The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 447 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, 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. 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 EU member states which use the euro currency. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison).
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.
Nicosia, known locally as Lefkosia is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. Nicosia is located at 35°10' north, 33°21' east (35.1667, 33.35). Located on the Pedieos river and situated roughly in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the center and capital of an administrative district (Nicosia District), and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is currently the only divided capital city in the world, with the northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) portions divided by the "Green Line", a demilitarized zone maintained by the United Nations. The 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 36 percent of the island's territory literally cut the capital in half. The population of the part of the city under the control of the Republic of Cyprus is 206,200 (end of 2001).
Nicosia is a modern, dynamic capital with lots of shops, restaurants and entertainment.The city is a trade center and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and of all the colleges and institutes of Republic of Cyprus.
The following are images from various European Union-related articles on Wikipedia.
A 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.
After two devastating world wars, the political climate favoured an international unity that could preserve peace in Europe effectively. (Hamburg, after a massive Alliedbombing in 1943 in the picture)