Portal:European Union

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The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are primarily located in Europe. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

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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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Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation center. Budapest has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the amalgamation on 17 November 1873 of right-bank Buda together with Pest on the left bank. It is the ninth largest city in the European Union.

Budapest's recorded history begins with the Roman town of Aquincum, founded around AD 89 on the site of an earlier Celtic settlement near what was to become Óbuda, and from 106 until the end of the 4th century the capital of the province of lower Pannonia. The Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the territory at the end of the 9th century, and a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Research places the probable residence of the Árpáds an early place of central power near what became Budapest. The Tatar invasion in the 13th century quickly proved that defence is difficult on a plain. King Béla IV of Hungary therefore ordered the construction of reinforced stone walls around the towns and set his own royal palace on the top of the protecting hills of Buda. In 1361 it became the capital of Hungary.

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Photo credit: Nattfodd
The London Millennium Bridge with by St. Pauls Cathedral in the background.
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