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Portal:European Union

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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).

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 their successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The United Kingdom became the first member state to leave the EU on 31 January 2020. Before this, three territories of member states had left the EU or its forerunners. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. (Full article...)

Selected article

Tratado de Lisboa 13 12 2007 (081).jpg

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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Mont St. Michel Spire.JPG
Photo credit: User:Nilington
The spire of Mont Saint-Michel is visible from the courtyard outside the abbey.

Did you know?

...that within the Eurozone the European Central Bank has the exclusive authority to set monetary policy?

...that Greenland and United Kingdom are the only countries to ever leave the European Union?

Selected city

Stockholm

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Stockholm has been Sweden's political and economic center since the 13th century. Today it is the largest municipality of Sweden, with a population of 776,000, while the populations of the Stockholm urban area and Metropolitan Stockholm are roughly 1.2 and 1.9 million, respectively. With its location on the east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, it is widely renowned for its beauty.

The city is said to have been founded by Birger Jarl in order to protect Sweden from a sea invasion by foreign navies, and to stop the pillage of towns such as Sigtuna on Lake Mälaren. It is also said that the name derives from the spot where a log (stock) pushed into the waters, and following its currents, drifted upon an islet (holm). This location would thus constitute the best location for a harbour for returning ships.

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