founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area and since 1999 a member of the euro area. Germany is a great power and member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, the OECD and the Council of Europe, and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011–2012 term.
Germany has the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. Germany is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. The country has developed a very high standard of living and features a comprehensive system of social security; the country has the world's oldest universal health care system. Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists and inventors, and is known for its cultural and political history