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Europe is a continent in the northern hemisphere, bounded by the northern Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Ural Mountains to the east and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

It is home to the European Union, a supra-national organization which currently has 27 member states. A much broader organization, the Council of Europe, includes all European states, except for Belarus (not permitted to join due to human rights concerns), Vatican City (not interested in joining, and probably wouldn't fit in well due to its special religious nature), and some states with less than full recognition - Kosovo being the most notable and most widely-recognized, but there also being others such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Countries in Europe

One problem with coming up with such a list is deciding the precise boundaries of Europe. Although it is defined geographically, the decision about its precise boundaries depends on cultural and political factors too. For example, both Turkey and Russia have a majority of their territory in Asia not Europe, but they are still generally classed as European states. Some of the states of the Caucasus are technically part of Asia too, but are likewise linked to Europe culturally and politically; the same can be said for Cyprus. Kazakhstan has some of its territory in Europe, but is generally considered a Central Asian rather than European state.

Dependent territories

This refers to territories in Europe which have some special status in their country's law, and to which the usual laws of their parent country often do not apply. They often have significant autonomy, and are a lot smaller than their parent entity. Some European countries also have dependent territories outside Europe - in particular France and the United Kingdom control many islands around the world, the leftovers of their once vast global empires. But this list only includes those dependent territories which are actually considered part of Europe.

Technically speaking, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not actually part of the United Kingdom - they are crown dependencies, that is to say separate possessions of the British crown. Thus they are unlike other British overseas territories such as Gibraltar. At the same time, their international affairs and defence are handled by the United Kingdom government, so this distinction does not make that much difference in practice.

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