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Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the European Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999, but the latter is suspended due to bickering over the peace process.

Western Europe, islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France

Geographic coordinates: 54 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references: Europe

  • total: 244,820 sq km
  • water: 3,230 sq km
  • note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands

    land: 241,590 sq km

    Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

    Land boundaries:
  • total: 360 km
  • border countries: Ireland 360 km

    Coastline: 12,429 km

    Maritime claims:
  • territorial sea: 12 nm
  • exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
  • continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries

    Climate: temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast

    Terrain: mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

    Elevation extremes:
  • lowest point: The Fens -4 m
  • highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m

    Natural resources: coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land

    Land use:
  • arable land: 23.46%
  • permanent crops: 0.21%
  • other: 76.33% (2001)

    Irrigated land: 1,080 sq km (1998 est.)

    Natural hazards: winter windstorms; floods

    Environment - current issues: continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move towards a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government aims to reduce the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and to recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015; between 1998-99 and 1999-2000, household recycling increased from 8.8% to 10.3%

    Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants

    Geography - note: lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and now linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

    60,270,708 (July 2004 est.)

    Age structure:
  • 0-14 years: 18% (male 5,560,489; female 5,293,871)
  • 15-64 years: 66.3% (male 20,193,876; female 19,736,516)
  • 65 years and over: 15.7% (male 4,027,721; female 5,458,235) (2004 est.)

    Median age:
  • total: 38.7 years
  • male: 37.6 years
  • female: 39.8 years (2004 est.)

    Population growth rate: 0.29% (2004 est.)

    Birth rate: 10.88 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)

    Death rate: 10.19 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)

    Net migration rate: 2.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

    Sex ratio:
  • at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
  • total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate: total: 5.22 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 4.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
  • male: 5.83 deaths/1,000 live births

    Life expectancy at birth:
  • total population: 78.27 years
  • male: 75.84 years
  • female: 80.83 years (2004 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 1.66 children born/woman (2004 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 34,000 (2001 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - deaths: 460 (2001 est.)

  • noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)
  • adjective: British

    Ethnic groups: English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%

    Religions:Anglican and Roman Catholic 40 million, Muslim 1.5 million, Presbyterian 800,000, Methodist 760,000, Sikh 500,000, Hindu 500,000, Jewish 350,000
    Languages: English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
  • definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
  • total population: 99% (2000 est.)
  • male: NA
  • female: NA

    Country name:
  • conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales
  • conventional short form: United Kingdom
  • abbreviation: UK

    Government type: constitutional monarchy

    Capital: London

    Administrative divisions: England - 47 boroughs, 36 counties, 29 London boroughs, 12 cities and boroughs, 10 districts, 12 cities, 3 royal boroughs
  • boroughs: Barnsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Bury, Calderdale, Darlington, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Halton, Hartlepool, Kirklees, Knowsley, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, North Tyneside, Oldham, Poole, Reading, Redcar and Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Sandwell, Sefton, Slough, Solihull, Southend-on-Sea, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Swindon, Tameside, Thurrock, Torbay, Trafford, Walsall, Warrington, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton
  • counties: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire
  • districts: Bath and North East Somerset, East Riding of Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Rutland, South Gloucestershire, Telford and Wrekin, West Berkshire, Wokingham
  • cities: City of Bristol, Derby, City of Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, City of London, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, York
  • cities and boroughs: Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Salford, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wakefield, Westminster
  • London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth
  • royal boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead
  • districts: Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane
  • cities and counties: Cardiff, Swansea
  • counties: Isle of Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys, The Vale of Glamorgan
  • county boroughs: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Conwy, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, Wrexham
  • Wales - 11 county boroughs, 9 counties, 2 cities and counties
  • Scotland - 32 council areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, The Scottish Borders, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), West Lothian;
  • counties: County Antrim, County Armagh, County Down, County Fermanagh, County Londonderry, County Tyrone
  • cities: Belfast, Derry
  • Northern Ireland - 24 districts, 2 cities, 6 counties
    Dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
    Independence: England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales, begun in 1284 with the Statute of Rhuddlan, was not formalized until 1536 with an Act of Union; in another Act of Union in 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanently join as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927

    National holiday: the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday

    Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

    Legal system: common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; has judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
  • chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)
  • elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
    head of government: Prime Minister Anthony (Tony) BLAIR (since 2 May 1997)
  • cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
    Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament comprised of House of Lords (consists of approximately 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy) and House of Commons (659 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)
  • note: in 1998 elections were held for a Northern Ireland Assembly (because of unresolved disputes among existing parties, the transfer of power from London to Northern Ireland came only at the end of 1999 and has been suspended four times the latest occurring in October 2002); in 1999 there were elections for a new Scottish Parliament and a new Welsh Assembly
  • elections: House of Lords - no elections (note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; pending further reforms, elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons - last held 7 June 2001 (next to be held by NA May 2006)
  • election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Labor 42.1%, Conservative and Unionist 32.7%, Liberal Democrats 18.8%, other 6.4%; seats by party - Labor 412, Conservative and Unionist 166, Liberal Democrat 52, other 29; note - seating as of 12 October 2004: Labor 407, Conservative 163, Liberal Democrats 55, other 34

    Judicial branch: House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (comprising the Courts of Appeal, the High Courts of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Scotland's Court of Session and Court of the Justiciary

    Political parties and leaders: Conservative and Unionist Party [Michael HOWARD]; Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Rev. Ian PAISLEY]; Labor Party [Anthony (Tony) BLAIR]; Liberal Democrats [Charles KENNEDY]; Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Dafydd IWAN]; Scottish National Party or SNP [Alex SALMOND]; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Gerry ADAMS]; Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Mark DURKAN]; Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [David TRIMBLE]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers' Union; Trades Union Congress

    International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMOVIC, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
  • chief of mission: Ambassador David G. MANNING
  • chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
  • FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870
  • telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500
  • consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
  • consulate(s): Dallas, Denver, Miami, and Seattle

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
  • chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires David T. JOHNSON
  • embassy: 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE
  • mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040
  • telephone: [44] (0) 20 7499-9000
  • FAX: [44] (0) 20 7629-9124
  • consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh

    Flag description: blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, as well as British overseas territories

    Economy - overview:
    The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quartet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. Over the past two decades the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only 1% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. GDP growth slipped in 2001-03 as the global downturn, the high value of the pound, and the bursting of the "new economy" bubble hurt manufacturing and exports. Still, the economy is one of the strongest in Europe; inflation, interest rates, and unemployment remain low. The relatively good economic performance has complicated the BLAIR government's efforts to make a case for Britain to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Critics point out, however, that the economy is doing well outside of EMU, and they point to public opinion polls that continue to show a majority of Britons opposed to the euro. Meantime, the government has been speeding up the improvement of education, transport, and health services, at a cost in higher taxes. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, together with the subsequent problems of restoring the economy and the polity, involve a heavy commitment of British military forces.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.666 trillion (2003 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 2.2% (2003 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $27,700 (2003 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
  • agriculture: 0.9%
  • industry: 26.5%
  • services: 72.6% (2003)

    Investment (gross fixed): 16.2% of GDP (2003)

    Population below poverty line: 17% (2002 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
  • lowest 10%: 2.3%
  • highest 10%: 27.7% (1995)

    Distribution of family income - Gini index: 36.8 (1995)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.4% (2003 est.)

    Labor force: 29.6 million (2003)

    Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 1%, industry 25%, services 74% (1999)

    Unemployment rate: 5% (2003 est.)

  • revenues: $688.9 billion
  • expenditures: $746.1 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003)

    Public debt: 51% of GDP (2003)

    Agriculture - products: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish

    Industries: machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, and other consumer goods

    Industrial production growth rate: -0.7% (2003 est.)

    Electricity - production: 360.9 billion kWh (2001)

    Electricity - consumption: 346.1 billion kWh (2001)

    Electricity - exports: 264 million kWh (2001)

    Electricity - imports: 10.66 billion kWh (2001)

    Oil - production: 2.541 million bbl/day (2001 est.)

    Oil - consumption: 1.71 million bbl/day (2001 est.)

    Oil - exports: 2.205 million bbl/day (2001)

    Oil - imports: 1.418 million bbl/day (2001)

    Oil - proved reserves: 4.741 billion bbl (1 January 2002)

    Natural gas - production: 105.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)

    Natural gas - consumption: 92.85 billion cu m (2001 est.)

    Natural gas - exports: 15.75 billion cu m (2001 est.)

    Natural gas - imports: 2.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)

    Natural gas - proved reserves: 714.9 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

    Current account balance: $-7.556 billion (2003)

    Exports: $304.5 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)

    Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco

    Exports - partners: US 15.7%, Germany 10.5%, France 9.5%, Netherlands 6.9%, Ireland 6.5%, Belgium 5.6%, Spain 4.4%, Italy 4.4% (2003)

    Imports: $363.6 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)

    Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs

    Imports - partners: Germany 13.5%, US 10.2%, France 8.1%, Netherlands 6.3%, Belgium 4.9%, Italy 4.7% (2003)
    Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $46.05 billion (2003)

    Debt - external: NA (2002 est.)

    Economic aid - donor: ODA, $4.5 billion (2000)

    Currency: British pound (GBP)

    Currency code: GBP

    Exchange rates: British pounds per US dollar - 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001), 0.6609 (2000), 0.6181 (1999)

    Fiscal year: 6 April - 5 April

    Telephones - main lines in use:
    34.898 million (2002)

    Telephones - mobile cellular: 49.677 million (2002)

    Telephone system:
  • general assessment: technologically advanced domestic and international system
  • domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems
  • international: country code - 44; 40 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 219, FM 431, shortwave 3 (1998)

    Radios: 84.5 million (1997)

    Television broadcast stations: 228 (plus 3,523 repeaters) (1995)

    Televisions: 30.5 million (1997)

    Internet country code: .uk

    Internet hosts: 3,398,708 (2004)

    Internet Service Providers (ISPs): more than 400 (2000)

    Internet users: 25 million (2002)

  • total: 17,186 km
  • standard gauge: 16,726 km 1.435-m gauge (5,243 km electrified)
  • broad gauge: 460 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland) (2003)

  • total: 371,913 km
  • paved: 371,913 km (including 3,358 km of expressways)
  • unpaved: 0 km (1999)

    Waterways: 3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2004)

    Pipelines: condensate 370 km; gas 21,446 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 6,420 km; oil/gas/water 63 km; refined products 4,474 km (2004)

    Ports and harbors: Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dover, Falmouth, Felixstowe, Glasgow, Grangemouth, Hull, Leith, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Peterhead, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Ramsgate, Scapa Flow, Southampton, Sullom Voe, Teesport, Tyne

    Merchant marine:
  • total: 384 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 9,181,284 GRT/9,566,275 DWT
  • by type: bulk 20, cargo 50, chemical tanker 28, combination ore/oil 1, container 130, liquefied gas 23, livestock carrier 1, multi-functional large load carrier 1, passenger 20, petroleum tanker 45, refrigerated cargo 18, roll on/roll off 34, short-sea/passenger 11, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
  • foreign-owned: Australia 2, Croatia 4, Cyprus 1, Denmark 42, Finland 1, Germany 52, Greece 36, Hong Kong 16, Italy 3, Japan 1, Monaco 13, Nigeria 1, Norway 32, South Africa 2, Sweden 13, Taiwan 7, United
  • registered in other countries: 522 (2003 est.)

    Airports: 471 (2003 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
  • total: 334
  • over 3,047 m: 8
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 33
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 86
  • under 914 m: 57 (2004 est.)
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 150

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
  • total: 137
  • 2438 to 3047 m: 1
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
  • under 914 m: 112 (2004 est.)
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 23

    Heliports: 11 (2003 est.)

    Military branches:
    Army, Royal Navy (including Royal Marines), Royal Air Force

    Military manpower - military age and obligation: 16 years of age for voluntary military service (January 2004)

    Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 14,943,016 (2004 est.)

    Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 12,393,785 (2004 est.)

    Military expenditures - dollar figure: $42,836.5 million (2003)

    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.4% (2003)

    Transnational Issues
    Disputes - international:
    since Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum in 2003 against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement, talks between the UK and Spain over the fate of the 300-year old UK colony have stalled; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants since their eviction in 1965; most reside chiefly in Mauritius, and in 2001 were granted UK citizenship and the right to repatriation; UK continues to reject sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark and Iceland remains dormant; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; disputes with Iceland, Denmark, and Ireland over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 nm

    Illicit drugs: producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center
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