Economy of the European Union
The European Union is the second largest economy in the world in nominal terms and according to purchasing power parity or PPP. The European Union's GDP was estimated to be $18.8 trillion in 2018, representing ~22% of global economy. The euro, used by 19 of its 28 members, is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar; the euro is the official currency in 25 countries, in the eurozone and in six other European countries or de facto. The European Union economy consists of an internal market of mixed economies based on free market and advanced social models; the GDP per capita was $37,800 in 2017, compared to $59,495 in the United States, $42,695 Japan and $16,636 in China. There are significant disparities in GDP per capita between member states ranging from $105,148 in Luxembourg to $21,678 in Bulgaria. With a low Gini coefficient of 31, the European Union has a more egalitarian repartition of incomes than the world average.
Major economic hubs and financial centres where the large number of institutions and banks is located are Amsterdam, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Göteborg, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan and Warsaw. Euronext is the main stock exchange of the Eurozone and the 7th world largest by market capitalisation. Foreign investments made in the European Union total $5.1 trillion in 2012, while the EU's investments in foreign countries total $9.1 trillion, by far the highest domestic and foreign investments in the world. Since the beginning of the public debt crisis in 2009, opposite economic situations have emerged between Southern Europe on one hand, Central and Northern Europe on the other hand: a higher unemployment rate and public debt in the Mediterranean countries with the exception of Malta, a lower unemployment rate with higher GDP growth rate in the Eastern and in Northern member countries. In 2015, public debt in the European Union was 85% of GDP, with disparities between the lowest rate, Estonia with 9.7%, the highest, Greece with 176%.
The ten largest trading partners of the European Union are the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Norway, South Korea and India. The EU is represented as a unified entity in the World Trade Organization, the G-20 and G7, alongside with the EU's member countries participating. Beginning in the year 1999 with some EU member states, now 19 out of 28 EU states use the euro as official currency in a currency union; the remaining 9 states continued to use their own currency with the possibility to join the euro later. The euro is the most used currency in the EU. Since 1992 the Maastricht treaty sets out rigid economic and fiscal convergence criteria for the states joining the euro. Starting 1997, the Stability and Growth Pact has been started to ensure continuing economic and fiscal stability and convergence. Denmark and the United Kingdom, not members of the eurozone, have special opt-outs concerning the joining of the euro. Sweden can opt out by choosing when or whether to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the preliminary step towards joining.
The remaining states are committed to join the euro through their Treaties of Accession. Starting with Greece in 2009, five of the 19 eurozone states have been struggling with a sovereign debt crisis, by many called the European debt crisis. All these states got bailout packages; as of 2015, all countries but Greece have recovered from their debt crisis. Other non-eurozone states experienced a debt crisis and went through successful bailout programmes, i.e. Hungary and Latvia; the operation of the EU has an agreed budget of €141 billion for the year 2011, €862 billion for the period 2007–2013, this represents around 1% of the EU's GDP. The services sector is by far the most important sector in the European Union, making up 74.7% of GDP, compared to the manufacturing industry with 23.8% of GDP and agriculture with only 1.5% of GDP. Financial services are well developed within the Single Market of the Union. Companies have a greater reliance on bank lending than in the United States, although a shift towards companies raising more funding through capital markets is planned through the Capital Markets Union initiative, the EU plan put forward by the Commission in September 2015 to mobilise the free movement of capital within the EU.
The plan aims "to establish the building blocks of an integrated capital market in the EU by 2019". The CMU initiative comprises 33 measures in all; the plan was updated in June 2017. The Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister of Latvia, is responsible for delivery of the initiative. Many EU cities are financial centres. For example, UK-located banks underwrite around half of the debt and equity issued by EU companies, UK-located banks are counterparty to over half of the over-the-counter interest rate derivatives traded by companies and banks in the EU, 30 million EEA policyholders are insured through an insurer based in the UK. Central counterparties located in the UK provide services to EU clients in a range of markets and asset managers operating in the UK account for 37% of all assets managed across Europe. According to the Global Financial Centres Index, after the United Kingdom leaves the EU in March 2019, the two larg
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy within the Eurozone, which comprises 19 member states of the European Union and is one of the largest monetary areas in the world. Established by the Treaty of Amsterdam, the ECB is one of the world's most important central banks and serves as one of seven institutions of the European Union, being enshrined in the Treaty on European Union; the bank's capital stock is owned by all 28 central banks of each EU member state. The current President of the ECB is Mario Draghi. Headquartered in Frankfurt, the bank occupied the Eurotower prior to the construction of its new seat; the primary objective of the ECB, mandated in Article 2 of the Statute of the ECB, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. Its basic tasks, set out in Article 3 of the Statute, are to set and implement the monetary policy for the Eurozone, to conduct foreign exchange operations, to take care of the foreign reserves of the European System of Central Banks and operation of the financial market infrastructure under the TARGET2 payments system and the technical platform for settlement of securities in Europe.
The ECB has, under Article 16 of its Statute, the exclusive right to authorise the issuance of euro banknotes. Member states can issue euro coins; the ECB is governed by European law directly, but its set-up resembles that of a corporation in the sense that the ECB has shareholders and stock capital. Its capital is €11 billion held by the national central banks of the member states as shareholders; the initial capital allocation key was determined in 1998 on the basis of the states' population and GDP, but the capital key has been adjusted. Shares in the ECB can not be used as collateral; the European Central Bank is the de facto successor of the European Monetary Institute. The EMI was established at the start of the second stage of the EU's Economic and Monetary Union to handle the transitional issues of states adopting the euro and prepare for the creation of the ECB and European System of Central Banks; the EMI itself took over from the earlier European Monetary Co-operation Fund. The ECB formally replaced the EMI on 1 June 1998 by virtue of the Treaty on European Union, however it did not exercise its full powers until the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999, signalling the third stage of EMU.
The bank was the final institution needed for EMU, as outlined by the EMU reports of Pierre Werner and President Jacques Delors. It was established on 1 June 1998; the first President of the Bank was Wim Duisenberg, the former president of the Dutch central bank and the European Monetary Institute. While Duisenberg had been the head of the EMI just before the ECB came into existence, the French government wanted Jean-Claude Trichet, former head of the French central bank, to be the ECB's first president; the French argued. This was opposed by the German and Belgian governments who saw Duisenberg as a guarantor of a strong euro. Tensions were abated by a gentleman's agreement in which Duisenberg would stand down before the end of his mandate, to be replaced by Trichet. Trichet replaced Duisenberg as President in November 2003. There had been tension over the ECB's Executive Board, with the United Kingdom demanding a seat though it had not joined the Single Currency. Under pressure from France, three seats were assigned to the largest members, France and Italy.
Despite such a system of appointment the board asserted its independence early on in resisting calls for interest rates and future candidates to it. When the ECB was created, it covered a Eurozone of eleven members. Since Greece joined in January 2001, Slovenia in January 2007, Cyprus and Malta in January 2008, Slovakia in January 2009, Estonia in January 2011, Latvia in January 2014 and Lithuania in January 2015, enlarging the bank's scope and the membership of its Governing Council. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, ECB according to the article 13 of TEU, gained official status of an EU institution. In September 2011, when German appointee to the Governing Council and Executive board, Jürgen Stark, resigned in protest of the ECB's "Securities Market Programme" which involved the purchase of sovereign bonds by the ECB, a move, up until considered as prohibited by the EU Treaty; the Financial Times Deutschland referred to this episode as "the end of the ECB as we know it" referring to its perceived "hawkish" stance on inflation and its historical Bundesbank influence.
On 1 November 2011, Mario Draghi replaced Jean-Claude Trichet as President of the ECB. In April 2011, the ECB raised interest rates for the first time since 2008 from 1% to 1.25%, with a further increase to 1.50% in July 2011. However, in 2012–2013 the ECB lowered interest rates to encourage economic growth, reaching the low 0.25% in November 2013. Soon after the rates were cut to 0.15% on 4 September 2014 the central bank reduced the rates by two thirds from 0.15% to 0.05%, the lowest rates on record. In November 2014, the bank moved into its new premises; the primary objective of the European Central Bank, set out in Article 127 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. The Governing Council in October 1998 defined price stability as inflation of under 2%, “a year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices for the euro area of below 2
International status and usage of the euro
The international status and usage of the euro has grown since its launch in 1999. When the euro formally replaced 12 currencies on 1 January 2002, it inherited their use in territories such as Montenegro and replaced minor currencies tied to the pre-euro currencies, such as in Monaco. Four small states have been given a formal right to use the euro, to mint their own coins, but all other usage has been unofficial outside the eurozone. With or without an agreement these countries, unlike those in the eurozone, do not participate in the European Central Bank or the Eurogroup, its international usage has grown as a trading currency, acting as an economic or political alternative to using the United States dollar. Its increasing usage in this sense has led to its becoming the only significant challenger to the US dollar as the world's main reserve currency. Several European microstates outside the EU have adopted the euro as their currency. For EU sanctioning of this adoption, a monetary agreement must be concluded.
Prior to the launch of the euro, agreements were reached with Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City by EU member states allowing them to use the euro and mint a limited amount of euro coins to be valid throughout the Eurozone. However, they cannot print banknotes. All of these states had had monetary agreements to use yielded eurozone currencies; the Vatican and San Marino had their currencies pegged to the Italian lira and Monaco used the Monegasque franc, pegged to the French franc. Between 2010 and 2012, new agreements between the EU and Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City came into force. A similar agreement was negotiated with Andorra and came into force on 1 April 2012. Andorra did not have an official currency. Prior to 2002, it used both the French franc and Spanish peseta as de facto legal tender currencies, though they never had an official monetary arrangement with either country, switched to the euro when it was introduced on 1 January 2002. After years of negotiations over concerns with banking secrecy, the EU and Andorra signed a monetary agreement on 30 June 2011 which made the euro the official currency in Andorra and allowed them to mint their own euro coins as early as 1 July 2013, provided they comply with the agreement's terms.
However, the first Andorran euro coins did not enter into circulation until January 2015. Outside the EU, there are three French territories and a British territory that have agreements to use the euro as their currency. All other dependent territories of eurozone member states that have opted not to be a part of EU with Overseas Country and Territory status, use local currencies which are pegged to the euro or US dollar; as non-sovereign entities, dependent territories which have adopted the euro are not permitted to mint euro coins like the European microstates, nor do they get a seat in the European Central Bank or the Eurogroup. France is responsible for ensuring that the laws governing the EMU apply in their territories which use the euro; the first OCTs to adopt the euro through a monetary agreement were the French overseas territories of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, located off the coast of Canada, Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. They both adopted the euro on 1 January 1999 when the currency was first introduced at the electronic level.
Mayotte subsequently held a referendum in 2009 in which it decided to become an integral part of France. Its status was changed from an OCT to an OMR, where EU laws apply without separate agreements, on 1 January 2014, which rendered the previous monetary agreement unnecessary. On 22 February 2007, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin were politically separated from the French Outermost region Guadeloupe to form two new French overseas collectivities; this caused their status in the EU to be in legal limbo until ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon reaffirmed both territories remained in the EU. The euro continued to be used in both territories throughout this time without incident; when Saint Barthélemy subsequently became an overseas territory of the European Union on 1 January 2012, changing its status to an OCT, the territory had to sign a monetary agreement to continue using the euro. With the adoption of the euro by Cyprus per 1 January 2008, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which had used the Cypriot pound decided to adopt the euro.
The base areas are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, an EU member state which itself does not use the euro, but these bases are outside of the EU and under military jurisdiction. Their laws and currency have been aligned with those of the Republic of Cyprus, leading to the euro's adoption in the two areas. Montenegro and Kosovo have used the euro since its launch, as they used the German mark rather than the Yugoslav dinar. Unlike the states above, they do not have a formal agreement with the EU to use the euro as their currency, have never minted marks or euros. There were political concerns that Serbia could use the currency to destabilise these territories so they received Western help in adopting and using the mark, they switched to the euro. In North Kosovo, populated by the Serbian minority, the Serbian dinar, which replaced the Yugoslav dinar, continues to be used despite its lack of recognition or use elsewhere in Kosovo
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I is a former King of Spain, reigning from 1975 until his abdication in 2014. Juan Carlos is the grandson of Alfonso XIII, the last king of Spain before the abolition of the monarchy in 1931 and the subsequent declaration of the Second Spanish Republic. Juan Carlos was born in Rome, during his family's exile. Generalísimo Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator who initiated the civil war by means of a coup d'état against the constitutional republic in 1936, took over the government of Spain after his victory in the Spanish Civil War in 1939, in 1947 Spain's status as a monarchy was affirmed and a law was passed allowing Franco to choose his successor. Juan Carlos's father, was the fourth child of Alfonso, who had renounced his claims to the throne in January 1941. Juan was seen by Franco to be too liberal and in 1969 was bypassed in favour of Juan Carlos as Franco's successor as head of state. Juan Carlos came to Spain in 1947 to continue his studies. After completing his secondary education in 1955, he began his military training and entered the General Military Academy at Zaragoza.
He attended the Naval Military School, the General Academy of the Air, finished his tertiary education at the University of Madrid. In 1962, Juan Carlos married Princess Sophia of Denmark in Athens; the couple had two daughters and a son together: Elena and Felipe. Due to Franco's declining health, Juan Carlos first began periodically acting as Spain's head of state in the summer of 1974. Franco died in November the following year and Juan Carlos became king on 22 November 1975, two days after Franco's death, the first reigning monarch since 1931. Expected to continue Franco's legacy, Juan Carlos, soon after his accession introduced reforms to dismantle the Francoist regime and begin the Spanish transition to democracy; this led to the approval of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 in a referendum, which re-established a constitutional monarchy. In 1981, Juan Carlos played a major role in preventing a coup that attempted to revert Spain to Francoist government in the King's name. In 2008, he was considered the most popular leader in all Ibero-America.
Hailed for his role in Spain's transition to democracy, the King and the monarchy's reputation began to suffer after controversies surrounding his family arose, exacerbated by an elephant-hunting trip he undertook during a time of financial crisis in Spain. In 2014, Juan Carlos, citing personal reasons, abdicated in favour of his son, who acceded to the throne as Felipe VI. Juan Carlos was born to Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in Rome, where his grandfather King Alfonso XIII of Spain and other members of the Spanish royal family lived in exile following the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931, he was baptized as Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias. He was given the name Juan Carlos after his father and maternal grandfather, Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, his early life was dictated by the political concerns of his father and General Franco. He moved to Spain in 1948 to be educated there.
He began his studies in San Sebastián and finished them in 1954 at the Instituto San Isidro in Madrid. He joined the army, doing his officer training from 1955 to 1957 at the Military Academy of Zaragoza. Juan Carlos has two sisters: Duchess of Badajoz, he had a younger brother, Alfonso. On the evening of Holy Thursday, 29 March 1956, Juan Carlos's younger brother Alfonso died in a gun accident at the family's home Villa Giralda in Estoril, on the Portuguese Riviera; the Spanish Embassy in Portugal issued the following official communiqué: Whilst His Highness Prince Alfonso was cleaning a revolver last evening with his brother, a shot was fired hitting his forehead and killing him in a few minutes. The accident took place at 20.30 hours, after the Infante's return from the Maundy Thursday religious service, during which he had received holy communion. Alfonso had won a local junior golf tournament earlier in the day went to evening Mass and rushed up to the room to see Juan Carlos who had come home for the Easter holidays from military school.
It is alleged that Juan Carlos began playing with a gun, given to Alfonso by General Franco. Rumors appeared in newspapers that the gun had been held by Juan Carlos at the moment the shot was fired; as they were alone in the room, it is unclear how Alfonso was shot, but according to Josefina Carolo, dressmaker to Juan Carlos's mother, Juan Carlos pointed the pistol at Alfonso and pulled the trigger, unaware that it was loaded. Bernardo Arnoso, a Portuguese friend of Juan Carlos said that Juan Carlos fired the pistol not knowing that it was loaded, adding that the bullet ricocheted off a wall, hitting Alfonso in the face. Helena Matheopoulos, a Greek author who spoke with Juan Carlos's sister Pilar, said that Alfonso had been out of the room and when he returned and pushed the door open, the door knocked Juan Carlos in the arm, causing him to fire the pistol. In 1957, Juan Carlos spent a year in the naval school at Marín, another in the Air Force school in San Javier in Murcia. In 1960–61, he studied Law, International Political Economy and Public Finance at Complutense University.
He went to live in the Palace of Zarzuela and began carrying out official engagements. The dictatorial re
A euro calculator is a popular type of calculator in European countries that adopted the euro as their official monetary unit. It functions like any other normal calculator, but it includes a special function which allows one to convert a value expressed in the official unit to the new value in euros, or vice versa, its use became popular within the population and commerce of these countries during the first few months after adopting the euro. As so many were produced, they are found outside the eurozone to help staff with conversions at airports or railway stations where the euro has a strong presence
Segovia is a city in the autonomous region of Castile and León, Spain. The city is famous for its historic buildings including the three main landmarks: its midtown Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, the castle, an influence for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle; the city center of Segovia was declared World Heritage by the Unesco in 1985. It is the capital of Province of Segovia; the name of Segovia is of Celtiberian origin. Although the historians linked the old name of the city to Segobriga, the recent discovery of the original Roman city in the Spanish village of Saelices discarded this possibility; the name of "Segovia" is mentioned by Livy in the context of the Sertorian War. Under the Romans and Berbers, the city was called Šiqūbiyyah respectively. Segovia is located on the plains of Old Castile, near the Spanish capital, Madrid. Segovia is one of nine provinces that make up the autonomous region of León. Burgos and Valladolid lie to the north, Ávila to the west, Madrid to the south, Soria to the east.
The altitude of the province varies from 750 metres in the extreme northwest to a maximum of 2,430 m at Peñalara peak in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The town lies on the main route of the Camino de Santiago de Madrid; the climate is hot-summer Mediterranean near the boundaries of Csb and BSk, resulting from the high altitude and the distance from the coast. The average annual temperature is 12.42 °C, with an average low in January of 0.3 °C and an average high in July of 29.7 °C. The annual precipitation range from 400 to 500 mm per year in the lower plains, can reach above 1000 mm right in the nearby mountainous area of Sierra de Guadarrama, as rainfall and snowfall is more frequent up the mountains. Decent showers coming from summer thunderstorms help the mountainous area of the province to be rainier than average than most of the central Spanish plateau, which gives the area lush vegetation. All of this make the province a damp corner in the context of the region; the predominant forms of vegetation in the mountainous areas include pine, oak and juniper.
Aside from the main city, there are a number of other villages within the municipality of Segovia. Fuentemilanos Hontoria Madrona Revenga, established in 1983 as a "minor local entity", a category of sub-municipal entities in Spain. Zamarramala Torredondo Perogordo The first recorded mention of a settlement in what is today Segovia was a Celtic possession. Control passed into the hands of the Romans; the city is a possible site of the battle in 75 BCE where Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius was victorious over Quintus Sertorius and Hirtuleius. Hirtuleius died in the fighting. During the Roman period the settlement belonged to one of numerous contemporary Latin convents, it is believed. After the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León and Castile, the son of King Alfonso VI, Segovia was resettled with Christians from the north of the Iberian peninsula and beyond the Pyrenees, providing it with a significant sphere of influence whose boundaries crossed the Sierra de Guadarrama and the Tagus. Segovia's position on trading routes made it an important centre of trade in wool and textiles.
The end of the Middle Ages saw something of a golden age for Segovia, with a growing Jewish population and the creation of a foundation for a powerful cloth industry. Several splendid works of Gothic architecture were completed during this period. Notably, Isabella I was proclaimed queen of Castile in the church of San Miguel de Segovia on December 13, 1474. Like most Castilian textile centres, Segovia joined the Revolt of the Comuneros under the command of Juan Bravo. Despite the defeat of the Communities, the city's resultant economic boom continued into the sixteenth century, its population rising to 27,000 in 1594; as well as all the cities of Castile, Segovia entered a period of decline. Only a century in 1694, the population had been reduced to only 8,000 inhabitants. In the early eighteenth century, Segovia attempted to revitalize its textile industry, with little success. In the second half of the century, Charles III made another attempt to revive the region's commerce. However, the lack of competitiveness of production caused the crown withdraw its sponsorship in 1779.
In 1764, the Royal School of Artillery, the first military academy in Spain, was opened. This academy remains present in the city today. In 1808, Segovia was sacked by French troops during the War of Independence. During the First Carlist War, troops under the command of Don Carlos unsuccessfully attacked the city. During the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, Segovia experienced a demographic recovery, the result of relative economic stability; the population growth experienced during the nineteenth century accelerated beginning around 1920: 16,013 inhabitants that year, 33,360 in 1960, 53,237 in 1981. Since the 1980s growth has slowed markedly: 55,586 in 2004 and 56,047 in 2007. In 1985 the old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO; the old city contains a multitude of historic buildings both civil and religious, including a large number of buildings of Jewish origin, notably within the old Jewish Quarter. One of the most important Jewish sites is the Jewish cemetery, El Pinarillo.
Among the most important monuments in the city are: The Aqueduct of Segovia, located in Plaza del Azoguejo