b Western Europe is one of the twenty-two subregions in which the UN divides the world.
It limits the north with the North Sea, the east with Eastern Europe, the south with southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, and the west with the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabrian Sea.
The term, considered imprecise, has cultural and political connotations, and may also refer to non-Communist European countries during the Cold War; It also entails geographical, economic and cultural aspects. Since the end of World War II, it has been used to describe developed and high-income western European countries, characterized by having a democratic system, mixed economies (combining the free market with aspects of intervention or state action in the State of well-being), the alliance with the United States and NATO membership. However, the political definition is becoming obsolete, given that these characteristics are not unique to Western Europe.
Culturally, the vertebration of Europe in two halves, one Western and one Eastern, is due more to historical rather than geographical reasons. After World War II, and especially with the beginning of the Cold War, the European continent was divided in two zones, of different political influence, reason why Greece counts as part of Western Europe in spite of being more to the east than Lithuania . Western Europe is the most prosperous and industrialized part of this continent. Most of the States forming the region are members of the European Union.