Europe

Europe is, by convention, one of the world’s seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting the Black and Aegean Seas.

Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. Yet the borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the primarily physiographic term continent can incorporate cultural and political elements.

Europe is the world’s second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi) or 2% of the Earth’s surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Of Europe’s approximately 50 countries, Russia is by far the largest by both area and population, taking up 40% of the continent (although the country has territory in both Europe and Asia), while Vatican City is the smallest. Europe is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of 733 million or about 11% of the world’s population.

Economy

The economy of Europe comprises more than 731 million people in 48 different countries. Like other continents, the wealth of Europe’s states varies, although the poorest are well above the poorest states of other continents in terms of GDP and living standards. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen roughly in former Cold War divide, with some countries breaching the divide (Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Whilst most European states have GDP per capita higher than the world’s average and are very highly developed (Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland), some European economies, despite their position over the world’s average (except for Moldova and Turkey) in the Human Development Index (Armenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kazakhstan) are still catching up with European leading countries.

The European countries, with a long history of trade, a free market system, and a high level of development in the previous century are generally in the north and west of the continent. They tend to be wealthier and more stable than countries congregated in Europe’s south and east, even though the gap is closing, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, partly due to higher growth rates, but partly also due to the equalizing effect provided by the European Union.

Europe in 2010 had a nominal GDP of $19.920 trillion (30.2% of World GDP). Europe’s largest national economy is that of Germany, which ranks fourth globally in nominal GDP, and fifth in purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP; followed by France, ranking fifth globally in nominal GDP, followed by the United Kingdom, ranking sixth globally in nominal GDP, followed by Italy, which ranks seventh globally in nominal GDP, then by Russia ranking tenth globally in nominal GDP.

Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue (Fortune Global 500 in 2010), 184 have their headquarters in Europe. 161 are located in the EU, 15 in Switzerland, 6 in Russia, 1 in Turkey, 1 in Norway.

Organizations

In Europe there are many organizations, of which the largest and most famous is the European Union.
Here is full list of organizations in Europe, operating either on an intergovernmental level or within the European Union.

Intergovernmental

  • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
  • Council of Europe (CoE)
  • Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO)
  • GUAM Organization
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

European Union

  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)
  • European Union Customs Union (EUCU)
  • Eurozone
  • Schengen Area

Languages

Most of the languages of Europe belong to the Indo-European language family. This family is divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Celtic, Armenian and Greek. The Uralic languages, which include Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, also have a significant presence in Europe. The Turkic and Mongolic families also have several European members, while the North Caucasian and Kartvelian families are important in the southeastern extremity of geographical Europe. The Basque language of the western Pyrenees is an isolated language, unrelated to any other group, while Maltese is the only Semitic language in Europe with national language status.

Comments are closed