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With a landmass that stretches from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south, Germany has the largest population of any EU country. Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France and Luxembourg to the southwest, and Belgium and the Netherlands to the northwest.
The most important sectors of Germany’s economy in 2012 were industry (25.8 %), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (18.4 %) and wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities (14.6 %).
Germany’s main export partners are France, the US and the UK while its main import partners are the Netherlands, France and China.
Geographical size: 357 137.2 km2
Population: 80 327 900 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 15.9 % (2012)
GDP: € 2.666 trillion (2012)
Official EU language(s): German
Political system: federal parliamentary republic
EU member country since: 25 March 1957
Seats in the European Parliament: 96
Currency: Eurozone member since 1 January 1999
Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 14 June 1985
Presidency of the Council: Germany has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 11 times between 1958 and 2007.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the German government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of German presidencies:
Jul-Dec 1958 | Jul-Dec 1961 | Jul-Dec 1964 | Jul-Dec 1967 | Jul-Dec 1970 | Jan-Jun 1974 | Jul-Dec 1978 | Jan-Jun 1983 | Jan-Jun 1988 | Jul-Dec 1994 | Jan-Jun 2007
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Germany has 24 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Germany has 24 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Germany also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Germany's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Germany's finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Germany helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Germany benefits from EU funding.