Geography of EuropePrint
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
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 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 allow information to be exchanged between people in different countries, such as:
There are only three time zones in Europe, which means most business hours in the week overlap between countries.
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