Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes

Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes (CIIE)


  • Accession to the EU: 1957 founder member
  • Accession to the Council of Europe: 1950
  • Surface area: 357 020 km2
  • Population: 80.78 million inhabitants (2014)
  • Capital city: Berlin (3,3 million inhabitants)
  • Official languages: German
  • Listen to German
  • Main religions: Protestant, Catholic
  • Currency: Euro
  • Political system: Republic
  • Head of state: Frank-Walter Steinmeier president since February, 12th 2017
  • Head of government: Angela Merkel (since 2005, chancellor, CDU)
  • International code: +49
  • National holiday: 3 October
  • The  German deputies of the European Parliament

Created in 962 by Otto 1st (Otto the Great), the German Holy Roman Empire was ruled for centuries by the powerful Habsburg dynasty. During the 16th century, the posting of Luther’s thesis against the papacy led to the start of the protestant Reformation.

Gate of Brandebourg, Berlin © Berlin-Tourist-information.de

  • 1815 The Congress of Vienna creates the German Confederation, comprising 39 sovereign States led by Austria.
  • 1870 Franco-German war: Germany conquers Alsace and Lorraine.
  • 1871 Bismarck declares the creation of the Second Reich, which marks the unification of Germany.
  • 1918 Germany is defeated in the First World War and signs the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 1919 Start of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).
  • 1933 President Hindenburg appoints Adolf Hitler to the position of Chancellor: creation of the Third Reich.
  • 1939 The German army invades Poland. Start of the Second World War. The launch of the Holocaust sees the slaughter of millions of Jews.
  • 1945 Germany surrenders and the Second World War is over. The Allies divide Germany and Berlin into four zones of occupation.
  • 1949 Creation of the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) and of the GDR (German Democratic Republic).
  • 1955 The FRG joins NATO.
  • 1957 The FRG is a founder member of the European Economic Community (EEC).
  • 1961 Construction of the Berlin wall.
  • 1973 Both German States join the United Nations.
  • 1989 The fall of the Berlin wall sees West and East Berliners once again reunited.
  • 1990 The political reunification of Germany is officially carried out. The “Länder” of the former East Germany are incorporated into the European Union.
  • 1990 The city of Berlin is chosen as the country’s Capital.
  • 1998 The Social Democrats (SPD) win the elections. Gerhard Schröder is elected as Chancellor. He is re-elected in 2002.
  • 2005 The Christ Democrats won the elections; Angela Merkel became Chancellor of a great coalition between Christ Democrats and Social Democrats.
  • 2019 Ursula von der Leyen was appointed President of the European Commission.

Founded in 1237, Berlin rapidly became a major European town. Berlin became a royal city when Frederick III came to the throne in 1701 and was crowned as Frederick I, King of Prussia. During the reign of Frederick II (1740-1786), Berlin underwent various architectural changes which were continued in the following years with the construction of classical buildings designed by major architects such as Knobelsdorff or Schinkel. During the 1920s, Berlin became a leading cultural centre with the showing of many famous films and plays which marked its “golden years”. Berlin is also a city brimming with history. The national socialist dictatorship, the Second World War, the building of the Berlin wall in 1961 and its fall in 1989 have made Berlin a leading historical centre. Known worldwide for its film festival, for its many monuments including the luxurious Charlottenburg castle, the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag building, and for its museums including the Berlin Museum or the Jewish Museum, Berlin is an exciting city which never stands still.
Bundestag, Berlin © DZT

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the bank in charge of managing the monetary policy of the countries within the Euro zone. Its headquarters is located at Frankfurt-am-Main. Founded in 1998 to introduce and manage this new currency, it plays a key role in the European Union’s economic and monetary policy. Given the task of maintaining price stability within the Euro zone, it closely monitors annual inflation levels and controls the money supply (setting interest rates for the entire Euro zone). The ECB’s organizational structure is based around three decision making bodies: the Governing Council, which is the decision making body that actually decides on monetary policy, the Executive Board which implements this policy and sends the instructions to the national central banks and the General Council which contributes to the bank’s consultative, decision making and coordinating activities, and prepares the future enlargement of the Euro zone. Since November 1st 2019, Christine Lagarde was appointed President of the European Central Bank for a non-renewable term of 8 years.

The symbole of the Euro in front of the Eurotower in Frankfurt © BC

Ode to Joy
The Ode to Joy, from the ninth symphony by the German composer Beethoven, was chosen in 1985 as the European anthem by the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the European Union. Thanks to the universal language of music, this anthem without words brings to mind the ideals of liberty, peace and solidarity represented by Europe.
German Movies

The second long film from the German filmmaker Wolfgang Becker “Goodbye Lenin”, discovered during the Berlin film festival in 2003, won the “Blue Angel” prize awarded to the best European film (as well as the César for the best foreign film). This poignant story of an East Berlin woman who wakes up from a coma after the fall of the Berlin wall, has fascinated more than 9 million European viewers including 6 million in Germany.

The Oscar of the best foreign film 2006 was handed over to another German film: “The Lives of Others” (original title: “Das Leben der Anderen”). A film about the spyling in times of Stasi in the GDR. A film about the espionage in times of Stasi in the GDR. The storyline is about the inspection of an artist couple by an agent after a request of the Ministry of Culture. This alarming fiction shows us the surveillance methods and the intensive spying in former Eastern Germany. 

Have a look at the poster of the film “The Lives of Others

The Beetle
The famous “Beetle” from the German carmaker Volkswagen holds the world record for car sales. Produced for the first time in 1936, this “people’s car” has sold more than 20 million vehicles around the world.


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