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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The Mendip Hills are a range of limestone hills situated to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England, United Kingdom. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the Hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Avon valley to the north. The hills give their name to the local government district of Mendip, which covers most of the area.

The hills are largely carboniferous limestone, which is quarried at several sites. The higher western part of the Hills, have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with an area of 200 km2 (80 sq mi), which gives it the same level of protection as a national park. The Mendip Hills AONB Service and Somerset County Council's outdoor education centre is at the Charterhouse Centre near Blagdon.

The Mendips are home to a wide range of outdoor sports and leisure activities many based on the particular geology of the area. It is recognised as a national centre for caving and cave diving. In addition to climbing and abseiling, the area is popular with hillwalkers and those interested in natural history.

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Insigne Amstelodamensis.svg

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, lies on the banks of two bodies of water, the IJ bay and the Amstel river. Founded in the late 12th century as a small fishing village on the banks of the Amstel, it is now the largest city in the country and is a financial and cultural centre. As of August 1, 2006, the population of the city proper is 741,329; the population of the official Greater Amsterdam area is approximately 1.5 million, but the real agglomeration is estimated at 2 to 2.5 million. Amsterdam is also one of the core urban centres of the greater metropolitan area called "Randstad" (Ring City) which encompasses other Dutch cities and has a population of over 7.5 million.

Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe, dating largely from the 17th century. At this time, a series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten") were dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built. The canals still define Amsterdam's layout and appearance today. Amsterdam is famous for its free-spirited liberalism, diversity and tolerance.

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Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg
Photo credit: User:Diliff
A panorama of the Colosseum in Rome, at dusk.
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*...that the presidency of the EU Council rotates every half year? *...that the EU parliamentary election is the world's biggest transnational election? *...that the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012?
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