Difference Between Western and Eastern Europe

Main Difference – Western vs Eastern Europe

The European continent can be divided into several regions, depending on various geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. Western Europe and Eastern Europe are two such regions. As their names imply, Western Europe refers to the west part of Europe and Eastern Europe refers to the East part of Europe. However, there is no precise boundary that separates the two regions. The key difference between Western and Eastern Europe is that the name Eastern Europe is used to refer to all European countries that were previously ruled by communist regimes while the name Western Europe refers to the more economically stable and developed Western countries.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Western Europe
     – Definition, Countries, Facts
2. What is Eastern Europe
    – Definition, Countries, Facts
3. What is the Difference Between Western and Eastern Europe
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Difference Between Western and Eastern Europe - Comparison Summary (1)

What is Western Europe

Western Europe is the western region of Europe. However, this term has no precise definition; the usage of this term has changed over the years. During the cold war, this term referred to the developed and rich countries of the Western world. There was a marked difference between Western and Eastern Europe in terms of economics, politics, and religion. Some of the countries that belong to Western Europe are

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican
Main Difference - Western vs Eastern Europe

Figure 01: Western Europe

Most of the countries were members of the Western European Union. Countries in Western Europe are more economically stable and developed than the countries in Eastern Europe. The term Western Europe is also more associated with liberal democracy and capitalism.

What is Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is the east region of the European continent. However, all countries that were behind the Iron Curtain (the boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War) before its fall are broadly classified as being a part of Eastern Europe. These countries were previously ruled by communist regimes. The following countries belong to Eastern Europe according to the definition of United Nations.

  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Slovakia
  • Republic of Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
Difference Between Western and Eastern Europe

Figure 02: Eastern Europe

As stated earlier, there are various definitions for Eastern Europe. According to some sources, sub-regions of East Central Europe, the Baltics, and Southeastern Europe/Balkans belong to Eastern Europe. The borders of Eastern Europe are considered to be the Adriatic, Black, and Caspian seas and the Caucasus Mountains on the south; Baltic and Barents seas on the north; and the Ural Mountains on the east.

Eastern Europe is considered to be less economically developed than Western Europe. Greek, Byzantine, Russian, Eastern Orthodox, and some Ottoman influences can be seen in Eastern Europe. In comparison to Western Europeans, Eastern Europeans are more conservative and orthodox.

Difference Between Western and Eastern Europe

Region

Western Europe: Western Europe refers to the west part of Europe.

Eastern Europe: Eastern Europe refers to the East part of Europe.

Countries

Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom are some of the countries that belong to Western Europe.

Eastern Europe:  Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia,  Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are some of the countries that belong to Eastern Europe.

Politics

Western Europe: Western Europe is associated with liberal democracy, and capitalism.

Eastern Europe: Eastern Europe have countries that were previously ruled by communist regimes.

Economy

Western Europe: Countries in Western Europe are economically more stable and developed than countries in Eastern Europe.

Eastern Europe: Countries in Eastern Europe are comparatively less developed and less economically stable.

Conclusion

Western and Eastern European are two regions of the European continent. However, these two names have no precise definitions. However, this difference between Western and Eastern Europe is based on various geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. The name Eastern Europe is used to refer to all European countries that were previously ruled by communist regimes while the name Western Europe refers to the more economically stable and developed Western countries.

Image Courtesy:

 1. “Western Europe (Robinson projection)” By Serg!o – image:BlankMap-Europe-v5.png (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Eastern-Europe-small” By User:Joy – Based on Europe-small.png after highlighting the eastern parts (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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