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Portal:European Union

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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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While most of the states in the world, and in Europe, are republics (have a directly or indirectly elected head of state), there are still seven monarchies in the European Union, whose head of state (a monarch) inherits his or her office, and usually keeps it for life or until they abdicate. At the dawn of the 20th century, France was the only republic among the future member states of the European Union; the ascent of republicanism to the political mainstream only started at the beginning of the 20th century.

The European Union's monarchies are: the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

All seven monarchies in the European Union are constitutional monarchies, which means that the monarch does not influence the politics of the state: either the monarch is legally prohibited from doing so, or the monarch does not utilise the political powers vested in the office by convention. There is currently no major campaign to abolish the monarchy in any of the remaining seven states, although there is a significant minority of republicans in all of them.

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Tallinn

Tallinn is the capital city and main seaport of Estonia. It is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north central Estonia., 80 kilometres south of Helsinki. Tallinn's population is registered at 399,180 (as of November 2006). In 1154 Tallinn was marked on the world map of the Arab cartographer al-Idrisi.

As an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th century when Christianity was forcibly imposed on the local population. Danish rule of Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219. According to Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, of all EU member states' capital cities, Tallinn has the largest number of non-EU nationals: 27.8% of its population are not EU citizens.

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Externsteine pano.jpg
Photo credit: User:Dschwen
Externsteine in Teutoburg Forest near Horn-Bad Meinberg.
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