Albania, part of the Balkan peninsula, is approximately the size of Maryland, with 28,750 sq. km of area. It is strategically located at the Straits of Otranto, which is the passage between the Adriatic, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas. Like the rest of the peninsula, Albania's terrain is rugged, mostly mountains and hills. Because of its location, it has a mild, temperate climate. It is sometimes subject to earthquakes and tsunamis along its southwestern coast.
Albania's population of approximately 3.4 million is mostly Muslim (70%) with notable Orthodox (20%) and Catholic (10%) groups. Most of the people are Albanian (95%) with some Greek (3%) and other ethnic groups. The official language is the Tosk dialect of Albanian, although Greek is also spoken. The population shows only a slight growth rate with a small out-migration.
Formerly part of the Soviet sphere, Albania is emerging as a parliamentary democracy. It has a president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), unicameral legislature, and a supreme court. The capital is Tirana near the center of the country.
An extremely poor country by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more open-market economy. It is currently showing real growth of about 7%. Nearly 20% of the people live below the poverty level. It is experiencing high unemployment and inflation during this transition. Albania's exports include asphalt, metals and metallic ores, electricity, and crude oil. Its imports include machinery, consumer goods, and grains. Its principal trading partners are Italy, Germany, and the other Balkan states.
Albania has 447 km of railways. Over two-thirds of its 18,000 km of roads are unpaved. It has nine airports, three of which have paved runways, and a few ports and harbors (Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, and Vlore).
Andorra is a small landlocked country between France and Spain. With a total area of about 450 sq. km, it is about 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. A mountainous country with narrow valleys, it has a temperate climate with snowy, cold winters. The main hazards within the country are snowslides and avalanches.
Despite its small size, its population of over 65,000 people is growing at a rate of about 2.24%, mostly due to in-migration and aging of the population. It has one of the highest average life expectancies in the world at 83.5 years. Over 60% of the population are of Spanish background and 30% are Andorran. The predominant religion is Roman Catholic. The official language is Catalan (a Spanish dialect), but French and Castilian (Spanish) are also spoken.
The government of Andorra is a parliamentary democracy. It has two heads of state in what is called a co-principality. The two princes are the president of France and the bishop of Seo de Urgel, Spain. These two were represented locally by officials called veguers. The head of government is the Executive Council president who is elected by the General Council (the unicameral legislative branch). There is a Supreme Court of Andorra at Perpignan, France. The capital is Andorra la Vella.
Andorra is primarily known for its resorts, and thus its economy is heavily dependent (80% of GDP) on tourism. Andorra enjoys a "tax haven" status, and consequently its banking sector also contributes significantly to the economy. Since there is very little arable land, most food is imported. Andorra is a member of the European Customs Union and is considered an EU member for the purpose of trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs between EU countries). However, for agricultural products it is considered a non-EU member. Andorra's exports include electricity (hydropower is a main resource), tobacco products, and furniture. Its imports include consumer goods and food. Its main trading partners are France and Spain.
Andorra has no railroads, ports, or airports. It has 269 km of highways, about three-quarters of which are paved.
Centrally located, Austria is one of the landlocked nations of Europe. With an area of nearly 84,000 sq. km, it is slightly smaller than Maine. Austria has a temperate, continental climate characterized by cold winters with rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains. Its summers tend to be cool. The Alps make the terrain in the west and south mostly mountainous, although the terrain tends to mostly flat or gently sloping in the eastern and northern margins. The highest point is Grossglockner at 3,797 m elevation. Although landlocked, Austria occupies a strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys. The major river in Austria is the Danube.
Austria's population of slightly over 8 million is virtually stable, growing only slightly due to in-migration. Most of the population is Catholic (78%). The language of Austria is German, which is the principal ethnic group (98%). There is minor representation from other European groups such as Croats, Hungarians, and Slovaks.
Austria is a federal republic, with a president as chief of state who selects a chancellor from the majority party in the National Council to head the government. The National Council is one house of the bicameral legislature. There is also a supreme judicial court. The capital of Austria is Vienna.
Austria is a member of both the European Union (EU) and the European Monetary Union (EMU), thus tying its economy closely to its fellow member nations. Consequently, the EU is Austria's principal trading partner, although the U.S, Japan, and Hungary also trade with Austria. Austria's imports and exports both include vehicles, metal products, pharmaceuticals, and machinery. Transportation is well developed with nearly 6,000 km of railways and nearly 130,000 km of highways, all paved. Many goods are transported via the 358 km of waterways (including the Danube River). The main ports are Vienna, Graz, Enns, and Krems. There are over 1,500 km of pipelines for oil and natural gas products. Austria has 55 airports, 22 of which have paved runways.
A small country on the North Sea, Belgium was once part of the Netherlands. With an area of over 30,000 sq. km, it is about the size of Maryland. Marked by flat coastal plains, the terrain gives way to some hills and the rugged Ardennes Mountains in the southeast. The climate is temperate maritime, moderated by its location on the North Sea. Belgium's lowlands, like those of the Netherlands, are protected from flooding by dykes. Belgium is also the seat of NATO and the EU.
Belgians are principally Flemish (55%), which is related to Dutch, or Walloon (33%), related to French. The principal language is Flemish, with a significant French-speaking population. Most Belgians are either Catholic (75%) or Protestant (25%).
Belgium is a federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. The head of government is the prime minister, appointed by the monarch, who is the head of state. There is a bicameral parliament and a supreme court. The capital is Brussels.
A member of the EU and EMU, Belgium has an economy based on private enterprise. It is currently experiencing a modest growth rate. Approximately two-thirds of its trade is within the EU. It exports iron and steel, transportation equipment, tractors, diamonds, and petroleum products and imports fuels, grains, chemicals, and foodstuffs.
Belgium's transportation is well developed with over 3,300 km of railways, much of it electrified and over 140,000 km of paved highways. Besides several thousand km of pipelines for petroleum and natural gas, it has 42 airports, 24 of which have paved runways. Among its several seaports is the Belgian port of Antwerp, one of the world's busiest.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina have been the focus of recent conflict, typical of this part of the Balkan Peninsula. With an area of just over 51,000 sq. km, it is slightly smaller than West Virginia. Its rugged terrain is mostly mountainous with a climate moderated by the nearby Adriatic Sea. It experiences frequent and destructive earthquakes.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's population of nearly 3.5 million people is a mix of Balkan ethnic groups, primarily Serbian (40%), Muslim (38%), and Croat (22%). This mix is reflected in the mix of religions (Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Catholic 15%, Protestant 4%, other 10%) and languages (Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian).
Like many other former communist nations of eastern Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is emerging as a parliamentary democracy. The government is headed by three presidents representing the major ethnic factions, who rotate as chairman of the presidency every 8 months. The bicameral legislature is also represented equally by the three main ethnic groups. There is a constitutional court. The capital is Sarajevo.
Making significant moves toward privatization, the economy of this nation is beginning to recover. After a serious decline, the economy is now growing. Most of the economy is devoted to internal recovery.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have over 1,000 km of railways, although some are in need of repair. Approximately half of the more than 20,000 km of highways are paved. The nation's waterways transportation has been severely harmed by conflicts in the area, resulting in downed bridges and inoperable ports. It has only one outlet to the sea. Of the 25 airports, nine have paved runways.
Mostly mountainous with large fertile valleys and plains, Bulgaria is one of the few states of Europe that borders the Black Sea. It has a temperate climate. With an area of about 110,000 sq. km, it is slightly larger than Tennessee. Natural hazards in Bulgaria include earthquakes and mudslides. It is situated in a strategic location near the Turkish Straits (Bosporus).
Bulgarians make up the largest ethnic group (85%), with some Turkish (9%) representation in the population of over 8 million people. Most of the population is Orthodox (85%), with a significant Muslim following (13%). The principal and official language is Bulgarian.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary democracy, having emerged from the Soviet sphere after the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is governed by a president, a unicameral legislature, and a supreme court. The capital is Sofia.
Since the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria has been moving toward a market economy. Bulgaria imports and exports minerals, machinery, and equipment. It imports raw materials as well. Its main trading partners are Europe and Russia.
Bulgaria has over 4,000 km of railways. Most of its more than 36,000 km of highways are paved. Bulgaria also relies on pipelines and its merchant marine to move products. Of the 61 airports, almost all (56) have paved runways.
One of the states that was formerly part of Yugoslavia, Croatia is a small nation (56,000 sq. km) about the size of West Virginia, bordering the Adriatic Sea. It is geographically diverse with terrain ranging from plains and lowlands to mountains. It has a mixed Mediterranean and continental climate (Mediterranean on the coast). Like many of the countries in this region, its main natural hazard is earthquakes. Strategically, most of the land routes from western Europe to the Turkish Straits go through this region.
Croatia's population of over 4.5 million people is experiencing little or no growth. The principal ethnic groups are Croat (78%) and Serb (12%). Most of the people are Christian, primarily Catholic (76.5%) and Orthodox (11%). The main language is Serbo-Croatian, although some of the other languages of the region (Slav, Balkan) can be found.
Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, having been established when Yugoslavia broke up in 1991. The government has three branches; an executive headed by a president and prime minister, a bicameral legislature, and a supreme court. The capital is Zagreb.
Although it had been one of the more prosperous areas of Yugoslavia, since the breakup Croatia has been struggling in its transition from Communist mismanagement. While trying to stabilize its economy, it is experiencing some growth. Croatia's main trading partners are Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. Its principal exports and imports include machinery and transport equipment, fuels, and food products.
Croatia has over 2,000 km of railways, although some service has been disrupted due to the conflicts which have occurred in the region. Most (over 22,000 km) of the more than 27,800 km of highways are paved. Croatia also relies on pipelines and inland waterways, although some service has been disrupted due to the recent conflicts. Twenty-one of the seventy-two airports have paved runways.
The Czech Republic was formerly part of Czechoslovakia. It peacefully split into its two ethnic components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, after the collapse of Soviet authority in 1991. It has an area of about 78,700 sq. km, which is slightly smaller than South Carolina. The western region, called Bohemia, consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains. Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country. It has a temperate climate with cool summers and cold, cloudy, humid winters. Although landlocked, it is strategically located astride some of the oldest and most significant land routes in Europe. The Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe.
The population of the Czech Republic is over ten million people. Most are Czech (94.4%), with the remainder made up of mostly eastern European ethnic groups. While nearly 40% of the population considers themselves Catholic, roughly the same amount considers themselves atheists. The main languages are Czech and Slovak.
The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government. The executive department consists of a president and prime minister. There is a bicameral legislature (parliament) and a supreme court. The capital is Prague.
Political and financial crises in 1997 shattered the Czech Republic's image as one of the most stable and prosperous of post-Communist states. The country slipped into a mild recession in 1998, but hopes to rebound with 1% growth in 1999. The Czech Republic both imports and exports manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, and raw materials and fuels. Its major trading partners are Germany, Slovakia, and other European countries.
The Czech Republic has nearly 10,000 km of railways. All of its 55,500 km of highways are paved. It has 5,400 km of natural gas pipelines. Of its 69 airports, 35 have paved runways.
This small nation on the North Sea is slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts (43,094 sq. km). This does not include the area of Greenland or the Faroe Islands, which are basically self-governed but belong to Denmark. Their location gives them a temperate climate with plenty of humidity and cool summers. The terrain is generally flat, giving way to gently rolling plains. Denmark's location is also strategic in that it controls the Danish Straits (Skagerrak and Kattegat), which link the Baltic and North Seas.
Denmark's population of approximately 5,356,845 is made up of Scandinavian, Eskimo, Faroese, and German peoples. Over 90% of the population is Lutheran. Several languages are spoken, including Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Eskimo dialect), and German. About one-quarter of the population lives in Copenhagen.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. The head of government is the prime minister who is appointed by the monarch. There is a unicameral legislature as well as a supreme court, whose judges are appointed by the monarch for life.
Denmark chose not to join the 11 other EU members who launched the Euro on 1 January 1999. Because of the global slowdown, GDP growth may fall to 1% in 1999. Denmark exports machinery and instruments, meat and meat products, fuels, dairy products, ships, fish, and chemicals. It imports machinery and equipment, petroleum, chemicals, grain, and foodstuffs. Its main trading partners are Germany and other members of the EU. Denmark has over 3,000 km of railways. Its 71,600 km of highways are all paved. It has over 1,000 km of pipelines and several ports and harbors. Of its 118 airports, 28 have paved runways.
This small country on the Baltic was a part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. Its area of 45,226 sq. km makes it slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Its coastal location gives it a maritime, wet climate with moderate winters and cool summers. Its terrain is mostly marshy lowlands.
Estonia's population of less than 1.5 million people is mostly Estonian (65%), with a significant (28%) Russian representation. Most of the population is Christian, primarily Evangelical Lutheran and Orthodox. The official language is Estonian, but Russian, Ukrainian, English, and Finnish are also spoken in many places.
Estonia is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government. The capital is Tallinn. Estonia has made significant moves toward privatization and shows promise for economic growth. Its imports and exports include machinery and equipment, textiles, food products, and transport equipment. Its main trading partners are Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden. It has applied for membership in the EU.
Estonia has over 1,000 kilometers of railways and over 16,000 kilometers of highways (8,000 km paved). It also has pipelines, waterways, and several ports and harbors. All of its five airports have paved runways.
Finland is a country at the base of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It has an area of 337,020 sq. km, which makes it slightly smaller than Montana. Its high latitude makes its climate potentially subarctic, but it is comparatively mild because of the moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes. Its terrain is mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills. Finland shares a long boundary with Russia, with whom it has fought several times.
Finland's population of 5,158,372 is mostly concentrated on a small southwestern coastal plain. Finns make up the majority of the population, with a small (6%) Swedish representation. Most of the population is Evangelical Lutheran (89%). Approximately 9% claims no religious affiliation. The official language is Finnish. Other languages include Swedish, and there are small Lapp- and Russian-speaking minorities.
Finland is a republic with three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial). It has a unicameral legislature and a supreme court. The capital, Helsinki, is the northernmost national capital on the European continent.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy. Its per capita income has risen to the West European level. Finland is a member of the European Union and is the only Nordic state to join the Euro system at its initiation in January 1999. Finland's imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, timber, paper, and pulp. It imports foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textile yarn, and fabrics. Its main trading partners include other members of the EU as well as Sweden, Russia, the U.S., and Japan.
Finland has nearly 5,900 km of railways and nearly 78,000 km of highways. About two-thirds of the highways are paved. It has 6,675 km of waterways, more than half of which is suitable for steamers. It transports natural gas through about 600 km of pipelines, and 68 of its 157 airports have paved runways.
With 547,000 sq. km of area, France is the largest western European nation. This is slightly less than twice the size of Colorado. It has generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean. Its terrain is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west. The remainder is mountainous, especially with the Pyrenees in the south and the Alps in the east. It sometimes has problems due to flooding and avalanches and can be subject to occasional strong winds, known as mistrals.
France's population of nearly 60 million people is made up of several ethnic groups, including Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, and Basque minorities. Most of the population is Catholic (90%). The national language is French with several regional dialects.
France is a republic with three branches of government. The government is led by a president and prime minister with a bicameral legislature and a supreme court. The capital is Paris.
One of the four West European trillion-dollar economies, France matches a growing services sector with a diversified industrial base and substantial agricultural resources. Industry generates one-quarter of GDP and more than 80% of export earnings. Its main exports include machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, agricultural products, iron and steel products, textiles, and clothing. It imports crude oil, machinery and equipment, agricultural products, chemicals, iron, and steel products. Its main trading partners are other members of the EU, the U.S., and Japan.
France is a well-developed nation with over 32,000 km of railways, nearly 900,000 km of paved highways, nearly 15,000 km of waterways, and over 30,000 km of pipelines. It has several ports and harbors on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. France has about 474 airports, over 260 of which have paved runways.
With the addition of the former German Democratic Republic in 1990, which had been under the influence of the Soviet Union, Germany's area is now nearly 357,000 sq. km. This is slightly smaller than the state of Montana. It has temperate and marine climates with cool wet winters and summers subject occasionally to warm tropical winds. Germany's terrain begins with lowlands in the north, getting progressively more rugged, turning to mountainous in the south with the Bavarian Alps. It has a strategic location on the North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
Germany's population of over 82 million people is over 90% German. Germany has received a number of refugees from the wars in the former Yugoslavian region. Germany's people are mostly Christian, split almost evenly between Protestants and Catholics. About one-quarter of the people are either unaffiliated or of other religions. The main language is German.
Germany is a federal republic, with a president as head of state, a bicameral legislature, and a federal constitutional court. The capital is Berlin. The government is still in transition of moving from Bonn, which was the capital of West Germany prior to reunification.
Germany possesses the world's third-most-powerful economy, with its capitalist market system tempered by generous welfare benefits. On 1 January 1999, Germany and 10 other European Union countries launched the European Monetary Union (EMU) by permanently fixing their bilateral exchange rates and giving the new European Central Bank control over the zone's monetary policy, transitioning to a new currency, the Euro. The German nation continues to wrestle with the integration of eastern Germany, whose adjustment may take decades to complete despite annual transfers from the west of roughly $100 billion a year. Germany's main trading partners are the EU and other western nations with whom it exchanges machinery, vehicles, chemicals, manufactures, and foodstuffs.
Germany has over 46,000 km of railways and over 650,000 km of paved highways. It has nearly 7,500 km of waterways, including major rivers (e.g., the Rhine and the Elbe). The Kiel Canal is an important connection between the Baltic Sea and North Sea. It has nearly 2,500 km of pipelines and many major ports and harbors. Germany has over 600 airports, over half of which have paved runways, as well as 61 heliports.
Greece is strategically located on the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, including a major portion of the approaches to the Turkish Straits from the Mediterranean. Its area of nearly 132,000 sq. km makes it slightly smaller than Alabama. Greece has a typical Mediterranean climate; temperate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Its terrain is mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands. It is subject to severe earthquakes.
Greece's population of nearly 11 million people is 98% Greek. Their religion is 98% Greek Orthodox. The official language is Greek, with English and French also spoken.
Once a monarchy, Greece is a parliamentary republic. The monarchy was rejected by referendum in 1974. The capital is Athens. Greece is headed by a president and governed by a unicameral legislature and a supreme court.
Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about half of GDP, although the government plans to privatize some leading state enterprises. Tourism is a key industry, providing a large portion of GDP and foreign exchange earnings. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 4% of GDP. Greece's exports and imports are mostly manufactured goods, foodstuffs, and fuels. Its main trading partners are the EU and the U.S.
Greece has over 2,500 km of railways, including nearly 1,000 km of narrow gauge railways designed for steep grades. It has 117,000 km of highways, over 90% of which is paved. A maritime nation, Greece has many ports and harbors. It also has over 500 km of pipelines for petroleum products. Greece has 78 airports, 63 of which have paved runways. There are two heliports.
Hungary is a landlocked nation in eastern Europe under the control of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. An attempted revolt in 1956 was quickly crushed by Soviet troops. Hungary's area of 93,030 sq. km makes it slightly smaller than Indiana. Although landlocked, it has a temperate climate with cold, cloudy, humid winters and warm summers. Its terrain is mostly flat and rolling plains, with hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border. Although landlocked, it occupies a strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and the Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and the Mediterranean basin.
Hungary's population of slightly over 10 million people is mostly Hungarian. Other ethnic groups include Gypsy, German, Serb, and Slovak. Most of the population (67.5%) is Catholic with a significant Calvinist population. Almost all of the population speaks Hungarian.
Hungary is a republic with three branches of government; executive, legislative, and judicial. The capital is Budapest.
After World War II, Hungary became part of Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, and its government and economy were refashioned on the communist model. Increased nationalist opposition, which culminated in the government's announcement of withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact in 1956, led to massive military intervention by Moscow and the swift crushing of the revolt. In the more open Gorbachev years, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and steadily moved toward multiparty democracy and a market-oriented economy. Following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Hungary has developed close political and economic relations with western Europe and is now being considered a possible future member of the European Union. Hungary's imports and exports include machinery, equipment, and other manufactures. Hungary's main trading partners include Germany, Austria, Italy, and Russia.
Hungary has over 7,600 km of railways, 1,622 km of waterways, and over 188,000 km of highways. Less than half of the highways are paved Of its 25 airports, 15 have paved runways.
A small (103,000 sq. km) island nation in the North Atlantic, Iceland is slightly smaller than Kentucky. Iceland's climate is temperate, moderated by the North Atlantic Current, with mild, windy winters and damp cool summers. Its terrain is mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks. Its coast is deeply indented by bays and fjords. It has extensive ice fields as well as significant geothermal activity. Iceland has more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe. Additionally, it sits in a strategic location between Greenland and the United Kingdom on the sea route from the Atlantic to the North Sea. It is also the westernmost European country.
Iceland's population of 272,000 is a homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts. The major religion is Evangelical Lutheran. The principal language is Icelandic.
Iceland boasts the oldest surviving parliament in the world, the Althing, established in 930. Subsequently this Nordic island, whose small population has largely depended on fishing and sheep-herding for a living, came under the rule of Norway and then Denmark. It gained home rule in 1874 and full independence in 1944. Iceland is a constitutional republic, with a president, unicameral legislature, and supreme court. The capital is Reykjavik.
Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system, low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 75% of export earnings and employs 12% of the workforce. In the absence of other natural resources, except energy, Iceland's economy is vulnerable to changing world fish prices. The government remains opposed to EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources. Iceland's major exports are fish and fish products. It imports machinery and equipment as well as petroleum products and foodstuffs. Its main trading partners are the EU and the U.S.
Iceland has no railways and about three-quarters of its 12,691 km of highways are unpaved. It has many ports and harbors. Ten of its 87 airports have paved runways.
The Republic of Ireland comprises an area of 70,280 sq. km (excluding Northern Ireland), which is slightly larger than West Virginia. An island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, it has a temperate maritime climate modified by the North Atlantic Current. Consequently, it experiences mild winters, cool summers, and has an overall humid climate. Its terrain is mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains. It is situated in a strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe.
Ireland's population of about 3.6 million people is mostly Celtic and English. Forty percent of the population resides within 97 km of Dublin, the capital. Most of the population (92%) is Catholic, with some Anglican and other religions. English is the language generally used. Irish (Gaelic) use is on the decline and is spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard. Ireland is a republic with three branches of government. It has a president, a bicameral legislature, and a supreme court.
Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging 9.5% in 199598. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 39% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 28% of the labor force. Ireland joined in launching the Euro currency system in January 1999 along with 10 other EU nations. Ireland's principal exports are chemicals, data processing equipment, industrial machinery, and live animals and animal products. It imports food, animal feed, data processing equipment, petroleum, and petroleum products. Its main trading partners are the EU and the U.S.
Ireland has nearly 2,000 km of railways. Over 90% of its 92,500 km of highways are paved. It has a small amount of pipeline for natural gas transport. Of its 44 airports, 16 have paved runways.
Italy's area of over 300,000 sq. km (including Sardinia and Sicily) is slightly larger than Arizona. Due to its north-south orientation, and terrain, its climate ranges from Mediterranean (hot and dry) in the south to Alpine in the north. Overall, its terrain is mostly rugged with the Alps in the north and the Appenine Mountains extending down much of its length. Italy is strategically located, dominating the central Mediterranean as well as the southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe.
Italy's population of over 56 million people is mostly Italian with small clusters of other ethnic backgrounds in the north (near the Alps) and in the south (along the Mediterranean). Almost all of the population is Roman Catholic. The main language is Italian, although there are some small regions with German- and French-speaking minorities.
Italy is a republic with three branches of government. It is headed by a president and has a bicameral legislature as well as a supreme court. The capital is Rome.
Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC) and joined in the growing political and economic unification of Western Europe, including the introduction of the Euro in January 1999. Ongoing problems include illegal immigration, the ravages of organized crime, high unemployment, and the low incomes and technical standards of Southern Italy compared with the North. Since World War II, the Italian economy has changed from one based on agriculture into a ranking industrial economy, with approximately the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. The government has adopted fairly stringent budgets, abandoned its inflationary wage indexing system, and started to scale back its generous social welfare programs, including pension and health care benefits. In December 1998, Italy adopted a budget compliant with the requirements of the European Monetary Union (EMU). Italy's exports include engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, and transport equipment. Its imports include engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles, and clothing. Its main trading partners are the EU and the U.S.
Italy has over 19,000 km of railways. Its 317,000 km of highways are paved. Over 20,000 km of pipelines are used to transport oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Italy has many ports and harbors on the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. Ninety-seven of its 136 airports have paved runways.
A small Baltic nation, Latvia's area is just under 65,000 sq. km, slightly larger than West Virginia. Its terrain is low plain, and it has a maritime climate with wet, moderate winters.
Latvia's population of about 2.3 million people is about 56.5% Latvian with a significant Russian (30.4%) populace. The main religions are Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. The official language is Lettish, but Lithuanian and Russian are also spoken.
Latvia is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government. It has a president, a unicameral legislature, and a supreme court. The capital is Riga.
Along with most of the other small nations of Europe, Latvia shares a history of invasion by a succession of expansionist nations, such as Sweden, Poland, Germany, and Russia. After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940 under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Latvia reestablished its independence in August 1991, a few months prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Developments in 1998 included an invitation to join the World Trade Organization (the first Baltic country invited). EU accession remains Latvia's top priority. Latvia's exports are primarily wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, textiles, and foodstuffs. Its imports are mostly fuels, machinery and equipment, and chemicals. Its main trading partners are Russia, Germany, and Sweden.
Latvia has over 2,400 km of railways. About 40% of its roughly 56,000 km of highways are paved. It has about 2,000 km of pipelines. Latvia has several ports and harbors, and 36 of its 50 airports have paved runways.
Liechtenstein is a small, landlocked country in central Europe. With an area of only 160 sq. km, it is smaller than Washington, D.C. Located between Austria and Switzerland, it has a continental climate. The climate also varies locally as a result of changes in elevation. Nestled in the Alps, it is mostly mountainous although the Rhine Valley is a significant feature in the western portion of the country. Liechtenstein is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world (the other is Uzbekistan).
Liechtenstein's population of 32,000 people is mostly Alemannic (87.5%). Other significant ethnic groups include Italians and Turks. About 80% of the population is Roman Catholic. The official language is German, but an Alemannic dialect is also spoken.
The government of Liechtenstein is a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is the prince (hereditary). The Head of Government is normally the leader of the majority party following popular elections of the unicameral legislature (Diet or Landtag). The judicial branch includes a supreme court. The capital is Vaduz.
Liechtenstein has a prosperous, highly industrialized free-enterprise economy, despite its small size and limited resources. It has a vibrant financial sector, and its low business tax rate has resulted in over 73,000 "letter box" companies establishing nominal offices in the country. The government is taking active steps to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe (i.e., the EU). Liechtenstein's exports include small specialty machinery, dental products, stamps, hardware, and pottery. Its imports include machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, and motor vehicles. Its main trading partners are the EU and Switzerland.
Liechtenstein's 18.5 km of railways are included in the Austrian Federated Railway system. It has 250 km of highways, all paved, and no ports or airports.
Another of the small Baltic states, Lithuania's 65,200 sq. km make it slightly larger than West Virginia. It has a transitional climate, between maritime and continental. Its terrain is lowland with many scattered small lakes and fertile soil.
Lithuania's population is about 3.5 million people. Eighty percent of the population is Lithuanian. There is also a significant segment of Russian and Polish groups. Most of the population is Roman Catholic. The official language is Lithuanian, but some Polish and Russian is also spoken.
Lithuania is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government. It has a president, a unicameral legislature, and a supreme court. The capital is Vilnius.
Lithuania's exports and imports both include machinery and equipment, mineral products, textiles, chemicals, and foodstuffs. Its main trading partners are Russia, Germany, and other countries of eastern Europe.
Lithuania has about 2,000 km of railways, 68,000 km of highways (over 60,000 km paved), and over 800 km of pipelines. It has a few ports and harbors, and 25 of its 96 airports have paved runways.
Luxembourg is a small, landlocked country in Western Europe. It is often coupled with Belgium and the Netherlands in a grouping known as BENELUX. Luxembourg has a total area of 2,586 sq. km, making it slightly smaller than Rhode Island. Luxembourg has a modified continental climate. Its terrain is mostly gently rolling uplands, sloping steeply down to the Moselle floodplain in the southeast.
Luxembourg's population is less than one-half of a million people. Most of the people are of a Celtic background with a French and German blend. Almost all of the population (97%) is Roman Catholic. The main languages are Luxembourgian, German, French, and English.
The government of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is the hereditary monarch (Grand Duke). The head of government is the prime minister, who is appointed by the monarch. However, the prime minister is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies (the unicameral legislature), who are elected by popular vote. The judicial branch includes a Superior Court of Justice. The capital is Luxembourg.
Luxembourg's economy has recently been diversified. It had formerly been dominated by the steel industry. However, during the recent several decades, the service and (especially) the banking industries have grown significantly. Luxembourg is a member of the EU and is one of the countries adopting the Euro. Luxembourg's exports include finished steel products, chemicals, rubber products, and other industrial products. Its imports include minerals, metals, foodstuffs, and quality consumer goods. Its main trading partners are other members of the EU.
Luxembourg has 275 km of railways. Almost all of its 5,137 km of highways are paved. It has 37 km of waterways on the Moselle River. Its main port is Mertert. One of its two airports has paved runways.
Part of the former state of Yugoslavia, Macedonia is a small country (approx. 25,000 sq. km) slightly larger than Vermont. It has warm, dry summers and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall. The terrain is mountainous. It is a landlocked nation but is situated on a major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to the Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe.
Macedonia has a population of about two million people. Most (70%) are Macedonian. There is a significant Albanian population (21%) as well as other groups. About two-thirds of the population is Eastern Orthodox, and most of the remainder is Muslim. The principal language is Macedonian.
Macedonia is an emerging democracy. It has three branches of government. The executive branch is headed by the president. There is a unicameral legislature and a constitutional court. The capital is Skopje.
Macedonia's main trading partners are other former Yugoslav republics, Germany, and Italy. Its main exports are manufactured goods, and its main imports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, and food.
Macedonia has 922 km of railways. About half of its 10,591 km of highways are paved. It has 16 airports, 10 of which have paved runways.
Malta is a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. With an area of 320 sq. km, it is almost twice the size of Washington, D.C. Naturally, it has a Mediterranean climate. It has mostly low, rocky, flat terrain with many coastal cliffs.
Malta has a population of 381,603 people. Most Maltese are descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean ethnic stock. Almost all of the population (98%) is Roman Catholic. Both Maltese and English are official languages.
Malta is a parliamentary democracy. The chief of state is the president, who is elected by the unicameral legislature, the House of Representatives. The head of government is the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the majority party or majority coalition following legislative elections (popular vote). The judicial branch includes a Constitutional Court and a Court of Appeal. The capital is Valletta.
Malta's main resources are its limestone base, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Its economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing, and tourism. Malta was a major stronghold during World War II, providing bases for the Allies in the central Mediterranean Sea. Now its drydocks are state-owned and employ about 3,800 people. Malta is divided over the issue of joining the EU. Malta's exports include machinery and transport equipment and manufactured goods. Its imports also include machinery and transport equipment as well as manufactured goods and food (most of Malta's food is imported). Its main trading partners are France, Italy, Germany, the U.S., and the UK.
Malta has no railways. Most of its 1,582 km of highways are paved. It has several natural ports, the two most prominent being Marsaxlokk and Valletta. It has one airport (which has paved runways).
Moldova is a small landlocked nation that was formerly part of the Soviet Union. It has about 33,843 sq. km of area, making is slightly larger than Maryland. It has moderate winters, warm summers, and good farmland. The terrain is rolling steppe that gradually slopes downward to the south. Moldova's population is nearly 4.5 million people. Almost two-thirds of the population is Moldavian/Romanian with significant segments of Ukrainian and Russian people. Almost all of the population is Eastern Orthodox. The official language is Moldovan, which is virtually the same as Romanian.
Moldova is a republic with three branches of government. The executive branch is headed by a president. There is a unicameral legislature and a supreme court. The capital is Chisinau. Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. Moldova must import all of its supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. It exports foodstuffs, wine, tobacco, textiles, and footwear while it imports oil, gas, coal, steel, and machinery. Its main trading partners are Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, and Italy.
Moldova has about 1,328 km of railways. Most of its 12,300 km of highways are paved. It has 26 airports, six of which have paved runways.
Monaco is a very small country on the French Riviera. With a total area of less than two sq. km, it is about three times the size of the Mall in Washington, D.C. It has a Mediterranean climate. The terrain is rugged, hilly, and rocky. It is the second-smallest independent state in the world (the Holy See (Vatican) is the smallest).
Monaco has a population of 32,149 people. Almost half of the people are of French stock, the rest being Monegasque (Monacan), Italian, and other. Almost all of the people are Roman Catholic (95%). The official language is French, but English, Italian, and Monegasque are also spoken.
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is the hereditary monarch (prince). The head of government is the minister of state, who is appointed by the monarch from a list of three French national candidates presented by the French Government. There is a unicameral legislature, elected by popular vote. The judicial branch includes a supreme court. The capital is Monaco.
Monaco's economy is mostly based on tourists, who are attracted to its casino and pleasant climate. The government has also been successful in diversifying into the service and small, high-value-added industries. Monaco's exports and imports are fully integrated with France, through which Monaco also participates in the EU market system.
Monaco has only 1.7 km of railways. It has 50 km of paved highways, and its main port is Monaco. It has no airport of its own but is linked to the airport at Nice, France, by helicopter service.
One of the "Low Countries," the Netherlands is a small country on the North Sea with an area of about 42,400 sq. km (slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey). The terrain is primarily coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders). An extensive system of dikes and dams protect nearly one-half of the total area from being flooded. The Netherlands is located at the mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Meuse, and Schelde). As a result of its location, it has a temperate, marine climate.
The Netherlands' population of nearly 16 million people is mostly Dutch (94%). The national language is Dutch. About one-third of the population professes to be Roman Catholic, and slightly more claim no affiliation. Most of the remainder are Protestant.
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The head of government is a prime minister selected by the monarch. There is a bicameral legislature as well as a supreme court. The capital is Amsterdam, but the seat of government is The Hague.
This prosperous and open economy is based on private enterprise with the government's presence felt in many aspects of the economy. Industrial activity features food processing, petroleum refining, and metalworking. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 4% of the labor force, but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. As a result, the Netherlands ranks third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the U.S. and France. The Dutch joined the first wave of 11 EU countries launching the Euro monetary system. The Netherlands exports machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, and food and imports machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, and consumer goods. The main trading partners are the EU, the rest of Europe, and the U.S.
The Dutch have 2,813 km of railways, 127,000 km of highways (114,000 km paved), and over 5,000 km of waterways. They have over 10,000 km of pipelines and many ports and harbors. Of the 28 airports, 19 have paved runways.
One of the northernmost European countries, Norway has one of the most rugged and longest coastlines in the world, with lots of deep indentations. With an area of about 324,220 sq. km, it is slightly larger than New Mexico. Its climate is temperate along the coast, being modified by the North Atlantic Current. It is much colder in the interior, where the terrain is glaciated with mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys. It the north, there is arctic tundra. The coastline is deeply indented by fjords, and there are over 50,000 islands off its extensive coastline. Norway occupies a strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in the North Atlantic.
Norway's population of over 4.4 million people is mostly of Germanic background (including Nordic, Alpine, and Baltic) with about 20,000 Lapps (also known as Sami). The state church is Evangelical Lutheran and accounts for approximately 88% of the population. The official language is Norwegian, although there are small Lapp- and Finnish-speaking minorities.
Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The head of the government is a prime minister, who is usually the leader of the majority party or majority coalition and appointed by the monarch. Norway has a modified unicameral parliament (called Storting) which, for certain purposes, divides itself into two chambers. The capital is Oslo. The justices of the supreme court are appointed by the monarch.
Norway is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism. The economy consists of a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises), and extensively subsidizes agriculture, fishing, and areas with sparse resources. The country is richly endowed with natural resources (petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals) and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices. Only Saudi Arabia exports more oil than Norway. Norway imports more than half its food needs. It has decided at this time not to join the European Union and the new Euro currency regime. Oslo opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994. Petroleum and petroleum products account for more than 50% of Norway's exports. Norway's main imports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, and foodstuffs. More than three-quarters of her trade is conducted with the EU.
Norway has over 4,000 km of railways and over 91,000 km of highways, more than two-thirds of which are paved. Norway has many ports and harbors. Nearly two-thirds of its 103 airports have paved runways.
Poland is a significant example of how geography can influence a nation's development and policies. Poland has historically been an area of conflict because of its flat terrain and lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain. With 312,683 sq. km, it is slightly smaller than New Mexico. Its climate is temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters and mild summers.
Poland's population of over 38 million people is mostly Polish with less than three percent of other minorities. All but about 5% of the people consider themselves Roman Catholic. The national language is Polish.
Poland is a democratic state. It has three branches of government, with a president, bicameral legislature, and supreme court. The capital is Warsaw.
Poland today stands out as one of the most successful and open transition economies. The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms marked the rapid development of a private sector now responsible for 70% of economic activity. One of Poland's goals is to enter the EU as soon as possible. Currently over 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Poland's principal exports and imports both include chemicals, manufactured goods, and machinery and equipment. Its principal trading partners are Germany, Russia, and Italy.
Poland has over 24,000 km of railways and over 377,000 km of highways (over two-thirds paved). It has over 3,800 km of navigable rivers and canals and nearly 20,000 km of pipelines. Poland has several ports and harbors. Seventy-four of its ninety-two airports have paved runways, and there are three heliports.
Portugal shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, the westernmost projection of the European continent. Its area of over 92,000 sq. km (including the Azores and Madeira Islands) makes it slightly smaller than Indiana. Its location gives it a maritime, temperate climate. With rolling plains in the south, Portugal is mountainous north of the Tagus River. The Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along the western sea approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Portugal's population of just under 10 million people is mostly of homogeneous Mediterranean stock. The dominant religion is Roman Catholic, with only about three percent of the population participating in other religions. The language of the country is Portuguese.
Portugal is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government: executive (president), legislative (unicameral legislature), and judicial (supreme court). Its capital is Lisbon. Portugal, in 1998, continued to see strong economic growth, falling interest rates, and low unemployment. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and joined with 10 other European countries in launching the Euro monetary unit. Its principal exports are clothing and footwear, machinery, and chemicals and its imports are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum, and textiles. Overwhelmingly, its trade is with the EU.
Portugal has over 3,000 km of railways and over 68,000 km of highways (almost 60,000 km paved). It has many ports and harbors, and 40 of its 66 airports have paved runways.
A Black Sea state, Romania has over 237,000 sq. km of area, slightly smaller than Oregon. It has a temperate climate. To the east and south, respectively, are the Carpathian Mountains and the Transylvanian Alps. It controls the most easily traversable land route between the Balkans, Moldova, and Ukraine.
Romania's population is estimated to be over 22 million people. Nearly 90% are Romanian, but there is a significant (8.9%) Hungarian representation. About 70% are Romanian Orthodox, with some Roman Catholic, Protestant, and unaffiliated groups. The principal language is Romanian, but Hungarian and German are also spoken.
Romania is a republic with three branches of government: executive (president), legislative (bicameral legislature), and judicial (supreme court). The capital is Bucharest.
After the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 198991, Romania was left with an obsolete industrial base and a pattern of industrial capacity wholly unsuited to its needs. In February 1997, Romania embarked on a comprehensive macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform program, but reform subsequently has been a stop-and-go process. Over 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Romania's main exports are textiles and footwear, metals and metal products, and machinery and equipment. It imports machinery and equipment, fuels, and minerals and chemicals. Its principal trading partners are Italy, Germany, and France.
Romania has over 11,000 km of railways and over 150,000 km of highways (slightly over half is paved). It has over 1,700 km of waterways and over 10,000 km of pipelines. It has several ports and harbors, and 21 of its 27 airports have paved runways. There are two heliports.
San Marino is an enclave in central Italy with an area of only 60 sq. km (0.3 times the size of Washington, D.C.). Like Italy, it has a Mediterranean climate. Similarly, its terrain is mostly rugged mountains (Apennines). It is the smallest independent state in Europe after the Holy See (Vatican) and Monaco.
San Marino has a population of 25,061 people. The people are Sammarinese and Italian. The main religion is Roman Catholic. The main language is Italian. Sammarinese have a high average life expectancy (81.5 years).
San Marino is a republic. It has co-chiefs of state, called Captain Regents. They are elected from and by the Great and General Council (the unicameral legislature). The head of government is the Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs. The judicial branch consists of the Council of Twelve.
Over 50% of San Marino's GDP is from tourism. Other key industries are banking, wearing apparel, electronics, and ceramics, as well as agricultural products such as wine and cheese. San Marino's exports include building stone, lime, wood, chestnuts, wheat, wine, and ceramics. Import data is generally included with statistics for Italy. San Marino uses the Italian lira as its monetary unit.
San Marino has 220 km of highways. Otherwise, it has no railways, ports, or airports.
Slovakia is a small, landlocked nation in central Europe. With just under 49,000 sq. km of area, it is about twice the size of New Hampshire. It has a temperate climate. Its terrain consists of rugged mountains in the central and northern part and lowlands in the south.
Slovakia's population of over 5 million people is mostly Slovak (85.7%), with a significant (10.7%) Hungarian representation. The main religion is Roman Catholic (60.3%), with notable groups claiming to be Protestant or atheist. The official language is Slovak, but Hungarian is also spoken.
The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993. Slovakia has experienced more difficulty than the Czech Republic in developing a modern market economy. Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy with three branches of government: executive, legislative (unicameral legislature), and judicial. The capital is Bratislava.
Slovakia is continuing the difficult transition from a centrally controlled economy to a modern market-oriented economy. It has a fairly high unemployment rate at 14%. Its exports and imports are principally machinery and transport equipment, intermediate manufactured goods, and miscellaneous manufactured goods. More than fifty percent of its trade is with the EU.
Slovakia has over 3,600 km of railways, about 38,000 km of highways (almost all paved), and about 172 km of waterways (on the Danube). Ten of its 15 airports have paved runways.
Another of the former Yugoslav states, Slovenia is a small country (20,256 sq. km, slightly smaller than New Jersey) on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It has a Mediterranean climate on the coast and a continental climate in the plateaus and valleys to the east. Its terrain consists of a small coastal strip on the Adriatic, an Alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, and mixed mountain and valleys with numerous rivers to the east.
Its population of just under 2 million people is over 90% Slovene. Over 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. The principal language is Slovenian, with a small percentage of the population speaking Serbo-Croatian.
Slovenia's government is a parliamentary democratic republic with three branches: executive, legislative (unicameral legislature), and judicial (supreme court). The capital is Ljubljana.
Today, Slovenia exhibits one of the highest per capita GDPs of the transition economies of the region, fairly moderate inflation, and a comfortable level of international reserves. Slovenia received an invitation in 1997 to begin accession negotiations with the EU, a reflection of its sound economic footing. Slovenia exports and imports mostly manufactured goods, machinery, and transport equipment. Its principal trade partners are Germany, Italy, Croatia, and France.
Slovenia has over 1,200 km of railways and nearly 15,000 km of highways (about 80% paved). Six of its 14 airports have paved runways.
Spain shares the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal. Its area of over 500,000 sq. km (including the Balearic, Canary, and other islands) makes it slightly more than twice the size of Oregon. It has a temperate climate. Its terrain is largely flat to dissected plateau with the Pyrenees mountain range to the north. It occupies a strategic location along the approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Spain's population numbers nearly 40 million people who are a composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types. Nearly all are Roman Catholic. The principal language is Castilian Spanish, with significant Catalan and Galician speakers as well as a small Basque minority.
Spain is a parliamentary monarchy. The monarch is hereditary, while the president is proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections. The legislative branch is bicameral, and there is a supreme court.
The Spanish government successfully worked to gain admission to the first group of countries launching the European single currency (Euro). Unemployment, nonetheless, remains the highest in the EU at 20%. Spain's exports are primarily cars and trucks, other machinery, and manufactured goods, while it imports machinery, transport equipment, fuels, semi-finished goods, foodstuffs, and consumer goods. Its primary trade relations are with the EU.
Spain has over 15,000 km of railways, over 346,000 km of highways (almost all paved), and approximately 3,500 km of pipelines. It has several ports and harbors both on the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. Two-thirds of its 66 airports have paved runways, and there are two heliports.
One of the nations on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden measures nearly 450,000 sq. km (slightly larger than California). Its climate is temperate in the south and subarctic in the north. Its terrain is mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands with mountains in the west. It occupies a strategic location along the Danish straits linking the Baltic and North Seas.
Sweden's population is just under 9 million people, comprised of white, Lapp (Sami), and foreign-born or first-generation immigrants (12%). The population is mostly (94%) Evangelical Lutheran.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy. The monarch is hereditary, but the prime minister is elected by Parliament. Sweden has a unicameral legislature and a supreme court. The capital is Stockholm.
Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. The main exports are machinery, motor vehicles, paper products, pulp and wood, and iron and steel products. Its imports are machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, and motor vehicles. Most of Sweden's trade is within the EU, with the U.S. accounting for less than 10%.
Sweden has over 13,000 km of railways and about 138,000 km of highways (more than 100,000 km paved). It has over 2,000 km of navigable waterways and several ports and harbors. About 145 of its over 250 airports have paved runways, and there is one heliport.
Switzerland is a small (41,290 sq. km, less than twice the size of New Jersey), landlocked nation nestled in the Alps. It has a temperate climate which varies with altitude. Its terrain is mostly mountainous with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes. Natural hazards include landslides and flash floods. Switzerland contains the highest elevations in Europe (along with southeastern France and northern Italy).
Switzerland has a population of over 7 million people of several ethnic groups. Most are Germanic (65%), but there are significant French and Italian representations. Roman Catholics (46%) are the largest religious group, with an almost equal amount of Protestants. There are more German-speakers (63.7%) than French (19%) or Italian (7.6%).
Switzerland is a federal republic with three branches of government: executive, legislative (bicameral Federal Assembly), and a supreme court. The capital is Bern.
Switzerland, a fundamentally prosperous and stable modern economy with a per capita GDP 15% above that of the big West European economies, experienced an export-driven upturn in its economy in 1998. The growing political and economic union of Europe suggests that Switzerland's time-honored neutral separation is becoming increasingly obsolete. Thus, when the surrounding trade partners launched the Euro on 1 January 1999, their firms began prodding Swiss exporters and importers to keep their accounts in Euros. Switzerland's principal exports and imports include machinery, chemicals, and metals. Over 60% of its trade is with the EU.
Switzerland has nearly 4,500 km of railways and over 71,000 km of paved highways. It has 65 km of waterways plus 12 navigable lakes. Forty-two of its 67 airports have paved runways.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists primarily of the island of Great Britain and one-sixth of the island of Ireland (in the northern part). It totals 244, 820 sq. km of area, making it slightly smaller than Oregon. It has a temperate climate, moderated by the North Atlantic Current. The terrain is mostly rugged hills and low mountains with level to rolling plains in the east and southeast. The UK lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes. It is only 35 km from France and is now linked by tunnel under the English Channel.
The population of the UK is just under 60 million people. The main ethnic groups are English (81.5%), Scottish (9.6%), (Irish 2.4%), and Welsh (1.9%). The largest religious group is Anglican, which is nearly half the population. The next largest is Catholic, making up nearly 15% of the population. The main language is English, although Welsh and Scottish (a form of Gaelic) are also spoken in those areas.
Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the nineteenth century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. It is a constitutional monarchy. The monarch is hereditary, but the prime minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons, part of the bicameral legislature. The judicial branch is part of the House of Lords. Several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life. The capital is London.
The British Empire covered approximately one-fourth of the Earth's surface at its zenith. In the first half of the twentieth century, its strength was seriously depleted by two world wars. Since the end of World War II, the British Empire has been dismantled, and Britain has rebuilt itself into a prosperous, modern European nation with significant international political, cultural, and economic influence. Britain is debating the degree of its integration with continental Europe. While a member of the EU, for the time being it is staying out of the Euro monetary system. The UK is one of the world's great trading powers and financial centers, and its essentially capitalistic economy ranks among the four largest in Western Europe. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP, while industry continues to decline in importance, now employing only 18% of the workforce. The UK's exports are primarily manufactured goods, fuels, and chemicals. It imports manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, and foodstuffs. Its principal trading partners are the EU and the U.S.
The UK has nearly 17,000 km of railways and 372,000 km of paved highways. It has about 15,000 km of pipelines. The UK is a maritime nation with numerous ports and harbors and 3,200 km of waterways. More than three-quarters of its almost 500 airports have paved runways. There are twelve heliports.
Yugoslavia consists primarily of the regions known as Serbia and Montenegro and includes the highly volatile province of Kosovo. Serbia and Montenegro have asserted the formation of a joint independent state, but this entity has not been formally recognized as a state by the U.S. Yugoslavia is located on the Adriatic Sea. Its combined area is approximately 102,350 sq. km, which is slightly smaller than Kentucky (Serbia is slightly larger than Maine; Montenegro is slightly smaller than Connecticut). It has a continental climate in the north and a Mediterranean climate in the South. It normally experiences relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland. The terrain is extremely varied with rich fertile plains in the north, limestone ranges and basins in the east, ancient mountains and hills in the southeast, and an extremely high shoreline off the coast. It is subject to destructive earthquakes. It controls one of the major land routes from western Europe to Turkey and the near east (Southwest Asia).
The total population of Yugoslavia is estimated at over 11 million people. However, all data dealing with population is subject to considerable error because of the dislocations caused by military action and ethnic cleansing. About two-thirds of the population are Serbs with Albanians, Montenegrins, and Hungarians in sizable groups. The main religion is Orthodox (65%) but 19% profess to be Muslim. As with other population figures, these numbers may fluctuate significantly. The principal language is Serb-Croatian.
The government is a republic with three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. There is considerable unrest in the region. The capital of Yugoslavia (as well as Serbia) is Belgrade, and the capital of Montenegro is Podgorica.
The swift collapse of the Yugoslav federation in 1991 has been followed by highly destructive warfare, the destabilization of republic boundaries, and the breakup of important inter-republic trade flows. Output in Yugoslavia dropped by half in 199293. Like the other former Yugoslav republics, it had depended on its sister republics for large amounts of energy and manufactures. Wide differences in climate, mineral resources, and levels of technology among the republics accentuated this interdependence, as did the communist practice of concentrating much industrial output in a small number of giant plants. The breakup of many of the trade links, the sharp drop in output as industrial plants lost suppliers and markets, and the destruction of physical assets in the fighting all have contributed to the economic difficulties of the republics. Reliable statistics continue to be hard to come by. Furthermore, international sanctions continue to restrict the economy as well as foreign investment. This is not likely to change until the Kosovo problem is resolved and significant changes in the government occur.
Yugoslavia has nearly 4,000 km of railways and over 50,000 km of highways (90% paved). It has over 2,000 km of pipelines and several ports and harbors. Eighteen of its forty-eight airports have paved runways.