Although many people tend to use them as synonyms, there is a big difference between Europe and the European Union, two terms that refer to two different entities.
And you, have you used the terms European Union and Europe as synonyms? Or do you want to know which countries make up these entities?
For example, you may want to know the benefits you have for being part of the European Union or you may want to know which countries you can travel to with your residence card, without requiring a visa.
In addition, perhaps you are thinking of a work relocation package and want to know which countries you can opt for with the lowest possible expenses.
Well, in this post we will show you the main differences between Europe and the European Union , as well as how they are related to the European Economic Area and the Schengen Area.
What is Europe?
Europe is a continent made up of 50 countries , 7 dependencies, 8 unrecognized countries and which has an area of 10,530,751 km² and an approximate population of 747,747,395 people in 2021.
After Oceania, Europe is the second smallest continent, and most of its economy revolves around the Euro.
What is the European Union?
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political association made up of 28 countries , and which extends over much of what is the European continent.
The capital of the EU is Brussels and most of the officials and those responsible for running the association live there.
It should be noted that, in addition, the European Union has its own national anthem, currency and flag , so it can be said that it is like a macro country made up of many countries.
Best of all, this association has four fundamental freedoms that circulate between Member States without inconvenience or restrictions: goods, services, people and capital .
In addition, it is a united front that has improved the quality of life of Europeans and provides economic support, in the internal development of each country and in environmental policies.
On the other hand, as is obvious when looking at the number of countries that make up the EU, not all European countries are part of this association, among which Norway and Switzerland stand out.
And the countries that are part of the European Union are:
- United Kingdom.
- Czech Republic.
Difference Between Europe and European Union
Although it is likely that, when reading the definitions of both entities, you have identified some difference between Europe and the European Union, we will see each one of them so that you can know exactly what makes them different.
The main difference is that Europe is a continent, that is, a physical space that is made up of the countries that inhabit the region, while the European Union is a geopolitical organization that is made up of some countries of the continent.
Another difference between Europe and the European Union is that Europe is made up of 50 countries, while the European Union is made up of only 28 countries.
They also differ in that each of the 50 countries in Europe have their own national anthem and flag, that is, each country with its cultural elements, while the entire EU identifies with its own flag, anthem and currency.
On the other hand, there is also a difference between Europe and the European Union in the physical territory it covers, the EU being much smaller than the continent itself.
And, the last difference between Europe and the European Union, is that each country in Europe has judicial and legal powers that are in charge of regulating the operation, standards and compliance with them.
While the European Union has powers or institutions responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules in the countries that comprise it.
Some of the most important EU institutions are:
- The European Parliament.
- The European Commission.
- The European Council.
- The European Court of Justice.
- The European Central Bank.
There are other entities that make a difference between Europe and the European Union and that are worth mentioning. Let’s see what they are.
Difference between European Economic Area and Schengen Area
The European Economic Area (EEA) is a political agreement created in 1994 with the aim of expanding the members of the European Union, including in the internal market the countries that are part of the current European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
That is, it is an agreement that allows the countries of the EU and EFTA to carry out commercial and economic operations without the need for them to join the European Union .
Of the countries that make up the European Free Trade Association, only Switzerland is not part of the EEA.
In this sense, those who make up the European Economic Area are the 28 countries of the European Union and Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway.
For its part, the Schengen Area is an area made up of 26 European countries that have reached an agreement to abolish bureaucratic controls at their internal borders in order to allow the free movement of goods, services, people and capital.
And all this under the controls of external border regulations.
What these countries have done is to remove the internal borders and create a single external border that makes the Schengen Area as a single country, which means that citizens can move freely between the countries that make up this space.
The time allowed to enter these countries is 90 days .
For foreigners living in one of these countries, the permit is extended up to 180 days .
Of course, it is important to declare before the competent authorities, in a period of up to 3 days after entry, the arrival in the country.
The countries of the Schengen Area are:
- Czech Republic.
As you can see, each difference between Europe and the European Union are more than enough reasons to avoid using these entities as synonyms from now on.
Aspects such as the population, the objective of each of these entities, their legal formation and the number of countries that compose them mark more than relevant differences.
And, of course, in Europe there are also other spaces, such as the European Economic Area and the Schengen Area, which are worth knowing and differentiating very well, especially if you want to hire a relocation company to move to another country.