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France is French, and European too

« L’Europe c'est comme un pays multinational. Ensemble l'Union européenne prend place parmi les plus grandes puissances du monde ».  Jean-Noël et Aude

Each member state takes in turn presiding over the E.U for 6 months. From January 1st till June 2008, Slovenia[Help: infoplus ] held the presidency of the European Union and from July 1st till December 31st, France took over. Until June 30th, The Czech Republic held the presidency, then Sweden took over on July 1st .

map of EuropeThe idea of the European Community was born in Paris, on May 9th 1950. To help guarantee permanent peace, Germany and France took the initiative, along with Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, in creating a Common Market.

It was set up as an agreement between the 6 founding countries who signed the Treaty of Rome on March 25th 1957.

The Europe of the Six at first produced and sold coal and steel. Sharing economic interests was a first step before creating a common currency.

Over the last 50 years, Europe has been enlarged several times: 6, 9, 10, 12, 15, 25 and 27 countries.

map of European Union 2007

Member states

1957 6 Germany (D) - Belgium (B) - France (F) - Italy (I) - Luxembourg(L) - Netherlands (NL)
1973 9 Denmark (D) - Ireland (IRL) - United Kingdom (UK)
1981 10 Greece (GR)
1986 12 Portugal (P) - Spain (E)
1990 - Reunification of Germany
1995 15 Austria(A), Finland (FIN), Sweden (S)
2004 25 Cyprus (CY) - Estonia (EST) - Hungaria (H) - Latvia (LV) - Lithuania (LT) - Malta (M) - Poland (PL) - Czech Republic (CZ) - Slovaquia (SK) - Slovenia (SLO)
2007 27 Bulgaria (BG) - Romania (RO)

European citizens are getting used to each other, discovering their differences and their similarities even if it is difficult to understand each other in so many different languages. The European Union recognizes 23 official languages and 3 alphabets. The latin alphabet mainly used in the EU makes room to the Greek alphabet in Greece and to the cyrillic alphabet in Bulgaria.

Therefore official documents are translated into German, English, Bulgarian, Danish, Spanish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Lettonian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Swedish, Tchek. Since January 1st, 2007 Irish has been declared an official language.

As the fox says to the Little Prince in the story, “If you tame me, then we shall need each other”, under Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's pen, one has to get used to the other, it creates bonds but it takes time. All families have arguments but in the end, without completely giving in, it’s always best for everyone to come to an agreement.

Be careful: UE means Union européenne in French, EU is the English for European Union but also means Etats-Unis though the French more often use USA (United States of America).

Euro : c’est la monnaie européenne

Unis, ses pays commencent à l’être

Rouge est le drapeau de la Chine. Le sien ressemble à un ciel étoilé

Ode à la joie est son hymne sans parole

Peuples différents, vous la construisez ensemble
Europe c’est ainsi qu’elle se nomme

Stéphanie Guenser (Shangaï)

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La Slovénie compte 2 millions d'habitants. Voisine de l'Italie, de l'Autriche, de la Hongrie et de la Croatie, elle se situe entre les Alpes et les Balkans.  Sa capitale est Ljubljana.


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