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The borders of European states have changed many times. For example, the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became independent states in 1920, but in 1940 they became republics of the USSR. In 1991 they declared their independence again. In 1993 two independent republics, the Czech republic and Slovakia were created out of former Czechoslovakia. These facts prove, that the process of forming the countries still going on.

People belong to different religions in Europe. In southern Europe and Poland most Christians belong to the Catholic Church. In northern Europe the churches are mainly Protestant. Such countries as Great Britain and Ireland belong to the Protestant Church. Greeks, Bulgarians, some Yugoslavs and Russians belong to the Orthodox Church. Also there are many other religions, such as Muslim, Buddhism and others.

There are Jews living in most European countries, through few in Germany and eastern Europe where they exterminated by the Axis in the Holocaust, since WW-II immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, Turkey, India and Pakistan have settled in parts of France, Germany, Scandinavia and Britain.

So we can see, that there are 42 countries in Europe, people of different nationalities live there, they speak different languages and belong to different religions; but all of them want to live in peaceful coexistence and economic co-operation; that’s why new institutions had to be set up.

After World War II a number of countries in Western Europe began to co-operate more closely with each other. Then in 1957 the European Economic Community commonly known as the Common Market, was founded by the Treaty of Rome. The first six members of the European Community were France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Goods could be sold between these six countries without extra import taxes and people were free to take jobs in any of the other countries.

In order to make decisions and administer the Community, new institution had to be set up. By 1967 there was a Council of Ministers, a Commission, a European Parliament and a Court of Justice. The Council of Ministers was made up of ministers from each country's government. It has the final say on the policies and programmes of the Community. The Commission is made up of two people from each larger country and one from each smaller country. They take decisions on routine matters and propose new laws.

The members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in each member state. The Parliament is able to comment on proposals, put up by the commissioners and influence the budget and it is slowly gaining more powers.

The Court of justice has the power to enforce Community law on member states. {This Court has sometimes overturned a decision made by the British law courts.} All citizens of Community countries have the right to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

From l973 to 1986 Denmark, the Irish Republic, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the Community. So it increased from the original six to twelve member states. In 1987 these twelve member states passed the Single European Act. This meant that from the end of 1992 money, goods, services and people could move Freely within the Community without customs and other controls at the frontiers. Any citizen of a member state can start a business, hire workers and sell product as easily in another member country as in his own. Workers are able to use their skills to find jobs anywhere throughout the Community.

For many people the main purpose of the European Community is to create a continent whose countries need never go to war with each other again, because Europe is our common home.

In the 1st century AD Britain become Roman province as the result of colonises invades in AD 43. By about AD 100 the Romans had conquered many of the lands that now make up countries of modern Europe, including Spain, France and Britain. However, their power didn’t extend beyond the river Rhine, because there were German tribes whom the Romans called ‘barbarians’.

Then the Roman Empire gradually split into a western half and an eastern half (the Byzantine Empire). The West accepted the Pope in Rome as head of the Church and called itself Christendom. In Eastern Europe and Russia, people were gradually converted to Christianity by missionaries from Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. From then on the Ural Mountains were regarded as the European eastern border with Asia.

As the Christianity spreads at the end of the 4th century the Roman Empire gradually split.

As the Roman Empire declined and collapsed, many tribes crossed the Rhine and moved into Western Europe. By about AD 500 there were as many as twenty different tribes, including Franks, Saxons, Visigoths and Ostrogoths, controlling particular areas of Europe. These peoples gradually came to accept the power of the Church and throughout Christendom. Latin became the official language of church services, of governments, and of lawyers and scholars. Educated people travelling across the continent could easily understand each other.

Реферат опубликован: 2/10/2009