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France is the largest country in Western Europe and the third-largest in Europe as a whole. It possesses the second-largestexclusive economic zone in the world. France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military, and politicalinfluence in Europe and around the world. France has its main ideals expressed in the 18th-century Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. From the 17th to the early 20th century, France built the second-largest colonial empire of the time, ruling large portions of first North America and India and then Northwest and Central Africa; Madagascar; Indochina and southeast China; and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
France is a developed country, possessing the world’s fifth-largest and Europe’s second-largest economy by nominal GDP. It is also the world’s ninth-largest by GDP at purchasing power parity. France is the wealthiest nation in Europe – and the fourth-wealthiest in the world – in aggregate household wealth. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, high public education level, and one of the world’s longest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world’s “best overall health care” provider by the World Health Organization. It is the most-visited country in the world, receiving 79.5 million foreign tourists annually.
France has the world’s fifth-largest nominal military budget, as well as (in terms of personnel) the largest military in theEU, the third-largest deployable force in NATO, and the 26th-largest military in the world. France also possesses the third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world – with around 300 active warheads as of 25 May 2010 – and theworld’s second-largest diplomatic corps (behind the United States). France is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, and the Latin Union. It is also a founding and leading member state of the European Union and the largest EU state by area.In 2011, France was listed 20th on the Human Development Index and, in 2010, 24th on the Corruption Perceptions Index.