Portal:European Union

Introduction

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The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 447 million. An internal single market has been established through a standardised system of laws that apply 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. A monetary union was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 member states which use the euro currency. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison) with the characteristics of either a federation or confederation.

The union and EU 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 member states 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...)

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Poland /ˈplənd/ (About this soundlisten) (Polish: Polska), officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska; Kashubian: Pòlskô Repùblika; Silesian: Polsko Republika), is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi),making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe.

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Did you know?

...that Romania and Bulgaria became full members of the European Union on January 1, 2007?

...that the European Union's member states combined represent the world's largest economy by GDP, larger than the United States, the People's Republic of China, and Japan, the seventh largest territory in the world by area and the third largest by population after China and India?

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Vilnius

Vilnius is the capital and largest city of Lithuania, with a population of 537,152 as of 2013. It is the capital of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the county seat of Vilnius County. Vilnius is situated in southeastern Lithuania at the confluence of the Vilnia and Neris Rivers. It is believed that Vilnius, like many other cities, was named after a crossing river, Vilnia. Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city with diverse architecture. There are more than 40 churches in Vilnius.

Some historians identify the city with Voruta, a legendary capital of Mindaugas who was crowned in 1253 as King of Lithuania. The city was first mentioned in written sources in 1323, in letters of Grand Duke Gediminas that were sent to German cities and invited German and Jewish community to settle in the capital city. In 1387, the city was granted city rights by Jogaila, one of Gediminas' successors.

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