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Use of country=EU for European Union administrative offices

This was just added to the page: "country=EU in conjunction with office=government indicates an office belonging to the European Union." But the European Union isn't a country, no? Belgium and Greece are countries in EU. [Edit: I do support using country=EU + office=diplomatic for EU diplomatic missions to other countries.] --Jeisenbe (talk) 00:25, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

You are right, the European Union is not a country. Apparently nobody thought of the possibility of supranational governments when this key was designed, so we are just using what we have now even if taken literally it would be wrong. That is the problem with the key being a word in a natural language. On the other hand, calling the key "entity_that_is_represented_here" would have been a bit unwieldy. --Lyx (talk) 07:54, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Please note that according to wikipedia (, the code EU has been reserved to represent the European Union. Quote:
> Reserved on request of ISO 4217/MA for the European monetary unit Euro Extended for ISO 6166 "Securities – International securities identification numbering system (ISIN)" in March 1998 Extended for any application needing to represent the name European Union in August 1999
This covers very well our use case in OSM. --Rriemann (talk)
Thank you for the explanation. Still, it seems that most uses of country=* are used on features like embassies which represent a different country. But the EU isn't a different country, it's a different administrative level. Perhaps it would be clearer to use admin_level=1 + office=government + government=ministry/etc. to specify that a government office in a European country is from the EU, since this is the system commonly used to show if a government office is national (admin_level=2) or provincial (admin_level=4) or whatnot? The combination of admin_level=1 + office=government has been used over 8000 times ( ) but office=government + country=* has only been used 66 times - --Jeisenbe (talk) 08:45, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for your proposal. Though, it would still not express the link to the European Union. How could this be achieved? The benchmark use case for me is having a map of EU offices and representations (like embassies), which could be done, given the first porposal, with a query for office=* and country=EU. --Rriemann (talk) 08:52, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Currently the only supra-national entity with admin_level=1 is the European Union, so a search for admin_level=1 + office=government will work. This combo is already used 5 times, not by me. (In the future it might become necessary to search within the type=boundary relation representing the borders of the EU, if other admin_level=1 are created, but considering brexit and the current international political situation, this probably won't happen for many years) --Jeisenbe (talk) 10:40, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
The European Union has also offices outside of its own territory, for instance in New York ( Furthermore, other organisations may eventually have a similar tagging scheme. I have no precise idea, but I imagine that also the Schengen Area have some government-like offices somewhere. I understand that you support tagging with admin_level=1. I think it is appropriate. However, I do not understand why country=EU is not appropriate. Consider the European Union has a permanent representation/delegation to the US/UN. It is like an embassy, but not an embassy, because the EU is no country. I think tagging it as an embassy with country=EU still captures this case very well. Also if the term embassy must be interpreted more general therefore. The country tag describes the place beeing represented. The standard ISO 4217/MA mentioned in the description of country=* explicitly allows the value "EU", because in other areas (think of taxation and boarder control), other people also wondered how to best deal with the EU. And they decided to extend the standard and allow the EU to behave like a country within ISO 4217/MA. --Rriemann (talk) 19:52, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Re: "European Union has also offices outside of its own territory, for instance in New York" - these should be office=diplomatic rather than the more general office=government according to my understanding of the office=diplomatic proposal. I agree that country=EU is appropriate with office=diplomatic in this case, but I would use admin_level=1 with office=government of EU offices which are located within EU member states and which are not diplomatic missions. Does that seem reasonable? This way the EU is treated consistently: it's offices in it's territory are office=government and diplomatic missions to other entities are office=diplomatic, just like how it works for the USA or Russia or Canada for federal government offices and diplomatic missions. --Jeisenbe (talk) 00:58, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
So how would the overpass turbo query look like to find all offices of the European Union? (Let's assume there is at least one Arabic/other Union office in the world.) --Rriemann (talk) 21:12, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Right now this is not really needed since there is only one admin_level=1 entity, but you could limit the query to the European Union like this, in theory --Jeisenbe (talk) 06:56, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
{geocodeArea:European Union}}->.searchArea;

For comparison, man_made=flagpole is also tagged country=* in the case of flag:type=national. There are 44 flagpoles tagged man_made=flagpole country=EU. But virtually every supranational government entity has a flag, and not all would have an obvious ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code. For that matter, the vast majority of flag designs don't correspond to a country. So flag:name=* and flag:wikidata=* are better for identifying flags unambiguously and consistently.

Would a similar approach make sense for diplomatic offices too? subject=* (together with subject:wikidata=*) most commonly indicates the entity represented by the feature (despite the wiki page), so that tag or something like represents:wikidata=* could pair nicely with target:wikidata=* for diplomatic offices, and operator=* operator:wikidata=* is already an option for EU administrative offices.

 – Minh Nguyễn 💬 01:57, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

I have thought about this previously. This could be one solution, but would require most likely a new tag. Currently, the operator/operator:wikidata tag for EU buildings is the independent EU institution, e.g. EU commission or EU parliament, but not the EU itself. Thus, making querying complicated. I understand the issue and solution of your flag example, but the EU is luckily big enough to have made it into the ISO standard mentioned above, so as long as we have only few unions in the world, the country=* tag approach is sufficient. --Rriemann (talk) 21:12, 14 January 2020 (UTC)