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15. The CR and EU

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Location, neighbouring countriesGeographyUnesco cultural heritagePolitical system of the Czech rep.Important people in Czech historySymbols of the EUThe major EU institutionsAdvantages and disadvantages of being a member of EU 15. The Czech Republic and the EU The Czech Republic is inland country in central Europe. It occupies an area of almost 80 000 sq km, which is comparable f.e. to Ireland; Population - 10 million inhabitants The C.R. neighbour with 4 countries. In the north it borders with Poland, in the south with Austria, in the east with Slovakia and with Germany in the west. The highest peak is Sněžka Mountain – 1603 meters above sea level; is located in Giant M., where rises the major European river Elbe as well. Our state has a varied landscape. Bohemia is surrounded by a ring of mountains – the Šumava range, the Czech Forest, the Ore Mountains, the Giant M., the Eagle M and so on. Fertile lowlands can be found in the valleys of big rivers – the Vltava, the Elbe … The climate is mostly continental, the warmest area is in South Moravia. Our territory is known as the main European watershed – republic is divided into three drainage areas – rivers flow into The North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea. There are four national parks in the Czech Republic – Giant M., Podyjí, Bohemian Forest, Bohemian Switzerland. Because of the state’s long and eventful history, there are numerous places of interest. Some of them have been listed asUNESCO sights and are under the protection of this international organisation. To mention some interesting ones I chose: Kutná Hora - a medieval mining town, which became rich because of its silver deposits, is famous for the Church of St. Barbara.Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape - as every Czech knows, ‘lednice’ means ‘refrigerator’ but this chateaux complex in South Moravia is unlikely to leave you feeling frosty.Others: The Historical Centre of Prague, Český Krumlov, Telč, The Pilgrimage Church of Jan Nepomuk in Zelená Hora, close to Žďár nad Sázavou The CR is a parliamentary democracy. The Parliament consists of two chambers: theHouse of Deputies (200 members) and theSenate (81 members). The Senate is a relatively new institution to balance the power of the House. The executive branch is represented by thegovernment and the president. After parliamentary election the president appoints the prime minister. The members of parliament are elected for a four-year-term and senators for six years. The historical roots of the Czech state can be traced back to the 10th century, when the region was ruled by the Přemyslid dynasty. In 935, Duke Václav was killed by his brother Boleslav in fight for power. This violent act gave rise to the Wenceslas cult and St. Wenceslas is also the patron saint of the Czech Republic. The Czech kingdom expanded and during the reign of Přemysl Otakar II and Charles IV. Later on, the kingdom was absorbed into Habsburg Empire. A state in the modern sense of the word was established as a union of Czechs and Slovaks, called Czechoslovakia, in 1918 after the collapse of the AustroHungarian Empire. On January 1, 1993, the two nations went their separate ways. Personalities: Jaromír Jágr and goalkeeper Dominik Hašek are the most famous sportsmen at present. They helped the Czech team to get the Olympic Gold in Nagano in 1998. Martina Navrátilová has won Wimbledon nine times. A brilliant novelist, journalist, and playwright, Karel Čapek, coined the word robot in his play R.U.R. Many excellent composers were born in the Czech Republic. Antonín Dvořák, the author of Slavonic Dances, Bedřich Smetana is well known for his symphonic poem Vltava (The Moldau). The European Union is an organization of 27 European states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium. Generally, its purpose is economic integration and common policies. “A family of democratic countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity“ The symbols of the EU: Flag – The 12 stars in a circle on a blue background symbolize the ideals of unity and harmony among the people of EuropeAnthem – The melody symbolizing the EU comes from the Ninth Symphony composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven, it’s called Ode to JoyMotto – united in diversity – promote collaborating across different nationalitiesOfficial language – English, FrenchCurrency – Euro are using 17 of 27 countries in EU Institutions: EU Commission - proposes laws and monitors EU budget; president - Jean-Claude JunckerEU Council - creates political agenda of the EU andrepresents the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries; president – Donald TuskEU Parliament - directly elected organ with legislative, budgetary and supervisory powers Advantages– economy support and protection, don’t need a passport while travelling, open borders (Schengen area), increasing tourism Disadvantages – economic crises, not stable state budget, dependence on EU VOCABULARY: Ore Mountains - Krušné hory Eagle Mountains - Orlické hory Highland – vysočina Fertile lowlands - úrodné nížiny watershed – rozvodí drainage areas – úmoří eventful – rušný medieval – středověký silver deposits – naleziště stříbra chateaux – zámek chamber – komora The House of Deputies - poslanecká sněmovna branch – odvětví government – vláda election – volby to appoint – jmenovat roots – prameny united in diversity – jednotná v rozmanitosti supervisory - dozorčí

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