Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and United Kingdom are the official countries that form the Western Europe according to CIA classification. However, various organizations and groups define Western Europe differently, guided by different ideologies. These include history, economics, politics and geography. There are even geopolitical and cultural definitions of the term.
The confusion exists because Western Europe is not an official zone like you would regard EU or EFTA, which have specific memberships.
Historically, post-war Europe was divided into two major parts: the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The Western Bloc, which was known as the Western Europe and comprising of the non-Communist countries, was allied with the NATO against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It contained the seven countries listed above.
The previous definition adopted by the CIA includes five of the seven countries. It had Belgium, Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. However, currently, three countries, namely Andorra, Portugal and Spain, belong to the Southwestern Europe category according to the CIA. Therefore, some people would see it as a group of ten countries.
The definition by CIA excludes Turkey, which is partially in Europe. Eastern Europe was under communist control that time.
However, a more modern definition of Western Europe has Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and United Kingdom, which puts into consideration other factors such as economics and location. For instance, Monaco is located in the region geographically as is Luxembourg.
Other people and organizations define Western Europe geographically, with some considering only France, UK, Spain and Portugal best fit for this description.
Other people and organizations add in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Andorra, San Marino, Vatican City Lichtenstein and Monaco into the list of the countries that are geographically positioned in west of Europe. Others also add Iceland and Finland into the list, making a total of 20 countries.
The economics of the region and economics of the countries in or around this region also shape the definition. In fact, some people consider how rich a country is or how developed it is when categorizing members into this list, and the countries that would certainly fit well according to this categorization are Germany, UK , Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The CIA Definition
The CIA recognizes seven countries as belonging to the Western Europe and these include the Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and United Kingdom
Various groups and organization lists different countries as belonging to Western Europe. CIA lists Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and United Kingdom as the only countries belonging to the Western Europe. The confusion is because the term is not official like the EU.
What Countries Are Considered Western Europe?