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Portal:European Union

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Introduction

  Welcome to the European Union Portal!

The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The Union has a total area of 4,233,255 km2 (1,634,469 sq mi) and an estimated total population of over 448 million. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison) combining the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.

Containing 5.8% of the world population in 2020, EU member states generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$16.6 trillion in 2022, constituting approximately one sixth of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all EU states except Bulgaria have a very high Human Development Index according to the United Nations Development Programme. Its cornerstone, the Customs Union, paved the way to establishing an internal single market based on standardised legal framework and legislation that applies 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. The eurozone is a group composed of the 20 EU member states that have fully implemented the economic and monetary union and use the euro currency. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the union has developed a role in external relations and defence. It maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Due to its global influence, the European Union has been described by some scholars as an emerging superpower.

In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The United Kingdom became the only member state to leave the EU, in 2020; ten countries are aspiring or negotiating to join it. (Full article...)

Selected article

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 Ursula von der Leyen, who leads the von der Leyen Commission and assumed office in 2019. 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.

Selected picture

Euro sign
Diagram credit: Erina
The euro sign (€) is the currency symbol used for the euro, the official currency of the eurozone and a few other European countries. The design was presented to the public by the European Commission on 12 December 1996, and consists of a stylized letter E (or epsilon) crossed by two lines instead of one. While the Commission intended the euro sign to be a prescribed glyph, type designers made it clear that they intended instead to adapt the design to be consistent with the typefaces to which the symbol was to be added. Euro banknotes and coins entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members. This diagram shows the construction of the euro sign as formally specified by the European Commission.

Did you know?

... that the presidency of the EU Council rotates every half year?

... that the EU parliamentary election is the world's biggest transnational election?

... that the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012?

Selected city

Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is located in the southern part of Finland on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, by the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is 564,643 (31.10.2006). The Helsinki urban region contains the neighboring cities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, which are together called the Capital Region. This area has a total population of approximately 997,291 citizens. The Greater Helsinki area contains several more neighboring cities and has a population of approximately 1,293,093, which means that one out of every four Finns lives in the Greater Helsinki area.

Helsinki is Finland's international gateway. The city is the country's nerve center for business, finance, fashion, medicine, entertainment, media, culture and intellectual discourse. There is a large and varied collection of museums, galleries and performance spaces. The city has Finland's largest foreign population in terms of real numbers and percentage of population. There are over 130 nationalities resident in Helsinki.

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