Western Europe is a geographic region of Europe. This term does not have a precise definition. Its use has changed over time. During the Cold War, Western Europe was a geographic and socio-political concept. It meant the European countries of the First World of the Western world, which are also vaguely defined. It was distinguished from Eastern Europe by differences of economics, politics, and religion. It includes some or all of the following 24 countries:
Today, the term Western Europe has to do with geography and with economics. The concept is commonly associated with liberal democracy, capitalism and also with the European Union, though that also has some countries of Eastern Europe.
In addition, Scandinavia (in Northern Europe) is commonly associated with social democracy and remains fairly neutral throughout international disputes. The Iberian Peninsula, the most western part of Europe is similarly closely linked to the Americas.