Europe: Navigating Identity through Politics, Culture, and Economy

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We can understand the term Europe from many different perspectives. There are four main definitions of Europe: Geographic, Political, Cultural and Socio-Economic. In my opinion, all of these definitions partially relate to each other. Despite that, the political definition is the most useful because it connects almost all European countries in all the areas.

The political definition is useful because most of the European countries are part of the EU. However, there are a few countries which either do not want to be a part of the EU, for example Switzerland , Norway, Monaco and Iceland, or which are trying to be a part of EU, such as Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro. Currently there are 28 members of the EU, Great Britain is now leaving this organization. The goal of the EU is securing peace, affluence and fairness for a half billion inhabitants. Political, economical, safety, cultural, educational, research and ecological areas are dealt together among all countries. The advantages for inhabitants of the EU are traveling and trading without border restriction, ability of studying and working in foreign countries, implementation of single currency – Euro (most of the countries), better environment protection and increase in the standard of living in poor countries. EU is strong in economy and management and is introducing the biggest world marketplace and is the second biggest world exporter. Today it is dealing with safety because of big migration, how to prevent from illegal migration and prevent terrorism and Islamism. There are also discussions about advantages and disadvantages of grants and about restrictive and complicated legislation. We meet with these situations in media and public press every day.

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The cultural perspective includes the most important religion in Europe, which is Christianity, even though in some countries there is a strong heritage of different religions, for example Muslim and Judaism. There are many nationalities living in Europe such as Slavs, Romans, Germans and Ugrofinns. Almost every country uses a different language (up to 218 languages).

The geographic definition shows that Europe stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, although it does not include some countries such as Iceland, Turkey or Russia. There are several discussions about where Greenland belongs. It belongs to Denmark, but geographicaly is closer to North Amerika.

The socio-economical definiton says that Europe is a group of developed countries which allow state and private ownership and social redistribution. From my point of view, this definiton is very problematic. Individual countries do not cooperate among themselves that much and many of them cooperate with countries such as USA or China instead. Another argument is that some European countries have a developed economy and we can describe them as rich, while some others have bad economies, for expample Greece or Albania. Finally, the social redistrubition is also diverse: Finland, Sweden or Denmark have highly developed social policies and provide higher education and other services free of charge, while in Britain, it is almost impossible to study for free.

Overall, the political definition is the best in my opinion and is the most useful of the mentioned four definitions because it describes Europe as a whole. However, other definitions are not as good as the Political. 

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