Country profile - Distinguishing factors (Germany)
Germany is a country in central Europe. As a federal state, the Federal Republic of Germany today consists of 16 German Länder (states). According to its constitution, the Federal Republic is a social and federal constitutional democracy. Through the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and by its signature of the Treaties of Rome in 1957, the Federal Republic of Germany became one of the founding members of the European Communities.
The partition of Germany came to an end on 3 October 1990 with the accession of the Länder of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), and Berlin became the capital of the reunited Germany. The seat of parliament was relocated from Bonn to Berlin in 1999 in accordance with the 1991 decision of the German Bundestag (Lower House of the German Parliament). The functions of government were divided between Berlin and Bonn. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) still has its principal seat in Bonn. A quarter of its staff, including the Policy Unit and the European Division, are based in the second seat in Berlin.