Background: As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro. In January 2011, Germany assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.
Location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Area land: 348,672 sq km
Area water: 8,350 sq km
Coastline: 2,389 km
Country name conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
Country name conventional short form: Germany
Country name former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
Population: 81,471,834 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.3% (male 5,569,390/female 5,282,245); 15-64 years: 66.1% (male 27,227,487/female 26,617,915); 65 years and over: 20.6% (male 7,217,163/female 9,557,634) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: -0.208% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 8.3 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 10.92 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.055 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female; total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 3.54 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 3.84 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 3.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.07 years; male: 77.82 years; female: 82.44 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.41 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 67,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: German(s); adjective: German;
Ethnic groups: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish);
Religions: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99%; male: 99%; female: 99% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.96 trillion (2010 est.); $2.857 trillion (2009 est.); $2.998 trillion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.306 trillion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.6% (2010 est.); -4.7% (2009 est.); 1% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $35,900 (2010 est.); $34,700 (2009 est.); $36,400 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0.8%; industry: 27.9%; services: 71.3% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 15.5% (2010 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.6%; highest 10%: 24% (2000);
Labor force: 43.35 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.4%; industry: 29.7%; services: 67.8% (2005);
Unemployment rate: 7.4% (2010 est.); 7.5% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $1.396 trillion; expenditures: $1.516 trillion (2010 est.);
Industries: among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles;
Industrial production growth rate: 9% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 593.4 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 547.3 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 61.7 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 41.67 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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(Independent, German-language daily), Mainz
(Science monthly), Stuttgart
(Conservative mass-circulation), Hamburg
(Business/financial magazine), Hamburg
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Germany has been acting as an international leader in reducing its carbon footprint, and India can learn a lot from the example Germany is setting.
Germany faces some tough decisions that will largely determine the fate of not only the Eurozone, but of a geopolitical landscape that stretches beyond the region.
In keeping its promise to shutter its nuclear power plants and move toward renewable energy, Germany is making huge investments in the clean technologies of the future.
With top energy producers in South-Eastern Europe vying for shares of the market, current pipeline competition will shape energy and political landscapes for the near future.