Regions of Western Europe

Central Europe

The countries of Central [Western] Europe have strong economies. They are part of the main economic region of Europe and have stable democratic governments with a relatively high standard of living.

Western France houses the political capital of the EU along the Rhine at Strasbourg. To the south is France’s second-largest city, Lyon, which is a major industrial center for modern technology.

Germany has the historical Ruhr industrial complex that supports the high-tech industries in southern Germany. Germany is the most populous country in Europe, with over eighty-two million people in 2010. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and has the largest GDP as a country.

Belgium has major business centers in Brussels and Antwerp.

Switzerland is noted for its banking and financial markets.

Austria is noted for its high level of cultural activities.

The British Isles

The British Isles are a group of islands separated from the European mainland by the English Channel. The British Isles consist of two separate, independent countries: the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. The United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. All four regions are part of the UK government.

The lowlands of southern England, Ireland, and central Scotland have good agriculture. The Pennines mountain chain runs through northern England and was the source of the coal and water that fueled the Industrial Revolution. To the east of Britain is the North Sea, which provides oil.

Ireland has embraced EU’s economic connections and uses the euro currency. The British people have not wanted to give full autonomy to the EU, using the British pound sterling instead of the euro. [In 2020, the British withdrew from the EU in a step called “Brexit.”]

The British Isles countries demonstrate a high level of industrialization, urbanization, and technology. These urban societies have small families and higher incomes and are heavy consumers of energy, goods, and services. Just as the Industrial Revolution attracted cheap labor, the aging workforce has attracted people from former British colonies to move to the United Kingdom for work.

Scotland and Wales have their own local parliaments.

Source: Regions of Western Europe
By Saylor Academy, CC-BY 3.0

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