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Western Europe
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Western Europe

Western Europe is distinguished from Central and Eastern Europe by geography and by differences of history and culture. However, these boundaries are subject to considerable overlap and fluctuation, which makes differentiation difficult. The concept of Western Europe is also associated with liberal democracy; its countries are generally deemed to be well within the cultural hegemony of the United States of America.

Up to World War II, "Western Europe" was thought to comprise France, the British Isles and Benelux. These countries represented the democratic victors of both world wars, and their ideological approach was spread further east as a natural consequence.

During the Cold War, when Western Europe designated the democratic countries that were part of NATO and under American influence, the term was often used as a counterbalance to Eastern Europe that was under Soviet influence. Although Finland, Sweden and Switzerland were not formally NATO-allied, with their market economy and democratic institutions dated centuries back, they clearly belonged to the group. The borders between Western and Eastern countries were securely defended, especially on the Eastern side. This border were also called the Iron Curtain.

Until the enlargement of the European Union of 2004, Western Europe was often associated with that Union (possibly with the exception of Greece). Today, the connection to NATO or to the European Union may by many people be perceived as historical, who rather define Western Europe as including the following regions:

It ought to be borne in mind that this kind of concepts, for Europe's division, are overlapping. The Nordic countries being counted to Western Europe does not at all hinder their being considered part of Northern Europe at the same time. Similarly, the Alpine countries may be considered part of Central Europe, and Italy, the Iberian countries, Monaco, Greece and southern France part of Southern Europe as well, as defined by their proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.

Table of contents
1 Further readings
2 See also
3 External link

Further readings

See also

External link

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