Last edited 21 May 2021



Europe is one of the world’s continents, located in the Northern Hemisphere and (mostly) in the Eastern Hemisphere. As of 2016, Europe had a total population of approximately 741 million (roughly 11% of the global population).

Europe is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Mediterranean Sea. To the east it borders Asia, making up a landmass known as Eurasia.

In terms of politics, Europe is divided into roughly fifty sovereign states and territories:

  • Albania.
  • Andorra.
  • Armenia.
  • Austria.
  • Azerbaijan.
  • Belarus.
  • Belgium.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Bulgaria.
  • Croatia.
  • Cyprus.
  • Czech Republic.
  • Denmark.
  • Estonia.
  • Finland.
  • France.
  • Georgia.
  • Germany.
  • Greece.
  • Hungary.
  • Iceland.
  • Ireland.
  • Italy.
  • Kazakhstan.
  • Latvia.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Lithuania.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Macedonia.
  • Malta.
  • Moldova.
  • Monaco.
  • Montenegro.
  • Netherlands.
  • Norway.
  • Poland.
  • Portugal.
  • Romania.
  • Russia.
  • San Marino.
  • Serbia.
  • Slovakia.
  • Slovenia.
  • Spain.
  • Sweden.
  • Switzerland.
  • Turkey.
  • Ukraine.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Vatican City.

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 with the aim of providing unity to the continent on common goals. All states are included except Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Vatican City.

The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the member states of the EU and the European Free Trade Association countries; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The European Union (EU) is a partnership between 28 European countries which aims to create ‘an ever closer union between the peoples of Europe’. With the original intention of improving economic stability, the EU has subsequently expanded its role to play a significant part in many policy areas. The currency of the 19 member states that make up the Eurozone is the Euro. The Schengen Area is an arrangement among most member states that abolishes border and immigration controls with the aim of facilitating free movement of people and goods.

The EU is composed of Institutions that are responsible for forming laws, managing projects, distributing funds and determining the direction of development. These are the European Commission, Council of the European Union, European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

For more information, see European Union.

Among the smaller European organisations and unions are:

  • Nordic Council: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Aland Islands.
  • The Benelux: Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg.
  • The Baltic Assembly: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
  • The Visegrád Group: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia.
  • United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

The Construction Products Regulation 2011 (CPR) is a European Union (EU) regulation harmonising performance information on construction products across the EU. It is made most visible by the mandatory CE marking of regulated products.

The European Union Procurement Directives establish public procurement rules throughout the European Union and apply to any public purchases above the defined thresholds. The purpose of the directives is to open up public procurement within the European Union and to ensure the free movement of supplies, services and works.

For more information, see OJEU procurement procedures.

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