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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 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) 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.
Madrid is the capital of Spain, and the largest city in Spain. It is located on the river Manzanares in the center of the country, between the Autonomous Communities of Castilla y Leon and Castilla la Mancha. Madrid is also the capital of the Community of Madrid, an uniprovincial Autonomous Community. Due to its geographical location, wealth and history, Madrid is considered one of the financial centers of the Iberian Peninsula, together with Lisbon, and the political center of Spain.
As the capital of the former Spanish Empire, Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the huge Royal Palace of Madrid; the Buen Retiro park, opened in 1631; an archaeological museum of international reputation; and three superb art museums.
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)