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European Union Assembly Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The European Union's parliament celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday with speeches, musical performances by the European Youth Orchestra, and a very large cake.

The cake needed to be large, because it was shared by the 785 EU deputies from 27 countries -a vast increase from the European Parliament's original 142 members back in 1958.

The group's influence has vastly increased since then as well. In a speech marking the anniversary in Strasbourg, President Hans-Gert Pottering noted that the parliament represents close to 500 million European Union citizens.

He also said the European Parliament has fought to secure more rights and has become more aware of its responsibility and of what it can do.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.