The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3km2 (1,634,469.0sqmi) and an estimated total population of about 447million. An internal single market has been established through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where the states have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market; enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area. A monetary union was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 member states which use the euro currency. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison) with the characteristics of either a federation or confederation.
Same-sex marriage in Spain was legalised in 2005. In 2004, the new Socialist government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, which would include adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, a law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales on 30 June 2005 and published on 2 July 2005. Same-sex marriage officially became legal in Spain on Sunday, 3 July 2005. The ratification of this law has not been devoid of conflict, despite support from 66% of Spaniards. Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed to it, fearing the weakening of the meaning of marriage. Demonstrations for and against the law drew thousands of people from all parts of Spain.
Approximately 4,500 same-sex couples have married in Spain during the first year of the law. Shortly after the law was passed, questions arose about the legal status of marriage to non-Spaniards whose country did not permit same-sex marriage. A ruling from the Spanish Justice ministry stated that the country's same-sex marriage law allows a Spanish citizen to marry a non-Spaniard regardless of whether that person's homeland recognizes the partnership. At least one partner must be a Spanish citizen to marry.
Nicosia, known locally as Lefkosia is the capital and largest city of Cyprus. Nicosia is located at 35°10' north, 33°21' east (35.1667, 33.35). Located on the Pedieos river and situated roughly in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. Nicosia is the center and capital of an administrative district (Nicosia District), and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is currently the only divided capital city in the world, with the northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) portions divided by the "Green Line", a demilitarized zone maintained by the United Nations. The 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 36 percent of the island's territory literally cut the capital in half. The population of the part of the city under the control of the Republic of Cyprus is 206,200 (end of 2001).
Nicosia is a modern, dynamic capital with lots of shops, restaurants and entertainment.The city is a trade center and manufactures textiles, leather, pottery, plastic, and other products. Copper mines are nearby. Nicosia is the seat of the University of Cyprus (UCY) and of all the colleges and institutes of Republic of Cyprus.
Image 8A cartogram depicting the population distribution between old EU-27 member states (including the UK and excluding Croatia). 58% of all citizens of the EU live in the four largest member states: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. (from Demographics of the European Union)