Western Europe is the region comprising the westerly countries of Europe. While the term has a geographic context, another main definition developed during the Cold War (approx. 1945-1991) to describe the countries associated with the Western European Union (1954–2011; now part of the European Union (EU)), a defensive alliance drafted in 1948 among non-communist European nations during the Cold War, as opposed to the countries of the Eastern Bloc (or Warsaw Pact). Countries culturally and geographically associated with other European regions that steered clear of Soviet influence during the Cold War are usually included, while western members of the former Eastern Bloc (with the exception of Eastern Germany) are excluded.
Countries described as Western European are invariably high-income developed countries, characterized by democratic political systems, mixed economies combining the free market with aspects of the welfare state, and most are members of NATO and the EU.
The United Nations (UN) Statistics Division considers Western Europe to consist of just nine countries, although the United Nations Regional Groups include European countries from the UN-designated Northern and Southern Europe in its Western European and Others Group.
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Famous quotes containing the words europe and/or western:
“No human being can tell what the Russians are going to do next, and I think the Japanese actions will depend much on what Russia decides to do both in Europe and the Far Eastespecially in Europe.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945)
“Practically everyone now bemoans Western mans sense of alienation, lack of community, and inability to find ways of organizing society for human ends. We have reached the end of the road that is built on the set of traits held out for male identityadvance at any cost, pay any price, drive out all competitors, and kill them if necessary.”
—Jean Baker Miller (20th century)