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Portal:European Union

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The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of over 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters (only) where members 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. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

The EU and European 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 members 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 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 latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified an intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal.

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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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Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the country's largest city, with a population of some 450,000. Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak presidency, parliament and government as well as home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other national economic, cultural and educational institutions. Most of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions have their headquarters in Bratislava. The city's past has been characterized by the strong influence of various peoples, including Slovaks, Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Austrians and Jews. Bratislava still retains its cosmopolitan spirit. It hosts many festivals and trade shows and it is famous for its night life and leisure facilities.

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