Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Home > Geography > Places > Geography of Europe


Geography of Europe


Links within Europe

Political links

In 2011, 27 countries of Europe were member states of the European Union [European Union : A group of European Countries initially formed to remove trade barriers and reduce potential for war within Europe. (EU).

All member states of the EU aim to work closely with other members and there are some laws that apply in an EU country because it is a member. The European Council is made up of the heads of states of EU countries, and the European Parliament consists of 754 MEPs (Members of European Parliament) from EU countries. All member states are represented in these groups. The UK has over 70 seats in the European Parliament.

The EU also sets goals and targets for looking after the environment. One initiative is a policy developed in 2008 to combat climate change. It aims to:

  • cut greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2020

  • cut energy use by 20 per cent by 2020

  • make sure that 20 per cent of energy use comes from renewable [renewable: Something that is able to be used over and over again without running out, eg solar power. sources

Economic links

The Euro is a form of currency. Many EU members use it because it helps to make trade [trade : The exchange of goods for money between producers and consumers. easier between member states. The group of countries that use the Euro are called the ‘Eurozone’.

Outside of the EU, the state of other countries’ economies in Europe has continental and global effects. For example, in 2008 there was a financial crisis in Iceland. Iceland is not in the EU but this still affected many European countries.

Transport links

Transport links have increased between European countries due to:

  • The rise of budget airlines, making short-distance flights more economical.

  • The Channel tunnel, Europe’s longest tunnel, built in 1994. It goes under the sea between England and France and has up to three trains per hour.

  • The EU allowing freer movement of people between member states.

Communication links

Communication links allow information to be exchanged between people in different countries, such as:

  • mobile phones

  • internet

  • satellite TV

There are only three time zones in Europe, which means most business hours in the week overlap between countries.

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.