The Countries whose language I am learning- Great Britain

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Autor: Dievča verca123 (26)
Typ práce: Maturita
Dátum: 13.09.2013
Jazyk: Angličtina
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The Countries whose language I am learning- Great Britain 

Pictures
1. Describe the pictures. Who would you recommend to visit these places? Which of them would you like to visit?
 
2. Which of these places would you choose if you had to plan a trip to London? Consider the interest of your classmates.
 
Discussion
1. Describe the location, population, history and political system of Great Britain.
2. Which famous places and sightseeings would you like to visit in London? Why?

- What are British people like?
- Name some typical British holidays.
- Have you ever been to an English-speaking country?
- Which English-speaking country do you like best? Why? What do you know about this country? Think about its people, customs, traditions, holidays, places of interest, etc.
- Would you like to study and/or live in one of the English-speaking countries? Where? Why? Why not?
- Have you ever been to any of the countries? If yes, describe your experiences. If not, are you planning to visit one in the future? Describe your plans.
- Describe your favourite English-speaking country; think about its inhabitants, habits, traditions, way of life, places of interest etc.
- Have you ever visited any of the English-speaking countries? Describe your experiences.  If not, are you planning to visit one in the future? Describe your plans.
- Have you decided to work or/and live in one of the countries? Where? Why? Why not?
- Think about some stereotypes and prejudices related to these countries. Do they influence life and work of people in the European Union? Explain.

Role-plays and simulations
1. You have been asked to organize a trip for a group of Slovak students. Some of them are interested in history, other prefer culture, but girls are keen on shopping and relax.  Where would you take them? Explain your choice. /Simulation/
 
- You a tourist guide and you have to recommend some places of London worth seeing. /Simulation/

- Your close friend has been unemployed for a long time. Advice him/her to go to work abroad, think about all advantages and disadvantages of this suggestion. /Role-play/

- You have just graduated from secondary school and your parents expect you to go on your studies at university in Slovakia. However, you decided to have a year off and travel to Australia to earn some money before. Your parents are strictly against. Give your arguments to persuade them about your choice. /Role-play/

- Think about the stereotypes for Englishmen and women. Characterise the nationality. Try to make a complex picture /appearance, clothing, behaviour/- Choose some adjectives which you think go with the mentioned nationality. /Simulation/

- Your English class wants to go on a 5-day trip to London. You were asked to find out all the information about the trip. Go to a travel agency in your town and ask about the trips they offer. Give a short report back to your classmates including this information: transport, accommodation, excursions and total price per student. /Role-play/

Krajina, ktorej jazyk sa učím
- krajina a obyvatelia
- miesto, ktoré by som rád navštívil
- výnimočnosť, zvyky, tradície a konvencie
- stereotypy a predsudky
- zjednotená Európa

A. GREAT BRITAIN - GEOGRAPHY, ECONOMY AND POPULATION

Great Britain is situated on the British and is separated from the European continent by the North Sea, and the English Channel.  The country has a mild and rainy climate. The population of Great Britain is more than 56 million people. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.  The largest cities of Great Britain are London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh. Great Britain is an industrialized country.  Major  industries  include iron and steel  engineering /including  motor vehicles  and aircraft/, textiles,  plastics,  cotton,  chemicals,  electronics, wool, shipbuilding, food products, coal  and natural gas. The chief agricultural products are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beet, milk and meat.
Great Britain comprises England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It includes four nations:  English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish people differ sometimes in their way of life, customs, values and traditions.

ENGLAND
England occupies southern part of Great Britain.  The principal mountains are The Pennines and The Cheviot Hills, the Cambrian Mountains in the Lake District and the Cornish Heights. England has about 47 million inhabitants in 50 000 square plain. The country is divided into 39 countries. Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Hampshire, Kent, Cheshire, Durham, Essex and Sussex are the largest and the most populated.
England is highly industrialized. The development of industry started during the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.  An important invention was the steam engine by James Watt. The most famous industrial cities are Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, and Birmingham. New modern industries have developed. Manchester used to be a major industrial and commercial centre. Now it has variety of industries, particularly engineering. Newcastle upon Tyne is the centre of industry based on coal, iron, steel and shipbuilding. Birmingham has developed light engineering. Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay are the mot famous towns of the coast.
England has a very rich architecture.  Many cathedrals, castles were built there.  The English countryside is remarkable for its green fields and trees because there are no extremes in climate. The most famous cities in England are Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay.
 
WALES
Wales is a largely mountainous country. The oldest son of the English monarch and the successor to the English throne is given the title "Prince of Wales". The highest mountain in the north, Snowdon, is 1100 metres above sea level. This region is called Snowdonia.
The  majority  of  people  live in  the  coal-  mining  and  industrial region of the south around Cardiff, the capital of Wales,  and  Swansea.  There are two languages spoken in Wales-English and Welsh.  The Welsh people love music and poetry. The annual competitive festival of choral signing is known as the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

SCOTLAND
Scotland, situated to the north of England, also includes Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides and other islands. Scotland is a wonderful country.  Scotland has more than 5 million inhabitants. They speak English with regional accent and the ancient Scottish language.  Scotland is a country of hills, lakes /called lochs/, swift rivers. The most beautiful part of Scotland is the region known as the Highlands. The highest peak is Ben Nevis, 1.380 metres high. The most famous lakes are Loch Lomond and Loch Ness where the mythical monster lives.  There are four big cities in Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has become the international centre of music and drama.  Edinburgh is also famous for the engineering, printing and electronic industries.  Glasgow, situated on the river Clyde, is known all over the world for its shipbuilding.
Scotland has its own law and education system. There are also special traditions in Scotland, such as playing the bagpipes and wearing kilts, which are typical pleated knee-length tartan skirts.  Special meals which are prepared only in Scotland, one of them is haggis /a kind of sausage made of heart, liver and lungs of a sheep/. Scotland has many whisky distilleries with Scottish whisky is world-famous.

NORTHERN IRELAND
Northern Ireland /known also as Ulster/ is a part of Great Britain.  The people speak English.  The capital city of Northern Ireland is Belfast.  Chief exports of Northern Ireland are ships, aircraft, linen textiles and agriculture products.
The Irish Republic became independent in 1922.  The Irish Republic is also known as Eire. It is almost totally Catholic. The life of people and the politics of Northern Ireland are dominated by religious and economic problems.

THE HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN
Among the first inhabitants of Great Britain were Celts. The Roman occupation began in the 1st century A.D. and lasted for four centuries. The Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded Britain in the 5th century. In 1066 the Norman army lead by William the Conqueror invaded the country. In 1215 Magna Charta laid the foundations for parliamentary government. Henry VIII, during his reign the English Church separated from Rome and he himself became the head of the Church of England in 16th century. The Puritan  Republic was established in the 16th century. Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector. The 18th century was a period of the Industrial Revolution.  During  the reign  of Queen  Victoria in  the years 1837-1901  /19th  century/  Britain  dominated  the  world industrially,  commercially and militarily. In 1945 20% of the economy was nationalized by a Labour government, who introduced free health care and education.  Since 1979 the Conservatives have attempted to make Britain more competitive by privatising industry.
 
THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a constitutional monarchy.  The present sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II., has no real political power. The United Kingdom is actually governed by the Cabinet, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has his official residence at 10 Downing Street. The supreme legislative body is Parliament. It consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Commons has 630 members elected for 5 years. The House of Lords consists of some 1000 members, including hereditary and life peers and 26 Lords Spirituals. The U.K. constitution is not written. Britain's most important political parties are the Conservative party and the Labour party.
The union of England, Scotland and Ireland is symbolized by the British national flag, called the Union Jack.

B. LONDON

London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom. It lies on the river Thames and covers an area of 1.580 square kilometres. Almost 8 million people live there. It is the seat of the Monarch, the Parliament, the Government and the Supreme Court. There are many important museums, galleries, theatres, historical buildings and parks in London. The Prime Meridian of the World runs across Greenwich in the east of London.

History

The Celts settled the territory of today’s London about 800 B.C., but even earlier the site had been inhabited in the Stone Age. Although the place had been occupied by the Romans about 55 B.C., only later, about 43 A.D. they established Roman Londonium. When the Romans left the island in the 5th century, it remained the capital of the Britons. During the reign of Norman Kings /William the Conqueror was the first/ the royal court moved from Winchester, the former capital, to London for ever. The 17th century brought much suffering to London. In 1665 more than 75.000 people died from a plague epidemic and a year later, the Great Fire of London destroyed four fifths of the city. During the following decades hectic building activity rebuilt the whole city. Sit Christopher Wren was appointed the ain architect. He constructed about 50 churches including his masterpiece St.Paul´s Cathedral.

Transport
The river Thames has been used continuously as a highway since prehistoric times. The Port of London is considered to be one of the best in the world, but its importance as a reloading and transfer place has been falling. Docks, one flourishing and busy, have decayed. The latest means of London transport are river buses which run on the Thames between Chelsea and Docklands and City Airport.  There are 5 airports in the London area. The largest of them are Heathrow and Gatwick. London is also the most significant highway and railway junction in the British Isles. There is a rail connection to all arts of the island from 15 central stations. The quickest and cheapest way to get around central London is by underground, often called the tube. It transports over 760 million passengers a year. There are also red double-deckers, black taxis and long distance buses called coaches which depart from Victoria Coach Station.

London is divided into 3 parts: the City, the East End and the West End.
The City is the oldest part in the east. The East End is the part where many immigrant groups live. The West End has everything from shops, theatres, great parks and the famous Trafalgar Square which any Londoners think of as the centre of their city. Near the West End is Westminster, where Buckingham Palace, Parliament and the Government of England are located.
The City of London covers approximately 1 square mile. It is the oldest part of London and its borders are unchanged since Norman times. The City of London is headed by the Lord Mayor. He enters his office with a ceremonial procession in November called the Lord Mayor’s show. Now it is home to the financial district.
Tales of torture, treasure and treason make Tower of London the capital’s top tourist attraction. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress the White Tower to impress the people of London. The Tower served till the 16th century as a royal home, a prison, an execution site and an observatory. Not it is a museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of weapons, the Crown Jewels or the prison where many famous prisoners were kept.  The Tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders /Beefeaters/ who still wear the uniform of Tudor times. Six ravens are kept in the Tower to protect the whole kingdom. The legend says that the kingdom will cease to exist when the ravens leave the Tower.
Next to the Tower stands Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge of London which is raised in the middle to allow sips to pass up the river. It takes 90 seconds to raise.
The largest and best-known church of the City is St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece was completed after 35 years in 1711.  It is built in the Baroque style. This cathedral has seen many important occasions: Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral service or the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. Britain’s heroes are buried there: Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Christopher Wren himself. His simple epitaph says: ´Reader if you seek a monument, look around you.´
The City of London is one of the major banking centres of the world. The banks of many nations are there: the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange.

Westminster
The Houses of Parliament were built in Gothic Style in 1835 and are situated on the bank of the Thames. The original Palace was destroyed by fire used to be a residence of the kings until the 16th century. Now they are the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of the British Parliament. The Houses of Parliament became the seat of Parliament in 1547. Great Britain with its House of Commons and House of Lords is the oldest democracy in the world today. About 98 metres above the Parliament rises the clock tower called Big Ben. It is not really the name of the clock, it is the name f the bell /named after Sir Benjamin Hall/. The strike of Big Ben is known world-wide because it is used by the BBC as the time signal.
Facing the Houses of Parliament, just across Parliament Square, is the most important church in the country Westminster Abbey, where monarchs are crowned and heroes buried. The history of Westminster Abbey goes back to the 11th century. Almost all coronations since William the Conqueror have been held tee and many British kings and queens are buried there.
Not far from the Houses of Parliament is Buckingham Palace, the London home of the kings and queens of Great Britain. It was built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham. Outside Buckingham Palace the changing of the guard takes place. The royal family occupies the north wing of the Palace and the Royal Standard is flown when the Queen Elizabeth II is in residence. 
The most famous street which stretches from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square is called Whitehall. It is also a castle - the former residence of the kings with mounted guards in front of it. Now some important ministries are in Whitehall itself 10 Downing Street - the home of the Prime Minister.
 
The West End
Trafalgar Square is said to be the largest in London and it is the place of political demonstrations and busy traffic. It originated in the 19th century and its name commemorates the naval victory of Admiral Horatio Nelson over the French and Spanish fleet in 1805. In the middle of the square there is Nelson’s Column with a five-metre tall statue of Lord Nelson at the top.
Piccadilly Circus is the centre of entertainment. There are many night clubs, theatre, cinemas and restaurants. The most beautiful view of the square is at night when it is lit by many colourful advertisements. In the centre of the Circus at the top of the fountain stands Eros, the Greek God of love, built by Lord Shaftsbury, a famous philanthropist.
The East End
With its ports, docks and many industries is the home of poorer people and foreign immigrants, there are a lot of block of flats there, and it is not as beautiful and clean as the West End.
The Royal Observatory is Greenwich was established 300 years ago. The Zero Meridian of longitude passes through it.
Parks
London has a large number of parks and gardens.  The best-known are the following ones: St.James‘s Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, Hyde Park, Regent‘s Park and Kensington Gardens. All major parks were once royal gardens.  St.James‘s Park is situated near Buckingham Palace. It is the smallest but the oldest of London‘s royal parks. An architect John Nash created in the 19th century a lake with small islands which are the home of many water birds. While St. James’s Park is the oldest, Hyde Park is the most popular among tourists. It has its attractions, e.g. a little lake /the Serpentine/ and there is a Speaker’s Corner, the place where everybody can peak publicly without fear of being arrested for their opinions.  Regent’s Park is perhaps London’s most elegant part with its attractive gardens, lakes and a zoo. Buckingham Palace Gardens are bordered in the east by royal residence.  The Kensington Gardens are very beautiful with the Victorian Gothic Albert Memorial and a big cultural centre. The visitor of London is never far away from a park. London‘s parks play a very important role in helping to form the city‘s character.

Shopping
The West End is famous for shops and entertainment. There are well known streets of Piccadilly, Bond Street, Regent‘s Street, Carnaby Street and Oxford Street. In the West End we can find most of London’s theatres, cinemas and nightclubs. One of the most interesting streets of London, where especially young people like to wander, is Carnaby Street. It is full of shops offering the latest fashion. Oxford Street is probably London’s most well-known shopping street famous for its large department stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer. Bond Street is famous for its galleries, antiques and jewellery shops. Covent Garden is the famous fruit and vegetable market. Soho also represents a spectacular shopping and entertainment area where you can find many Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants as well as ´adult´ entertainment.

Harrods
claims to be the largest department store in Europe. Its distinctive terracotta-clad five-storey building dates from the early 1900s. It houses over 320 departments, over 4000 people work there, and an average day’s takings exceed one million pounds.
In the centre of the West End, there is a Chinatown marked by beautiful Chinese gateways. London’s Chinatown is attractive place for tourists who like to taste traditional Chinese food in its typical restaurants. London’s East End used to be a slum in the 19th century. It is historically associated with the Cockney dialect.  This area was heavily bombed during World War 2 and then it was rebuilt again.

Culture
London is also a cultural centre of Britain. It is the home of British Television and Radio and the place where almost all national newspapers are issued. Fleet Street used to be the centre of journalists. Now most dailies and magazines have moved to the Docklands. London is famous as a musical centre. Major classical music centres are the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. Pop and rock fans can visit Wembley Arena. The National Theatre is located on the south bank of the Thames. It consists of three theatres from which the Olivier Theatre is the largest one. It was named after the famous actor and director Sir Lawrence Olivier.  On the northern side of Trafalgar Square there is the National Gallery built in the classic style. It contains Britain‘s best-known collection of paintings including those by Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, El Greco and others. Just behind the National Gallery there is the National Portrait Gallery in which portraits of British monarchs can be seen. The Tate Gallery is another big gallery containing modern art. It is situated not far from the Houses of Parliament. Among the most famous London museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Museum should be mentioned.  The British Museum is a treasure house of the arts and achievements of the world´ civilizations. It was founded in 1753 and shows the works of man from all over the world from prehistoric to modern times. The biggest attractions are the Egyptian department, which contains one of the richest collections of ancient Egyptian art and an important array of relics from ancient Greece. The Museum´s most famous possession is the Rosetta Stone that was used by scholars to find the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thousands of visitors visit Madam Tussaud‘s Museum every year. Waxworks of famous people from all the world can be found there.

C. LIFEIN BRITAIN

When you visit GB, you are pleasantly surprised by the natural politeness of people of all classes. People are never  tired  of  saying  "Thank  you“, Excuse  me"  or  "I  beg your  pardon". While  discussing they do not  use imperative at all,  but  the phrases  like "May  I ask  you..", "Will  you be  so kind", "I do not think you  are quite right.." Whenever a man accompanies a lady along the street, he walks between her and the road full of traffic. A gentleman always raises his hat to a lady, but seldom to a man. People do not shake hands so often as on the continent.
Another feature of British manners is self-discipline. People wait in queues at bus stops or elsewhere in a quiet and discipline manner. They do not speak loudly, English people also hate showing off in manners, dress or speech. They do not express unambiguous views not to evoke the conflict of views of other persons. They often criticise their government or their way of life but do not like the same to be done by others, especially by foreigners. 
English people are said to be stuffy and conservative. They stick to their old traditions and habits. They keep various royal ceremonies for centuries, and some laws too - they have no written constitution. In addition to the well-known fact that they still use their traditional system of weights and measurements, they drive on the left and they still wear traditional school uniforms.
The English are known for their good table manners. When you are invited to dinner, never let your host wait for you long. The hostess will be pleased if you bring her a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers or have sent them next day. You can also send a thank card.  Never clink glasses when drinks are served before meals. It will be considered impolite if you yourself are entertained and do not talk to your neighbours on your right and left. Make your food last till the other have nearly finished eating so that you all finish at the same time.
The British are very fond of animals. Almost every family has a pet - a dog, a cat or a canary. Some people seem to love animals more than people. Lonely old people keep a pet as a friend or even as if it were their own child. When  they die,  they leave all their  money to  their dog or  to the local  animal home where  lost animals  are  cared  for. There are many pet shops selling special food, toys and even clothes for animals.
The English are fond of sports. They are encouraged to go in for sports and games from the primary school up to the universities. The word 'sport' means some indoor or outdoor activity for fun to be with:’ She is a good sport.' A game is a sport with rules and it is played by two teams or by two players. Favourite English sports are horse riding, horseracing, swimming, rowing, running, jumping. Favourite games are football /soccer/, rugby, golf, cricket, tennis and others.  The British spend a lot of time at home. They like living in a family house with a small garden. Gardening is a favourite hobby there.  England is the 'kingdom of private life' with the saying My house-my castle. When an Englishman is at home, he relaxes, devotes to his hobbies, to his family and does not think of problems at work.
Kissing is not common as a form of greeting unless you know someone well.  It is especially unusual between men, who usually shake hands and just say 'Hello' without touching.  People usually kiss on one cheek only.
Unless you know someone well, it's impolite to ask them how much they earn or how much they paid for something. 
Punctuality is important. If you arrange to meet someone, try not to be more than a few minutes late. In shops and at bus stops, go to the back of the queue and wait. If you 'jump the queue', other people will angrily tell you to wait your turn. On trains, especially underground trains, people tend to sit in silence and read. If you try to start a conversation with the person next to you, don't be surprised if you don't get much of response.
The weather is not something you argue about seriously. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. The most common greeting is: ´Nice day isn’t it? ´, even if the weather is awful. You should answer without hesitation: ´Isn’t it lovely? ´
´Do you fancy a cuppa? ´ is one of the first things you hear when you come to England. Or perhaps you will hear ´Would you like a cup of tea? ´. They both mean the same. The trouble with tea is that originally it was quite a good drink but a group of British scientists found the way of spoiling it. One this refreshing, aromatic, oriental beverage was successfully transformed into colourless and tasteless gargling water. If an Englishman invites you ´to tea´ be careful. When he says ´tea´ perhaps he means soup, meat and vegetables or cheese all served together with a pot of tea at 6 o’clock p.m. Or perhaps he means a cup of tea and one or two cakes or biscuits served between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock in the afternoon. One is usually a huge meal, the other a snack.
The British are said to be reserved in manners, dress and speech. Their insularity, conservatisms and sticking to traditions are often pointed to.  They are famous for their politeness, self-discipline, reliability, and for their specific sense of humour. They are never seen to be in a hurry and are seldom nervous. These features of British manners are often pointed to as typical but it does not mean that all the British people actually are what they are said to be. Many of the British are not insular, conservative or sticking to traditions at all.  There are big differences in manners between individuals even within one nation. It is similar with customs and habits.

 

Many traditional British customs and habits have changed as the way of life has changed. It is not true to say that it is a custom in all British families to eat bacon, eggs, sausages and tomatoes for breakfast.  Some families  start the  day with  the traditional  breakfast but  most  of British  people think  it is  time consuming or even  unhealthy and have cornflakes, toast  and jam.
It is not true to say that British women stay at home and work in their household. The role of women has changed over the last years and many British women have their occupation and now they make up two fifth of the workforce. On the other hand there are habits and customs which characterize most of British people. It is true that the British rarely shake hands when they meet, expect when being introduced to someone for the first time.  It is becoming more common for young people to kiss on the cheek when they meet or say goodbye.
They like to spend their free time outdoors. During weekends they often go for a picnic and have their meals in the open air. Most of the British like to spend their summer holidays at the seaside. There have been many changes in the life-style of the British families over the last decades, which have been caused especially by socio-economical factors.

Housing - In the traditional British family  several generations from grandparents to grandchildren lived together under one roof. Today only the parents and dependent children live in the same house. The grandparents and independent children live apart. When a young couple decides to get married they have the opportunity to buy a house or flat and to set up their own home. A bank lends them money which is paid back in monthly payments. In most cases young couples prefer to live alone rather than to remain in the home of their parents. In order to meet the cost of buying one's own home many British women work now. The change of the traditional status of women has had a great effect on the children and on the way of life of the family. Young British families are much concerned with the quality of life and they carefully plan the size of their family according to their material and financial resources. The husband and the wife share the housework and also the responsibility for their children's education. Modern devices in the household make their life more comfortable and save their time. Shopping is usually done in large food supermarkets once a week. Most of British children attend state schools.  If their school is several miles from their home a special bus picks them up every day.

The most popular evening amusements of the British are watching TV, videos, visiting friends, going to the cinema, theatre, restaurant or a pub.  Young people in Britain have their individual interests, their own lifestyle and a special young culture. Those who leave school at 16 and get their first job are independent. They have their own money to spend on records, clothes or entertainment. The teenagers  who stay at  school until  the  age  of  18, preparing  to  go  to  college  or  university, also take a job in a shop or baby-sitting to have some  more  pocket  money  to  spend  on tickets to concerts,  cassettes,  clothes, magazines  or cosmetics.  Saturday night is the favourite night of the week for going out to parties or to a disco with friends. The cinema is more popular than the theatre with young people. 

E. European Reunion

The entry of eight European countries together with Cyprus and Malta in the European Union on 1 May 2004 was a historic achievement ending centuries of division. European reunion means a stronger, democratic and more stable continent, with a single market providing economic benefits for all of 450 million citizens. The European Union has come a long way since the original six member states joined forces to create the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 /Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands/ and the European Economic Community in 1957. In 1973 the European Union underwent its first enlargement process when accepting Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom as members.  Later, in 1982 Greece joined in and in 1986 Portugal and Spain became members. In 1995, three more countries entered the Union – Austria, Sweden and Finland. In the meantime, the European Union had created a single market and a single currency and had expanded its economic and social agenda to foreign and security policy as well.

The enlargement from fifteen to twenty-five was the biggest in the Union history. The ten newcomers, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, joined formally on 1 May 2004, the culmination of a long process of preparation and negotiation.

The economic impact of enlargement will be significant with a bigger and more integrated market boost and economic growth for new and current member alike. The newcomers benefit from investments from firms based in Western Europe and from access to EU funding for the regional and social development. Bulgaria and Romania joined the Union in 2007. An application for membership, submitted by Croatia in February 2003, is being examined by the European Commission, which will decide whether entry negotiations can begin.

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