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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.

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Buckingham Palace from gardens, London, UK - Diliff.jpg

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The Palace is a setting for state occasions and royal entertaining, a base for many officially visiting Heads of State, and a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing, crisis or grief. "Buckingham Palace" or simply "The Palace" commonly refers to the source of press statements issued by the offices of the Royal Household.

In the Middle Ages, Buckingham Palace's site formed part of the Manor of Ebury. It had several royal owners from Edward the Confessor onwards and was also the object of much property speculation. Precursors of Buckingham Palace were Blake House, Goring House, and Arlington House. The State Rooms form the nucleus of the working Palace and are used regularly by The Queen and members of the royal family for official and state entertaining. Buckingham Palace is one of the world's most familiar buildings and more than 50,000 people visit the palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the royal garden parties.

Selected city

Prague

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated on the Vltava river in central Bohemia, it is home to approximately 1.2 million people. Since 1992, the historic center of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. According to Guinness World Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world.

The land where Prague was to be built has been settled since the Paleolithic Age. Several thousands of years ago, there were trade routes connecting southern parts of Europe to northern Europe which passed through this area, following the course of the river. From around 500 BC the Celtic tribe known as the Boii, were the first known inhabitants of this region known by name. The Boii named the region Bohemia and the river Vltava. In between the 6th and the 9th AD the Germanic tribe Marcomanni migrated to Bohemia and other Germanic tribes followed during the 5th century AD, but in the 6th century their elites and majority of inhabitants moved to the Danubian area which enabled a Slavic tribe invading from the West, to settle this area. The Czech Slavic tribe came to Bohemia in the 6th century and Forefather Czech became the founder of the Czech nation.

Selected picture

Euro Construction.svg
Photo credit: User:Agateller
This diagram illustrates how to draw a euro symbol, based on European Commission documentation.

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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