Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy is a populist Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament. The EFDD group is a continuation for the Eighth European Parliament of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group that existed during the Seventh European Parliament, with significant changes to group membership. In 2017, it was one of the seven political groups of the parliament; this group is opposed to European integration. 24 out of its 47 MEPs were from the United Kingdom. Until January 2017, the group had two co-presidents: Nigel Farage. However, David Borrelli had to resign the co-presidency after a failed attempt of the Five Star Movements MEPs to change to the ALDE group. Following the 2014 European parliament elections, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group faced difficulties reforming for the 8th European Parliament, with various member parties and MEPs of the previous term's EFD either defecting to different parliamentary groups or failing to be re-elected. On 4 June 2014, the Danish People's Party and Finns Party were admitted into the European Conservatives and Reformists and therefore were no longer attached to the EFD.
On 12 June 2014, the Five Star Movement of Italy, having been rejected by the Greens/EFA and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe groups, offered its activists a limited-choice online referendum to choose a European Parliament group for the party, in which 78% of participating activists voted for the EFD. On 16 June 2014, Dutch MEP Bas Belder of the Reformed Political Party moved from the EFD to the ECR group; the EFD group was reformed on 18 June 2014 with MEPs from existing member parties: the UK Independence Party and the Order and Justice, in addition to new affiliates: the Five Star Movement, the Sweden Democrats, the Party of Free Citizens, the Latvian Farmers Union and a French independent MEP of the National Front. On 24 June 2014, the EFD group name was revised to Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, David Borrelli of the Five Star Movement was chosen as the incoming group's new co-president. On 16 October 2014, it was announced that Iveta Grigule MEP from the Latvian Farmers Union had defected from EFDD to,the ALDE group, resulting in the collapse of the group because it was no longer composed of representatives from at least a quarter of the EU's Member States.
The criterion was restored on 20 October, with one Polish MEP, Robert Iwaszkiewicz from Congress of the New Right, joining the group, although the other party's MEPs remained Non-Inscrits. On 24 January 2015, Amjad Bashir was suspended from UKIP pending a party investigation into financial fraud: Bashir defected to the Conservative Party within an hour of his suspension. On 20 March 2015, Janice Atkinson was suspended from UKIP and expelled on 23 March for alleged financial fraud. Atkinson joined the Europe of Nations and Freedom group at its launch on 15 June 2015. On 8 April 2016, Alternative for Germany MEP Beatrix von Storch left the ECR group to join EFDD. On 24 October 2016, Steven Woolfe left the group to sit as Non-Inscrits, followed by Diane James on 20 November 2016. On 9 January 2017, the Five Star Movement voted in an online referendum to leave EFDD in order to join the ALDE group. In the aftermath, two MEPs left the group, with Marco Affronte defected to the Greens/EFA group, Marco Zanni to the ENL group.
Other Five Star Movement MEPs pulled out of switching parliamentary group after threatened by party leader Beppe Grillo with a fine of €250,000. In October 2017, with change in the French Front National, Florian Philippot, president of the "Patriotes", Sophie Montel and Mireille d'Ornano join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group. On 13 February 2018, former group co-president David Borrelli left the M5S and moved to Non-Inscrits. On 3 July 2018, the 2 Sweden Democrats MEPs moved to European Reformists. In December 2018, Farage and multiple other MEPs left UKIP in protest over Gerard Batten's leadership. Batten in turn left the EFDD and withdrew the remaining further 6 UKIP MEPs. Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy has 40 members as follows: Chair: Nigel Farage Chair of the Bureau: Roger Helmer Vice-Chair: Joëlle Bergeron Vice-Chair: Piernicola Pedicini Vice-Chair: Robert Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz Vice-Chair: Rolandas Paksas Treasurer: Tiziana Beghin During the European Parliament debate about Catalan independence referendum in 2017, the EFDD, by the voice of Ray Finch considered that European Union should have made some intervention against Spain to protect Catalan independence.
He considered. According to him, people should have the right to vote when the referendum is illegal. European Alliance of People and Nations Official website EFDD Group in the European Parliament
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
UK Independence Party
The UK Independence Party is a hard Eurosceptic, right-wing political party in the United Kingdom. It has one representative in the House of Lords and seven Members of the European Parliament, it has three Assembly Members in the National Assembly for Wales and one member in the London Assembly. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Members of Parliament and was the largest UK party in the European Parliament. UKIP originated as the Anti-Federalist League, a single-issue Eurosceptic party established in London by the historian Alan Sked in 1991, it was renamed UKIP in 1993 but its growth remained slow. It was eclipsed by the Eurosceptic Referendum Party until the latter's 1997 dissolution. In 1997, Sked was ousted by a faction led by Nigel Farage. In 2006, Farage became leader and under his direction the party adopted a wider policy platform and capitalised on concerns about rising immigration, in particular among the White British working class; this resulted in significant breakthroughs at the 2013 local elections, 2014 European elections, 2015 general election.
The pressure UKIP exerted on the government was the main reason for the 2016 referendum which led to the UK's commitment to withdraw from the European Union. Farage stepped down as UKIP leader, the party's vote share and membership declined. Following repeat leadership crises, Gerard Batten took over. Under Batten, UKIP was characterised as moving into far-right territory, at which point many longstanding members–including Farage–left. Farage launched the Brexit Party. Ideologically positioned on the right-wing of British politics, UKIP is characterised by political scientists as part of a broader European radical right. UKIP's primary emphasis has been on Euroscepticism, calling for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, it promotes a British unionist and British nationalist agenda, encouraging a unitary British identity in opposition to growing Welsh and Scottish nationalisms. Political scientists have argued that in doing so, it conflates Britishness with Englishness and appeals to English nationalist sentiment.
UKIP has placed emphasis on lowering immigration, rejecting multiculturalism, opposing what it calls the "Islamification" of Britain. Influenced by Thatcherism and classical liberalism, it describes itself as economically libertarian and promotes liberal economic policies. On social issues like LGBT rights, education policy, criminal justice it is conservative. Having an ideological heritage stemming from the right-wing of the Conservative Party, it distinguishes itself from the mainstream political establishment through heavy use of populist rhetoric, including describing its supporters as the "People's Army". Governed by its leader and National Executive Committee, UKIP is divided into twelve regional groups. A founding member of the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe European political party, most of UKIP's MEPs sit with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament. While gaining electoral support from various sectors of British society, psephologists have established that its primary voting base is in England and consists of older, working-class white Britons.
UKIP has faced a critical reception from mainstream political parties, much of the media, anti-fascist groups. Its discourse on immigration and cultural identity generated accusations of racism and xenophobia, both of which it denies. UKIP began as the Anti-Federalist League, a Eurosceptic political party established in 1991 by the historian Alan Sked; the League opposed the signed Maastricht Treaty and sought to sway the governing Conservative Party toward removing the United Kingdom from the European Union. A former Liberal Party candidate, member of the Bruges Group, professor at the London School of Economics, Sked had converted to Euroscepticism while teaching the LSE's European Studies programme. Under the Anti-Federalist League's banner, Sked was a candidate for Member of Parliament for Bath at the 1992 general election, gaining 0.2% of the vote. At a League meeting held in the LSE on 3 September 1993, the group was renamed the UK Independence Party, deliberately avoiding the term "British" so as to avoid confusion with the far-right British National Party.
UKIP contested the 1994 European Parliament election with little financing and much infighting, securing itself as the fifth largest party in that election with 1% of the vote. During this period, UKIP was viewed as a typical single-issue party by commentators, some of whom drew comparisons with the French Poujadist movement. Following the election, UKIP lost much support to the Referendum Party. In the 1997 general election, UKIP secured 0.3 % of the national vote. UKIP was beaten by the Referendum Party in 163 of the 165 seats in which they stood against each other; the Referendum Party disbanded following Goldsmith's death that year and many of its candidates joined UKIP. After the election, Sked was pressured into resigning by a party faction led by Farage, David Lott and Michael Holmes, who deemed him too intellectual and dictatorial. Sked left the party, alleging that it had been infiltrated by racist and far-right elements, including BNP spies; this connection was emphasised in the press when Farage was photographed meeting with BNP activists.
Holmes took over as party leader, in the 1999 European Parliament elections—the first UK electio
European Conservatives and Reformists
The European Conservatives and Reformists is a Eurosceptic and anti-federalist political group in the European Parliament. The ECR is the parliamentary group of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe European political party, but includes MEPs from four other European parties and thirteen MEPs without European party affiliation; the group focuses on reforming the European Union on the basis of Eurorealism as opposed to total rejection of the EU. The ECR was founded around the Movement for European Reform after the 2009 European elections at the behest of British Conservative Party leader David Cameron. During the Seventh European Parliament, the ECR had 55 MEPs, making it the joint fourth-largest group. After the 2014 European elections, the party accepted thirteen new member parties, increasing the group membership to 75 MEPs and making it the current third-largest group in the European Parliament; the group is considered centre-right to right-wing. The largest parties in the group by number of MEPs are the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom and Law and Justice of Poland.
The genesis of the ECR dates back to 2005, earlier. A political group in the European Parliament cannot be recognised if it contains MEPs from only a single member state. Instead, it must meet the minimum threshold required by the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure. Any party seeking to create a group must therefore seek partners; the last mixed group in the European Parliament was forcibly dissolved. Since groups have been required to demonstrate ideological coherence; this is done by publishing a document stating the principles to which each group member is expected to adhere. The constituent declaration of the ECR has become known as the Prague Declaration; that document outlines the following principles: Free enterprise and fair trade and competition, minimal regulation, lower taxation, small government as the ultimate catalysts for individual freedom and personal and national prosperity. Freedom of the individual, more personal responsibility and greater democratic accountability. Sustainable, clean energy supply with an emphasis on energy security.
The importance of the family as the bedrock of society. The sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to EU federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity; the overriding value of the transatlantic security relationship in a revitalised NATO, support for young democracies across Europe. Controlled immigration and an end to abuse of asylum procedures Efficient and modern public services and sensitivity to the needs of both rural and urban communities. An end to waste and excessive bureaucracy and a commitment to greater transparency and probity in the EU institutions and use of EU funds. Respect and equitable treatment for all EU countries and old, large and small. In 2005, the British Conservative Party held a leadership contest. During the sixth term of the European Parliament, Conservative Party MEPs sat in the European Democrats, a subgroup of the European People's Party–European Democrats group, dominated by the European People's Party. Leadership contender David Cameron argued for withdrawal of the Conservatives from EPP-ED and the formation of a new group.
Upon taking office as Conservative leader in December 2005, Cameron indicated that the launch of a new group would be undertaken immediately. The motives for forming this group was the EPP-ED was too federalist, while the Tories opposed stronger European integration. In June 2006, Cameron ordered Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague to ensure the new group was created by 13 July 2006. However, when that date arrived, it was announced that the launch of the new European Parliament group was delayed until after the 2009 elections. In the interim, a pan-European alliance, called the Movement for European Reform, was founded and functioned outside of the European Parliament; the same day, the Law and Justice and Civic Platform parties of Poland were identified as potential members of the new group: However, Civic Platform stated that it would not leave the EPP, the Law and Justice stated that it planned to stay aligned to UEN. The next day, Sir Reg Empey, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, suggested that the UUP could join the new group after the 2009 election.
In the event of the election, the UUP ran under the banner of the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists, an electoral alliance between the Conservative Party and the Ulster Unionists. The Czech Civic Democratic Party was part of MER but its leader, Mirek Topolánek, did not rule out staying in EPP-ED. Topolánek attended the EPP Summit of 21 June 2007, adding speculation about the fragility of the new group. In 2007, the relations between the EPP and the Conservative Party further deteriorated when the EPP voiced its opposition to the UK holding a referendum of the Treaty of Lisbon, something the Tories had campaigned for. In July 2008, the European Parliament raised the 2009 threshold for forming a group to 25 members and representing 7 member states. Topolánek, after being re-elected Leader of the ODS on 7 December 2008, attended yet another EPP Summit, on 11 December 2008; as the 2009 European elections approached, Topolánek, Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden were looking for partners. The list of possible partners was kept secret.
People or parties that were rumoured to be possible partners in the new group included Law and Justice.
2004 European Parliament election
Elections to the European Parliament were held between 10 and 13 June 2004 in the 25 member states of the European Union, using varying election days according to local custom. The European Parliamental parties could not be voted for, but elected national parties aggregated in European Parliamental parties after the elections. Votes were counted as the polls closed, but results were not announced until 13 and 14 June so results from one country would not influence voters in another where polls were still open. 342 million people were eligible to vote, the second-largest democratic electorate in the world after India. It was the biggest transnational direct election in history, the 10 new member states elected MEPs for the first time; the new Parliament consisted of 732 Members of the European Parliament. Results showed a general defeat of governing parties and an increase in representatives from eurosceptic parties. No majority was achieved; the balance of power in the Parliament remained the same despite the 10 new member states.
The national results as at 21 July 2004 are as follows: The estimated votes by EU party are as follows: Registered voters: 353,460,958 Votes cast: 154,317,718 Total seats: 732 Notes 1. The figures for the Nordic Green Left Alliance and the European Anticapitalist Left include only those members that are not full members of the Party of the European Left. 2. See above. 3. The figures for the European Christian Political Movement exclude a number of members who hold concurrent membership of the European Peoples Party. Notes on accuracy: These estimated voting figures, using the believed configurations of EU groupings at the time of the 2004 elections, have been compiled by totalling national party figures, using official results where they are available. Where national lists are alliances between more than one political party, attempts have been made to divide that list proportionally, using preferential voting totals where available and, in other circumstances, dividing vote totals between candidates or the MEPs elected.
Registered voters: 378,106,633 Votes cast: 168,317,718 Total seats: 785 Notes 1. Roger Helmer was expelled from the EPP-ED group in 2005, but retains the whip of the British Conservative Party. 2. The figures for the Nordic Green Left Alliance and the European Anticapitalist Left include only those members that are not full members of the Party of the European Left. 3. See 2 above. 4. The EUDemocrats, while having a preference for the IND/DEM group, is split between UEN and IND/DEM.5. In addition to the majority of AIDE MEPs which sit in the IND/DEM group, AIDE includes Non-Inscrit MEP, Jim Allister, as an individual member. 6. The figures for the European Christian Political Movement exclude a number of members who hold concurrent membership of the European Peoples Party. 7. See 4 above. 8. These figures include parties listed on the Euronat page which appear to have links with Euronat short of full membership. Other notes These figures estimate'notional' voting figures based on changes in the configuration of EU political groupings since the 2004 elections and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
Their purpose is to better estimate the position which the groups will have to defend for the next European Parliament election. These figures incorporate the results of the 2004 Romanian Chamber of Deputies election and the 2005 Bulgarian National Assembly election, on which the distribution of Bulgarian and Romanian MEPs is temporarily based; these figures will consequentially change after the 2007 European Parliament elections in those countries. These figures include the ITS group. A European Union-wide political party, the European Greens, was established in Rome on 21 February 2004 to contest this election. Swedish Junilistan formed early in the year, meant to provide social democratic and right wing voters an EU sceptic alternative. In the Netherlands Europa Transparant of Paul van Buitenen got two seats. In Austria the Liste Hans-Peter Martin obtained two seats. Eurosceptics: Sweden's Junilistan, the pro-life League of Polish Families, the French Combats Souverainistes joined the existing Europe of Democracies and Diversities group, which includes the United Kingdom Independence Party.
The group renamed itself Democracy. National Information offices and national election web sites European Election News by European Election Law Association Election days in the 25 countries Czech Republic and the European Parliament elections 2004 Evaluation of the European Parliament Elections Guardian: results in the United Kingdom Irish results from RTE Polish official results Full Danish official results Predicting the Future: the next European Parliament Information from the Finnish Justice Ministry on the election attendance and voting records. European Election Studies www.europeanelectionstudies.net France Netherlands Sweden UK See German version of this article for the German and Austrian candidates
Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions
Hunting, Fishing and Traditions is an agrarianist French political party which aims to defend the traditional values of rural France. Its current leader is Eddie Puyjalon; the party states it is neither right nor left but represents rural people on the whole in their diversity. The party was a member of the Presidential Majority of Nicolas Sarkozy. Formed in 1985, it contested both the European elections of 1994 without success. In 1999, it obtained six seats, led by Jean Saint-Josse, at the top of the list, it lost all representation at the following election to the European Parliament in 2004, when it obtained less than the minimum 3% of votes that allow a party to be reimbursed for campaign expenses. It faced a deficit of 300,000 euros. At one stage, it lost all of them in that same year. After these problems, most members of the CPNT have joined the Union for a Popular Movement or the Movement for France, but the party is still in existence, nominated Frédéric Nihous, a hunter from Northern France, as a candidate in the Presidential election of 2007.
Nihous won 1.15% of votes only, much lower than Jean Saint-Josse in 2002. In the 2009 European Parliament election, the party ran as the junior partner of the Movement for France under the etiquette of the Libertas political movement led by Irish businessman Declan Ganley, they won 4.8 % of the vote, but only that of MPF leader Philippe de Villiers. In August 2009, CPNT President Frédéric Nihous announced interest in joining the Liaison Committee for the Presidential Majority, which co-ordinates the parties which support the policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy. After the standing down of Frédéric Nihous in march 2016, Eddie Puyjalon assumed the leadership of the party. André Goustat Jean Saint-Josse Frédéric Nihous Eddie Puyjalon CPNT is strong, for obvious reasons, in certain rural areas of France with an important community of hunters, it is strong in the Somme River estuary to the west of Abbeville, in the Manche department and the Gironde department. In the 1999 European election, CPNT won 25% of the vote in the Somme, 15.4% in the Manche, 15.2% in the Landes department and 11.9% in Gironde.
In stark contrast, the party won 1% of the vote that year in the Alsatian department of Bas-Rhin and did poorly in the east of France, much more industrialized and much less agrarian. CPNT has three general councillors: one in the Somme, one in Gironde and one in the Hérault department. Jean Saint-Josse Frédéric Nihous Outdoor Recreation New Zealand, similar party in New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Party, similar party in Australia Party of Greek Hunters, similar party in Greece Shooters and Farmers Party, similar party in Australia CPNT web site - in French
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original