11. The European Union
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11. The European Union The abbreviation is the EU. There are many countries. The EU is an organization. It is an organization of Europeans countries. It was formed to cooperate. Nowadays there are about 28 member states (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, The CR, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and many others). The Czech Republic entered the EU in 2004. To be accepted as an EU member, the candidate country must have a democratic government, a functioning market economy and must guarantee human rights. Main goals are to cooperate and to help member countries in economics, in trade, in foreign policy, in security, in defence and so over. Countries opened their boarders to make free movement of people, goods, workers, services, money and so one. Headquarters is in Belgium in Brussels. The EU was officially formed in 1993 but before there were several organizations, f. e. in 1951 The European coal and steel community was established only with 6 countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands). In 1967 the community was renamed to The European Community and more countries joined the union. Almost all countries have the same currency. The Euro was introducing as the official currency of the Eurozone. It has been used since 1st January 2002. It belongs to the most important currencies of the world. It is issued by European central bank. You can pay with Euros almost in all member countries. Euro is divided into 100 cents. Highest note is 500 €. On coins on one side there is the same design and on the other side there is national design. The benefit of the Euro is that we don’t have to exchange money when we are traveling, we can compare prices easily. The Euro is single and strong currency. There is a circle of twelve golden stars on the blue background on the European flag. The number 12 is a symbol of perfection and unity. The anthem of the EU is Ode to Joy composed by L. V. Beethoven. A year ago the GB left the EU. It was called Brexit. The institutions of the EU are not concentrated in a single capital but in 4 cities (Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Frankfurt). Bodies of the EU are European Commission, European Council, European Parliament, European Court of Justice and European Central Bank. Central bank is located in Germany in Frankfurt. It is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the Eurozone. As citizens of the EU we have a right to travel, stay or work in any of the member states. Czech became an official language of the EU. It means all the official documents are translated into the Czech language. We don’t need any international driving licence in the EU member states. Czech students can study at the European universities for several terms of whole studies, the only condition is the perfect knowledge of the local language and good results at the secondary school. When we get to trouble in a foreign country, we can ask for help at any diplomatic or consular representation of any EU member state.