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The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are primarily located in Europe. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958, respectively. In the intervening years, the community 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 Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.

Selected article

Chelsea defend corner.jpg

Chelsea Football Club are an English professional football club based in west London. Founded in 1905, they play in the FA Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier in English football. They have had two broad periods of success, one during the 1960s and early 1970s, and the second from the late 1990s to the present day. Chelsea have won three league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups. During the 2005-06 season, they became Premier League champions for the second consecutive year.

Chelsea's home is the 42,055 capacity Stamford Bridge football stadium in Fulham, west London, where they have played since their foundation. Despite their name, the club are based just outside the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In 2003, the club was bought by Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich. The club's traditional kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. Their traditional crest is a ceremonial blue lion holding a staff; a modified version of this was adopted in 2005. Chelsea are one of the best-supported clubs in the UK, with an estimated fanbase of around four million.

Selected city

Sofia

Sofia is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, with a population of 1,246,791, and some 1,377,761 in the metropolitan area, the Capital Municipality. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of the mountain massif Vitosha, and is the administrative, cultural, and economic centre of the country.

The history of Sofia dates back to the 8th century B.C, when Thracians established a settlement there. Sofia has had several names in the different periods of its existence, and remnants of the city's millenary history can still be seen today alongside modern landmarks. Sofia is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, blending its past and present in a remarkable architectural style. Historic landmarks include the 10th-century Boyana Church, the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, and the early Byzantine Saint Sofia Church. More modern architecture is represented by the Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the Rakovski Str theatre district, Slaveykov Square's outdoor book market, and the NDK. Sofia is the see of an Eastern Orthodox and of a Roman Catholic diocese.

Selected picture

PalaceOfWestminsterAtNight.jpg
Photo credit: User:Solipsist
The Palace of Westminster at night seen from the south bank of the River Thames.

Did you know?

...that Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City all mint their own euro coins, with their own national symbols on the back, despite not being EU members?

...that Slovenia will be joining the Euro on January 1, 2007?

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