In your opinion, Which country should be kicked out of the EU?Posted by: atheist-eo
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK has an area of 243,610 square kilometres, making it the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe.The United Kingdom is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 64.1 million inhabitants. It is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. Its capital city is London, an important global city and financial centre with the fourth-largest urban area in Europe. The current monarch—since 6 February 1952—is Queen Elizabeth II.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic and known since ancient times as Hellas, is a country in Southern Europe. According to the 2011 census, Greece's population is around 11 million. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city.Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It also shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. The country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest, at 2,917 m.
France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary sovereign state comprising territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean; due to its shape, it is often referred to in French as l’Hexagone. France is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.By area, France is the 42nd largest country in the world but the largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the third-largest in Europe as a whole. With a population approaching 67 million, it is the 20th most populated country in the world and the second-most populated country in the EU. France is a semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the nation's largest city and the main cultural and commercial center. The current Constitution of France, adopted by referendum on 4 October 1958, establishes the country as secular and democratic, with its sovereignty derived from the people.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe consisting of 16 constituent states, which retain limited sovereignty. Its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.6 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is a major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields. After the United States, Germany is the second most popular migration destination in the world.Various Germanic tribes have occupied what is now northern Germany and southern Scandinavia since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented by the Romans before AD 100. During the Migration Period that coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and established kingdoms throughout much of Europe. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.7 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested.Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Goths/Geats and Swedes/Svear and contributing to the sea peoples known as the Vikings. Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Romania, formerly also spelled Roumania and Rumania, is a unitary semi-presidential republic located in southeastern-central Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula and on the western shore of the Black Sea. It borders Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria. It covers 238,391 square kilometres and has a temperate-continental climate. With its 20.1 million inhabitants, it is the seventh most populous member of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth largest city in the European Union.Romania emerged within the territories of former Roman Empire province Dacia as the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia formed in a 1859 personal union. It gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, and at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. At the end of World War II, territories which today roughly correspond to Moldova were occupied by the Soviet Union and Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. Following the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition towards democracy and a capitalist market economy.
Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a southern European island country comprising an archipelago of seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Sicily, 284 km east of Tunisia, and 333 km north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km², making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which is also, at 0.8 km², the smallest capital in the European Union. Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.Malta's location has given it great strategic importance as a naval base throughout history, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Moorish, Normans, Sicilians, Habsburg Spain, Knights of St. John, French and the British, have ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004; in 2008, it became part of the Eurozone.
Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a nation state on the Adriatic Sea, bordering Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Hungary to the northeast. It covers 20,273 square kilometers and has a population of 2.05 million. It is a parliamentary republic and a member of the European Union and NATO. Its capital and largest city is Ljubljana.The territory, located in southern Central Europe at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes, is mainly mountainous with mainly continental climate, with the exception of the Slovene Littoral that has the sub-Mediterranean climate and the north-western area that has the Alpine climate. Additionally, Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karstic underground watercourses. Over half of the territory is covered by forest. The human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a sovereign nation-state in Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula, and it is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. Aside from continental Portugal, the Portuguese Republic holds sovereignty over the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, which are autonomous regions of Portugal. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, whose name derives from Latin "Portus" and the Celtic place-name "Cale".The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continually fought over and settled since prehistoric times. The Celts and the Romans were followed by the Visigothic and the Suebi Germanic tribes, which were themselves later invaded by the Moors. These Muslim peoples were eventually expelled during the Christian Reconquista of the peninsula. By 1139, Portugal established itself as an independent kingdom from León.
Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. It comprises two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south. Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012 and has an area of 2,586 square kilometres, making it one of the smallest sovereign nations in Europe.As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by a grand duke and is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's second highest GDP per capita, according to the World Bank. Its central location has historically made it of great strategic importance to numerous powers, dating back to its founding as a Roman fortress, its hosting of a vital Frankish castle during the Early Middle Ages, and its role as a bastion for the Spanish Road between 16th and 17th centuries.
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres, making it the 71st largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the sixth most populous member of the European Union, and the most populous post-communist member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions.Many historians trace the establishment of a Polish state to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. Along with France and Morocco, it is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Spain's 1,214 km border with Portugal is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union.Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, three exclaves in North Africa, Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera that border Morocco, and the islands and peñones of Alborán, Chafarinas, Alhucemas, and Perejil. With an area of 505,992 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fifth largest country in Europe.
Slovakia or is a sovereign state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometres. Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. The largest city is the capital, Bratislava, and the second largest is Košice. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD and the WTO, among others. The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family.The Slavs—ancestors of the Slovaks—arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries during the migration period. In the 7th century, Slavs inhabiting this territory played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire, historically the first Slavic state which had its center in Western Slovakia. During the 9th century, Slavic ancestors of the Slovaks established another political entity, the Principality of Nitra, which later together with the Principality of Moravia, formed Great Moravia.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2013, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, and Latvian are the only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.For centuries, the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea was inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.
The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a small, densely populated country, lying mainly in Western Europe, but also including three islands in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. The three largest and most important cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of government. The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe – as large as the next three largest combined.The Netherlands' name literally means "Low Country", inspired by its low and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and from lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the country's current land mass.With a population density of 406 people per km² – 497 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is a very densely populated country for its size.
Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The country's capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and the Schengen Area. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.Following centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád in the Honfoglalás. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 CE, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation, Hungary came under Habsburg rule, and later formed a significant part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire.
Republic of Ireland
Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located in the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a quarter of the country's 4.6 million inhabitants. The state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George's Channel to the south east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic with an elected president serving as head of state. The head of government, the Taoiseach, is nominated by the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.Following the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty, Ireland gained effective independence from the United Kingdom as the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland exercised an option called the Ulster Month to remain in the United Kingdom.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, and is roughly delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two biggest Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to many other smaller islands.The sovereign states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. Italy covers an area of 301,338 km² and has a largely temperate climate. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the 5th most populous country in Europe. Among the world's most developed countries, Italy has the 4th-largest economy in the European Union, 3rd in the Eurozone and 8th in the world by GDP.After the development of the Nuragic, Etruscan and Magna Graecia cultures among others, Italy's capital and largest comune, Rome, has for centuries been the leading political and religious centre of Western civilisation, serving as the capital of both the Roman Empire and Christianity.
Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and by a maritime border to the west with Sweden. Latvia has 1,997,500 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km² (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic established in 1918. The capital city is Riga, the European Capital of Culture 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 118 administrative divisions of which 109 are municipalities and 9 are cities. There are five planning regions: Kurzeme, Latgale, Riga, Vidzeme and Zemgale.Latvians and Livs are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian is an Indo-European language; it and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. Latvia and Estonia share a long common history.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of roughly 8.5 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres and has alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres, and its highest point is 3,798 metres. The majority of the population speak local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. From the time of the Reformation, many Northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion.
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal monarchy in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters as well as those of several other major international organisations such as NATO. Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people.Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59% of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population and Brussels inhabitants, which comprises 41% of all Belgians. Additionally, there is a small group of German-speakers who are officially recognized.Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of government.
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 14th-largest country.Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period. Its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians and later the Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 CE, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State. The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a single-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc.
Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with the twenty counties. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia's Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country's population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Peter Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir. Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne.
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east of Greece.The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. At a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878.
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the south-east and Poland to the north-east. Prague is the capital and largest city, with 1.3 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, and Czech Silesia.The Czech state, formerly known as Bohemia, was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia, at that time under the dominance of the powerful Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power was transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslids. In 1004, the duchy was formally recognized as a part of the Holy Roman Empire, rising to the status of Kingdom of Bohemia in 1212. During the rule of the Přemyslids and their successors, the Luxembourgs, Bohemia expanded in size until reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. During the Protestant reform-driven Hussite wars in the 15th century, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five crusades from the Catholic Church.
Denmark, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe, located southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark comprises Denmark and two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper has an area of 43,094 square kilometres, and a population of around 5.64 million inhabitants. The country consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and the Danish archipelago of 443 named islands, of which around 70 are inhabited. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate.A Scandinavian nation, Denmark shares strong cultural and historic ties with its overseas neighbours Sweden and Norway. The national language, Danish, is very closely related and mutually intelligible with Swedish and Norwegian.The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Danish rule over the personal Kalmar Union, established in 1397, ended with Swedish secession in 1523. The following year, Denmark entered into a union with Norway until its dissolution in 1814.
Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The territory of Estonia covers 45,227 km², and is influenced by a humid continental climate.Estonia is a democratic parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties, with its capital and largest city being Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone,the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Schengen Area. The Estonians are a Finnic people, and the official language, Estonian, is a Finno-Ugric language closely related to Finnish, and distantly to Hungarian and to the Sami languages.A developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, Estonia is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It ranks very high in the Human Development Index, and performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, education, and press freedom.
Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east; Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland.In 2013, Finland's population was around 5.5 million, with the majority living in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 336 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. About one million people live in the Helsinki area which produces a third of the country's GDP. Other large cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio.From the late 12th century until 1809, Finland was part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. It then became the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous duchy within the Russian Empire, until the Russian Revolution which prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence.