THE EUROPEAN UNION..
The European Union is a supranational international political and economic organisation, comprising 28 independent and democratic member countries of Europe. Its formation was anticipated by the Treaty of Rome of 25 March 1957, its current name and structure by the Treaty of Maastricht of 7 February 1992 (which entered into force on 1 November 1993), and its official establishment in 2002 with the advent of the single currency and the subsequent Treaty of Lisbon, after a long journey undertaken by the previously existing European Communities and through the conclusion of numerous treaties, which have contributed to the long process of European integration.
Its political-economic functions make it similar to a federation of states (e.g. with regard to monetary affairs or environmental policies), while in other areas the Union is closer to a confederation (lacking a common internal policy and industrial policy) or to a supranational political organization (such as foreign policy), regulated at the legal level by Community law with its legal system and at the top the European Constitution.
It guarantees the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within its territory through a common European market (e.g. without customs duties within it) and the citizenship of the European Union, it aims at political stability, social and territorial cohesion among the member states and economic growth, promoting scientific and technological progress, trying to mitigate the socio-economic differences between the various member states and increase their socio-economic well-being or economic integration, promoting peace, social values and the welfare of its peoples, fighting against social exclusion and discrimination. The competences of the Union therefore range from economic policies (agriculture and trade) with a common agricultural policy and the presence of structural funds for the achievement of the socio-economic objectives in charge, to foreign affairs with a common foreign policy, to environmental protection and defence, with each member state contributing to the Community budget to different extents, maintaining its national sovereignty (e.g. internal policy) through its respective national parliaments and governments.
The economic and monetary union policies of the European Union led in 2002 to the introduction of a single currency, the euro, currently adopted by 19 EU Member States, which form the so-called eurozone, with a common monetary policy regulated by the European Central Bank (ECB).
On 12 October 2012, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the following grounds: “for more than six decades, she has contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.
After the Second World War, European integration appeared as an antidote to the extreme nationalisms that had previously devastated the continent. Winston Churchill gave a speech at the University of Zurich in 1946 preaching the constitution of the United States of Europe by the end of the twentieth century and two years later the Hague Congress (1948) was held where for the first time the benefits of a European federal state were formally discussed. In 1952 the European Coal and Steel Community was established, the first agreement of European integration. The treaty established a common market for coal and steel, abolishing customs barriers and quantitative restrictions that hindered the free movement of these goods; it abolished in the same way all discriminatory measures, aids or subsidies that were granted by the various states to their national production The principle of free competition allowed the lowest possible prices to be maintained, while guaranteeing the states control over supplies.
TREATISE OF ROME..
The first customs union between European countries, the so-called European Economic Community, EEC, was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and implemented in 1958. Parallel to the EEC, EURATOM, the European Atomic Energy Community, was established; the European Communities, EEC, EURATOM and ECSC, will then constitute one of the three pillars of the European Union in the future. Over the years, cooperation has evolved and strengthened with various Community treaties and agreements outside the community that will flow into the European Union. In 1965, the activities of the three communities merged under a single umbrella with the establishment of the Single Council and the Single Commission of the European Communities through the Merger Treaty.
In 1973, the community saw its first enlargement to other states, with the accession of Denmark (which at that time also included Greenland, which came out in 1985), Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 1975, outside the community, twelve European states signed the Treaty of TREVI, in French Terrorism, Radicalism, Extrémisme et Violence Internationale, for the common fight against terrorism. Although it was not part of the Community apparatus, this treaty constituted the third pillar of the European Union.
In 1979, the first democratic elections to the European Parliament were proclaimed by universal suffrage. In 1981, Greece joined the European Community and, in 1986, Spain and Portugal. Meanwhile, in 1985, outside the European Community, the Schengen Agreement was concluded. In 1987, European political cooperation, which had previously been formalised in the Single European Act, entered into force. In 1990, the first enlargement to the Soviet bloc countries took place, with the unification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
TREATY OF MAASTRICHT…
In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty put an end to the previous one, laying the foundations for a more solid integration, giving birth to the European Community. The Treaty of TREVI was also concluded, opening up the new police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and European political cooperation flowed into the common foreign and security policy, strengthening security within the territory of the European Community. In 1995, Sweden, Austria and Finland joined the European Community.
TREATY OF LISBON…
In 2002, the euro was introduced as the common currency for most Community states. Subsequently, a greater political and territorial expansion was planned with the EU enlargement to East 2004-2007 and the subsequent accession of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In 2007, the European Union was officially born with the Treaty of Lisbon, ratified in 2009, unifying the three pillars that had solidified in the last 50 years: the European Community, Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters and the CFSP. For the first time, a legal figure was created to represent the European Union, the President of the European Council, and the position of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was strengthened. With the Treaty of Lisbon, procedures for withdrawing from the European Union, known as Article 50, were added for the first time. Also in 2007 there was a further enlargement, following the accession of Romania and Bulgaria.
Berlin is located in the eastern part of Germany, 70 km from the Polish border, in the geographical region of Brandenburg, but is not part of the homonymous Land, from which it is also entirely surrounded.
The city has a very large area of 892 km². The extension in the north-south direction is 38 km, in the east-west of 55 km.
The centre of Berlin lies on the banks of the Spree (Spree in German), in a wide valley of glacial origin (Berliner Urstromtal) between the plateaus of Barnim and Teltow, oriented in an east-west direction.
In the suburban district of Spandau, the Spree flows into the Havel, which flows north-south, forming the Tegeler See and Großer Wannsee lakes. The eastern part of the lake is the Müggelsee. The lakes in Berlin are popular with bathers in the summer months.
Within the city territory there are some hills: the largest is the Großer Müggelberg, in the district of Müggelheim, which reaches a height of 114.7 m above sea level.
The soil consists mainly of sand, gravel and flint.
Berlin is the centre of the metropolitan region Berlin/Brandenburg, which has (2012) 6 024 000 inhabitants.
Ireland (Irish: Éire), is a member state of the European Union, constituted as an independent and sovereign republic, covering approximately five sixths of the island of the same name located northwest of the west coast of Europe. The only state with which Ireland borders is the United Kingdom, which maintains sovereignty over the remaining sixth of the island, known as Northern Ireland, comprising six of the nine counties of the historic province of Ulster.
The state, initially a Free State of Ireland, was founded on 6 December 1922 as a dominion within the British Empire following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which concluded the Irish War of Independence. It gained greater sovereignty through the 1931 Westminster Statute and the crisis following Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.
A new Constitution was introduced in 1937, establishing Ireland as a fully sovereign state. The last formal link with the United Kingdom was broken in 1949 when the Oireachtas (the national parliament) approved the Republic of Ireland Act, declaring Ireland a republic. As a result, Ireland left the British Commonwealth.
During the British government and initial independence, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe with a strong emigration flow. The protectionist economy was opened at the end of 1950 and in 1973 Ireland joined the European Union. In 1980, an economic crisis led Ireland to undertake large-scale economic reforms, again contributing to strong emigration. The rapid growth of the Irish economy during the 1990s earned it the name “Celtic Tiger”, which lasted until the global financial crisis of 2007-2010.
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