti Militari for valor or outstanding leadership in war. There have been no new awards since 1989.

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Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The Palace is a setting for state occasions and royal entertaining, a base for many officially visiting Heads of State, and a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing, crisis or grief. "Buckingham Palace" or simply "The Palace" commonly refers to the source of press statements issued by the offices of the Royal Household.

In the Middle Ages, Buckingham Palace's site formed part of the Manor of Ebury. It had several royal owners from Edward the Confessor onwards and was also the object of much property speculation. Precursors of Buckingham Palace were Blake House, Goring House, and Arlington House. The State Rooms form the nucleus of the working Palace and are used regularly by The Queen and members of the royal family for official and state entertaining. Buckingham Palace is one of the world's most familiar buildings and more than 50,000 people visit the palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the royal garden parties.

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The Flag of Europe is the flag and emblem of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE). It consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on a blue background. It was created in 1955 by the CoE and adopted by the EU, then the European Communities, in the 1980s.

The CoE and EU are distinct in membership and nature. The CoE is a 47-member international organisation dealing with human rights and rule of law, while the EU is a quasi-federal union of 28 states focused on economic integration and political cooperation. Today, the flag is mostly associated with the latter.

It was the intention of the CoE that the flag should come to represent Europe as a whole, and since its adoption the membership of the CoE covers nearly the entire continent. This is why the EU adopted the same flag. The flag has been used to represent Europe in sporting events and as a pro-democracy banner outside the Union.

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West Wycombe Park is a country house near the village of West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England. Built between 1740 and 1800 as a pleasure palace for the decadent 18th-century libertine and dilettante Sir Francis Dashwood, the house is long and rectangular, and all four façades are columned and pedimented, three theatrically so. The house combines and encapsulates the entire progression of British 18th-century architecture from early idiosyncratic Palladian to the Neoclassical, although anomalies in the design of the house make it architecturally unique. It is in an 18th-century landscaped park, surrounded by smaller temples that act as satellites to the greater temple, the house.

The house was given to the National Trust in 1943 by Sir John Dashwood, 10th Baronet (1896–1966), an action strongly resented by his heir. Dashwood retained ownership of the contents of the house, much of which he sold; after his death, the house was restored at the expense of his son, Sir Francis Dashwood. Today, while the structure is owned by the National Trust, the house is the home of Sir Edward Dashwood and his family. The house is open to the public during the summer months and a venue for civil weddings and corporate entertainment, which help to fund its maintenance and upkeep.

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Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, on the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, on the south by Austria and Switzerland, and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany is a democratic parliamentary federal republic of 16 states. The country previously consisted of several sovereign states with their own history, culture, and religious affiliation. Germany was first unified as a nation-state amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.

The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and the G4 nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It has the largest population and largest economy of all European Union member states. Germany is both the world's third largest economy and its largest exporter of goods. Germany is facing major demographic change. Its fertility rate of 1.39 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world, and the federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to approximately 75 million by 2050. Chemnitz is thought to be the city with the lowest birth rate in the world.

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The Scottish Parliament Building is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Edinburgh. Construction on the building commenced in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) held their first debate in the new Parliament on Tuesday, 7 September 2004. The formal opening by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 9 October 2004. Enric Miralles, the Catalan architect who designed the building, died during the course of its construction.

From the outset, the building and its construction proved to be highly controversial. The choice of location, architect, design and construction company were all criticised by politicians, the media and the Scottish public. When it finally opened in 2004, the building was over three years late with an estimated final cost of £431m, higher than initial costings of between £10m and £40m. The building was welcomed by architectural academics and critics. The building conceives a poetic union between the Scottish landscape, its people, its culture and the city of Edinburgh. This approach won the parliament numerous awards including the 2005 Stirling Prize and has been described as "a tour de force of arts and crafts and quality without parallel in the last 100 years of British architecture".

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The history of Lithuania between 1219 and 1295 deals with the establishment and early history of the first Lithuanian state, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The beginning of the 13th century marks the end of the prehistory of Lithuania. From this point on the history of Lithuania is recorded in chronicles, treaties, and other written documents. In 1219, twenty-one Lithuanian dukes signed a peace treaty with Halych-Volhynia. This event is widely accepted as the first proof that the Baltic tribes were uniting and consolidating. Despite continuous warfare with two Christian orders, the Livonian Order and the Teutonic Knights, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was established and gained some control over the lands of Black Ruthenia, Polatsk, Minsk, and other territories east of modern-day Lithuania that had become weak and vulnerable after the collapse of Kievan Rus'.

The first ruler to hold the title of Grand Duke was Mindaugas. Traditionally he is considered the founder of the state, the one who united the Baltic tribes and established the Duchy. Some scholars, however, challenge this perception, arguing that an organized state existed before Mindaugas, possibly as early as 1183. After quelling an internal war with his nephews, Mindaugas was baptized in 1251, and was crowned as King of Lithuania in 1253.

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While most of the states in the world, and in Europe, are republics (have a directly or indirectly elected head of state), there are still seven monarchies in the European Union, whose head of state (a monarch) inherits his or her office, and usually keeps it for life or until they abdicate. At the dawn of the 20th century, France was the only republic among the future member states of the European Union; the ascent of republicanism to the political mainstream only started at the beginning of the 20th century.

The European Union's monarchies are: the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

All seven monarchies in the European Union are constitutional monarchies, which means that the monarch does not influence the politics of the state: either the monarch is legally prohibited from doing so, or the monarch does not utilise the political powers vested in the office by convention. There is currently no major campaign to abolish the monarchy in any of the remaining seven states, although there is a significant minority of republicans in all of them.

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The European Parliament (Europarl or EP) is the directly elected parliamentary body of the European Union. Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council), it forms the bicameral legislative branch of the Union's institutions and has been described by some one of the most powerful legislatures in the world. The Parliament, together with the Council, form the highest legislative body within the Union. This is only within the competencies of the European Community being limited to specific policy areas, however Union law does override national law. The Parliament is composed of 785 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) who serve the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (492 million).

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The euro (currency sign: ; currency code: EUR) is the official currency of the European Union (EU). Eighteen member states have adopted it, known collectively as the Eurozone (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain). The currency is also used in five further countries with formal agreements and six other countries without such agreements. Hence it is the single currency for over 320 million Europeans. Including areas using currencies pegged to the euro, the euro directly affects close to 500 million people worldwide. With more than €610 billion in circulation as of December 2006 (equivalent to US$802 billion at the exchange rates at the time), the euro is the currency with the highest combined value of cash in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar (USD). Taking official estimates of 2007 GDP, the Eurozone is the largest economy in the world by March 2008 after the USD/EUR exchange rate surpassed 1.56.

The euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency in 1999 and launched as physical coins and banknotes on 1 January 2002. It replaced the former European Currency Unit (ECU) at a ratio of 1:1. The euro is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurosystem (composed of the central banks of the euro zone countries). As an independent central bank, the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy. The Eurosystem participates in the printing, minting and distribution of notes and coins in all member states, and the operation of the Eurozone payment systems.

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The Maserati MC12 is a grand tourer produced by Maserati to allow a racing variant to compete in the FIA GT Championship. The car entered production in 2004 with 25 cars produced. A further 25 were produced in 2005 making a total of 50 cars available for customers, all of which were pre-sold for 600 000. Maserati designed and built the car on the chassis of the Enzo Ferrari but the final car is much larger. The MC12 is longer, wider and taller than the Enzo Ferrari, however the Enzo has faster acceleration and a higher top speed.

The MC12 was developed to signal Maserati's return to racing after 37 years. The road version was produced to homologate the race version. One of the requirements for participation in the FIA GT is the production of at least 25 road cars. Three GT1 race cars were entered into the FIA GT with great success. Maserati began racing the MC12 in the FIA GT toward the end of the 2004 season, achieving a victory at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

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Chelsea Football Club are an English professional football club based in west London. Founded in 1905, they play in the FA Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier in English football. They have had two broad periods of success, one during the 1960s and early 1970s, and the second from the late 1990s to the present day. Chelsea have won three league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups. During the 2005-06 season, they became Premier League champions for the second consecutive year.

Chelsea's home is the 42,055 capacity Stamford Bridge football stadium in Fulham, west London, where they have played since their foundation. Despite their name, the club are based just outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In 2003, the club was bought by Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich. The club's traditional kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. Their traditional crest is a ceremonial blue lion holding a staff; a modified version of this was adopted in 2005. Chelsea are one of the best-supported clubs in the UK, with an estimated fanbase of around four million.

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Same sex marriage map Europe detailed.svg

Same-sex marriage in Spain was legalised in 2005. In 2004, the new Socialist government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, which would include adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, a law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales on 30 June 2005 and published on 2 July 2005. Same-sex marriage officially became legal in Spain on Sunday, 3 July 2005. The ratification of this law has not been devoid of conflict, despite support from 66% of Spaniards. Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed to it, fearing the weakening of the meaning of marriage. Demonstrations for and against the law drew thousands of people from all parts of Spain.

Approximately 4,500 same-sex couples have married in Spain during the first year of the law. Shortly after the law was passed, questions arose about the legal status of marriage to non-Spaniards whose country did not permit same-sex marriage. A ruling from the Spanish Justice ministry stated that the country's same-sex marriage law allows a Spanish citizen to marry a non-Spaniard regardless of whether that person's homeland recognizes the partnership. At least one partner must be a Spanish citizen to marry.

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Schengen Agreement

The 1985 Schengen Agreement is an agreement among European states which allows for the abolition of systematic border controls between the participating countries. It also includes provisions on common policy on the temporary entry of persons, the harmonisation of external border controls and cross-border police co-operation. A total of 30 countries – including all European Union states and three non-EU members Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland – have signed the agreement and 26 have implemented it so far. The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom only take part in the police co-operation measures and not the common border control and visa provisions. Border posts and checks have been removed between Schengen countries and a common 'Schengen visa' allows tourist or visitor access to the area.

The agreement was originally signed on 14 June 1985, by five European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands). It was signed aboard the ship Princesse Marie-Astrid on the Moselle River, near Schengen, a small town in Luxembourg on the border with France and Germany.

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Flag of Portugal.svg

The flag of Portugal consists of a rectangle vertically divided into green, at the hoist, and red, at the fly, with the minor version of the national coat of arms (armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) centered over the boundary between the colors. It was officially adopted on 30 June 1911, replacing the flag used under the constitutional monarchy, after it was chosen among several proposals by a special commission, whose members included Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, João Chagas and Abel Botelho.

The current flag represents a sweeping change in the evolution of the Portuguese flag, which was always intimately associated with the royal arms. Since the country's foundation, the national flag developed from King Afonso I's blue-cross-on-white armorial square banner to the liberal monarchy's royal arms over a blue-and-white rectangle. In between, major changes associated with important political events contributed to the evolution of the national shield into its current design.

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The Mendip Hills are a range of limestone hills situated to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England, United Kingdom. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the Hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon valley to the north. The hills give their name to the local government district of Mendip, which covers most of the area.

The hills are largely carboniferous limestone, which is quarried at several sites. The higher western part of the Hills, have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with an area of 200 km2 (80 sq mi), which gives it the same level of protection as a national park. The Mendip Hills AONB Service and Somerset County Council's outdoor education centre is at the Charterhouse Centre near Blagdon.

The Mendips are home to a wide range of outdoor sports and leisure activities many based on the particular geology of the area. It is recognised as a national centre for caving and cave diving. In addition to climbing and abseiling, the area is popular with hillwalkers and those interested in natural history.

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The European Commission forms part of the executive branch of the European Union. It is one of the Union's three main political Institutions. It is a cabinet government of 27 Commissioners led by a Commission President. The current President is José Manuel Barroso, who leads the Barroso Commission who took office in 2004. It is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union.

The Commission is based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels and is supported by an administrative body of about 23,000 European civil servants divided into departments called Directorate-General. The term "Commission" can either mean the entire administrative body of the Commission or just the college of 27 Commissioners. Its internal working languages are English, French and German.

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Hungary Listeni/ˈhʌŋɡəri/ (Hungarian: Magyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ] ( )), officially the Republic of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyar Köztársaság About this sound listen , literally "Hungarian Republic"), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Pannonian Basin and it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and is a Schengen state. The official language is Hungarian, which is part of the Uralic family and is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.

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Poland Listeni/ˈplənd/ (Polish: Polska), officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska; Kashubian: Pòlskô Repùblika; Silesian: Polsko Republika), is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi),making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe.


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