Well its official, 2007 has arrived and I am suffering from the worst hangover of the year so far! 😛 God what an excellent night.
So the EU now has 27 members states, and as many people cant name all the member states I’m going to list them all for you!
The European Union’s 27 member states cover an area of 4,336,790 square kilometres (1,674,444 sq mi) and have approximately 490 million inhabitants as of January 2007. The European Union’s member states if combined would represent the world’s largest economy by GDP, the seventh largest territory in the world by area and the third largest by population. The EU describes itself as a “a family of democratic European countries”. The member states of the European Union have land borders with 21 other nations.
The Euro zone has 13 states with Slovenia joining it. In fact it is used in more than the 13 states, with other states using it as their currency also.
* The euro is the sole currency in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. These 13 countries together are frequently referred to as the Eurozone or the euro area, or more informally “euroland” or the “eurogroup”. The euro is also legal currency in the Eurozone overseas territories of French Guiana, French Polynesia, Réunion, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Mayotte.
* By virtue of some bilateral agreements the European microstates of Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City mint their own euro coins on behalf of the European Central Bank. They are, however, severely limited in the total value of coins they may issue.
* Andorra, Montenegro and Kosovo adopted the foreign euro as their legal currency for movement of capital and payments without participation in the ESCB or the right to mint coins. Andorra is in the process of entering a monetary agreement similar to Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
Irish is now a working language of the EU institutions making 23 working languages.
The EU has twenty-three official languages and three official alphabets (Latin, Greek and Cyrillic) for twenty-seven member states (although there are only three internal working languages in the European Commission: French, English and German). One problem that arises is that there are 253 potential two-language combinations between the twenty-three languages.
The European Parliament employs over 4,000 interpreters at a cost of almost one billion euros annually, and documents can take up to a week to be translated into the languages of all member states. One of the problems is that sometimes translation needs to be done across intermediate languages because of a lack of interpreters for some languages, which can often lead to a loss of information and clarity, or even introduce errors into the translation.
It has been suggested, most notably by former UK commissioner of the EU Neil Kinnock, that some of these costs could be omitted by making English the official working language of the EU.
There is a strong argument that all legislation, and indeed all proposed legislation, be available to the public of the EU in their national languages. The EU produces substantial legislation applicable to all member states: debate and accountability would be severely hampered if ordinary people could not have access to documents in their own language.
I realise this is a rambling post, and its mainly facts but you never know what you may learn from it! I know I have!