In the aftermath of the Second World War, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman persuaded six former wartime enemies ( Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy,

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In the aftermath of the Second World War, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman persuaded six former wartime enemies (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, France and Germany) to come together. In 1952, the European Coal and Steel Community came into being, connect the heavy industries of these nations. Peace was the guiding principle behind this coalition. Greater unity was declared in 1958 when the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community were set up in 1958 by the Treaties of Rome. Since that time, the Community has grown from its six original members, to include Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain in 1973, Greece in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The population increased by 18 million with the reunification of Germany in 1990 and finally in 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the Union. In May 2004 the EU was enlarged of 10 new countries including the Czech Republic ( Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia,Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania)The Union has a system of institutions that work in collaboration with each other, undertaking the principles of safeguarding peace and promoting economic and social progress.The Council of the European Union, often called the Council of Ministers, brings together ministers from 27 member states that have responsibility for the area to be discussed foreign affairs, agriculture, industry, transport and the environment and so on. It enacts European law and joins control over legislation and budget.The European Commission consists of 27 members who pledge to serve the Unions interests, not their national governments. Most of the Commissioners have served earlier as ministers or MPs. They provide it with political leadership and direction. Its the largest EU institution, the main executive body is in Brussels. Finally, it often suggests ways in which the Union should develop.The European Parliament is a democratic forum for debate with the power of co-decision in important areas. It currently has 785 members who are elected every five years since 1979 and who meet in Strasbourg for a monthly plenary session and in Brussels for committee meetings. It often works in parallel with the council in a legislative capacity and since the Treaty on European Union came into force, it has enjoyed greater influence, by having the power of co-decision in certain areas European law cant be enacted without Parliaments consent, notably regarding the single market and agreements with other counties. Czech members: Vladimr elezn, Jana Bobokov, Josef Zieleniec, Jana Hybkov,The European Court of Justice together with the Court of First Instance ensures that EU law is observed. It has 27 judges, assisted by 8 advocates. Actions may be brought by member states, EU institutions and by individual citizens and companies.The European Investment Bank is the Unions financing institution and provides long-term loans for capital investment promoting the Unions balanced economic development and integration.This is the European flag. It is the symbol not only of the European Union but also of Europe's unity and identity in a wider sense. The circle of gold stars represents solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe.The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of Member States. There are twelve stars because the number twelve is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity. The flag therefore remains unchanged regardless of EU enlargements.Nicolaus Copernicus PolandChristopher Columbus SpainNapoleon Bonaparte FranceWolfgang Amadeus Mozart AustriaWilliam Shakespeare EnglandFamous EuropeanLeonardo da Vinci ItalyJohann Wolfgang von Goethe GermanyVasco da Gama PortugalFyodor Dostoevsky RussiaHans Christian Andersen DenmarkDostoyevsky - A Russian novelist and short-story writer, best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazo.Schumacher - the world's best and fastest racing driver.Churchill - British Prime minister (1940-45), who together with Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin shaped Allied strategy through the Atlantic Charter and at the Cairo, Casablanca and Tehran conferences.Curie - A female physicist, famous for her work on radioactivity and twice a winner of the Nobel Prize.Mozart - An Austrian composer (1756-91), widely recognized as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western musicWalesa - A DoLabour activist who helped form and led (198090) communist Poland's first independent trade union.Victoria - A Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1837-1901) and empress of India (1876-1901).Calvin - A Theologian and ecclesiastical statesman. He was the leading French Protestant Reformer and the most important figure in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation.Gorbachev - A Soviet official, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991 and president of the Soviet Union in 199091. Gutenberg - A German craftsman and inventor who originated a method of printing from movable type that was used without important change until the 20th century.Braille - A French educator who developed a system of printing and writing for the blind.Diana - A Princess of Wales who died tragically in a car accident.Picasso - A Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and the most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator of Cubism.Marconi - An Italian physicist and inventor of a successful wireless telegraph (1896). In 1909 he received the Nobel Prize for Physics.Gagarin - A Soviet cosmonaut who in 1961 became the first man to travel into space.Calvin - A Theologian and ecclesiastical statesman. He was the leading French Protestant Reformer and the most important figure in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation.Austria (since 1995-01-01) (EUR) Belgium (EUR) Bulgaria (since 2007-01-01) Cyprus (Greek part) (since 2004-05-01) (EUR: 2008-01-01) Czech Republic (since 2004-05-01) Denmark Estonia (since 2004-05-01) Finland (since 1995-01-01) (EUR) France (EUR) Germany (EUR) Greece (EUR) Hungary (since 2004-05-01) Member states (EUR: Euro currency):Ireland (EUR) Italy (EUR) Latvia (since 2004-05-01) Lithuania (since 2004-05-01) Luxembourg (EUR) Malta (since 2004-05-01) (EUR: 2008-01-01) Netherlands (EUR) Poland (since 2004-05-01) Portugal (EUR) Romania (since 2007-01-01) Slovakia (since 2004-05-01) Slovenia (since 2004-05-01) (EUR) Spain (EUR) Sweden (since 1995-01-01) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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