Detailed Timeline of European History

 Detailed Timeline of
European History

European History (1989-2008)

<<  Post-War Status for
Each Country

2008 Status for Each

USSR collapse, Rise of the European
Union, Islamic Extremism

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European History (1989 – 2008)


Economy: One of the poorest
economies in Europe. Still trying to make the transition from a gray
economy (where goods are not typically sold through typical sales
channels, such as authorized distributors/importers). Unreliable power,
unclear property rights, inadequate infrastructure (such as roads), have
held Albanian back economically.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Muslim (Sunni) 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman
Catholic 10%. Serbian population primarily Serbian Orthodox. Albanians
were largely Muslim until after WWII, when it became communist.
Following the Soviet policy on religion, religious practices were deemed
illegal until 1990. But most Albanians are inactive religiously, largely
due to its suppression for nearly 50 years after the war. Christians and
Muslims have generally co-existed peacefully in Albania, as nationalism
has traditionally taken precedence over religious affiliation.
Demographics: Albanian 95%, Greek 3% (southern portion
traditionally Greek territory).
Foreign Policy: Generally focused on maintaining friendly
relations with other Balkan nations, and protecting Albanians in other
Balkan nations, such as Serbia (supporting Kosovar independence for
instance). Has led to conflict with Greece, where there have been issues
with ethnic Albanians.
Population: 3,619,778 (2008)

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Economy: Advanced, strong
economy, which has strengthened since joining the EU in the 90s,
reducing reliance on Germany, enabling diversification, increasing trade
Government: Democratic Federal Republic (Federal meaning
individual states maintain political sovereignty, consistent with
tradition of autonomous principalities during German “Holy Roman Empire”
of Middle Ages).
Religion: Protestant 4.7%, Roman Catholic 73.6%, Muslim 4.2%.
Secularist trend. Austrian Catholics obligated to pay 1% tax to Austrian
Roman Catholic Church. Survey: 54% believe in God, 34% in some other
form of intelligent design, and 8% atheist/agnostic. More religious than
most of Europe (especially to the west), but like Europe in general,
downward trend in religiosity.
Demographics: 91.1% Austrian, vast majority of remaining
population of European descent outside of Austria (especially Slavs from
former Balkan possessions – comprised of former Yugoslavia), similar
demographic profile as Germany.
Foreign Policy: Declared “perpetual neutrality” in 1955, upon
gaining sovereignty by Allies after WWII. Has largely maintained this
policy ever since, although cooperating with EU in Iraq (giving access
to air space) in 1991 and 1995.
Population: 8,205,533 (2008)


Economy: Initially after the
collapse of USSR in 1990, Belarus began taking steps toward democracy
and capitalism like other former socialist republics. But since the mid
1990s, Belarus has taken steps back towards socialism and a
state-planned economy. It has re-nationalized many private companies,
imposed price controls and expanded the state’s right to take over
controls of private companies. It has also increased the communist
practice of redistributing wealth and income. As a result, foreign
investment has been discouraged. Despite this, the economy has exhibited
strong growth in recent years, in large part due to heavily discounted
oil and natural gas it receives from Russia, as a result of remaining
aligned with Russia.
Government: Dictatorship (officially a republic, but dictatorship
in reality)
Religion: Eastern Orthodox 80%. Constitution protects freedom of
religion, but in reality, due to dictatorial tendencies of the current
regime, the state reserves the right to prohibit religious practice
deemed harmful.
Demographics: Belarusian 81%, Russian 11% (long part of Russian
rule, population redistribution in an attempt to “Russianize”,
especially during the era of the USSR), Polish 4% (fluctuating borders
with Poland throughout history, up through WWII), Ukrainian 2% (closely
related, part of USSR together). Population has been in decline in
recent years due to low birth rate and net emigration.
Foreign Policy: Leans heavily toward Russia. Highly reliant on
Russia politically and economically, as Russia is its largest import and
export partner. Recent socialist and dictatorial policies have distanced
Belarus from the West and the rest of Europe, causing it to cleave even
tighter to Russia.
Population: 9,685,768 (2008) – The World’s Largest Maps Store!


Economy: Advanced capitalistic
economy. Highly integrated into the pan-European market, since dependent
on imports and international trade. Relatively few natural resources,
forcing significant trade deficit, but central location makes it a
natural hub for trade. Economy somewhat sluggish since worldwide
slowdown from 2001-2003.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place).
Religion: Roman Catholic 75%, most of remaining 25% Protestant.
Still very secular, but Roman Catholicism has engendered greater
religiosity throughout Europe. Nations dominated by Catholicism like
Belgium tend to be a little more religious (although still very secular
trend). Survey: 43% believe in God, 29% in some other form of
intelligent design, 27% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: 92% Belgian, highly homogenous. 60% speak Dutch
(mostly northern half), 40% French (mostly southern half), as French
began settling in the south beginning with the Napoleonic era, and
afterward. Belgium now somewhat divided between these sectarian lines,
resulting in amendments to the constitution allowing regional autonomy,
adding a federalist element to government.
Foreign Policy: Part of NATO
Population: 10,403,951 (2008)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnian War (1992-95)
produced devastating effect. Still an underdeveloped economy as far as
Europe is concerned, but showing signs of growth and improvement.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, Other
14%. Ethnic Bosniaks are primarily Muslim, while ethnic Serbs (generally
Orthodox) and Croats (generally Roman Catholic) primarily Christian.
Ethnic Bosniaks were unlike other European people that came under
Ottoman rule during the time of the Ottoman Empire, most of which
retained their Christian beliefs and practices. Bosniaks, on the other
hand, were religiously decentralized before the Ottoman conquest, and
found it easier to abandon Christianity to take advantage of the Muslim
preference within the Ottoman Empire, causing Bosniaks to largely
convert to Islam.
Demographics: Bosniak 48%, Croat 14% (Yugoslavia), Serb 37%
(holdovers from population intermixing during era of Yugoslavia).
Foreign Policy: Engaged in law suit against Serbia for war crimes
and charges of genocide during Bosnian War from 1992 – 95. Currently
engaged in minor border disputes with Croatia and Serbia & Montenegro.

Population: 4,590,310 (2008)

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Economy: Strong growth since
1996, but still the second poorest nation in the EU, and plagued by
corruption which hinders the economy.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox 83%, Muslim 12%. Survey: 40% believe
in God, 40% in some other intelligent design, 13% atheist/agnostic. Different religions
peacefully co-exist.
Demographics: Bulgarian 84%, Turk 9% (holdovers from Ottoman
rule), Roma 5%. One of the slowest population growth rates, with
population contraction since escaping Soviet rule in 1990s, due to
economic crisis (especially in years immediately following independence)
and the consequential high emigration.
Foreign Policy: Maintaining friendly relations with Russia a
primary objective, as it is highly dependent upon Russia for raw
materials and energy. No real controversies at this time. Joined NATO.

Population: 7,262,675 (2008)


Economy: Damaging warfare from
1991 to 1995 with Serbia set the economy back, causing it to miss the
foreign investment dollars that poured into central and eastern Europe
in the years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Has
improved slowly in recent years, and is helped by tourism, as Croatia
has become the 18th most popular tourist destination, but still far
behind western European economies.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 88%.
Demographics: Croat 90%, Serb 5% (holdover from long time
Serbian/Yugoslavian rule).
Foreign Policy: Joined NATO. Normalizing relations with Serbia
after end of Yugoslavia Wars, where Croatia gained independence.
Currently engaged in minor border disputes with Slovenia (along with
disputes over territorial waters in Bay of Piran – Adriatic Sea), Bosnia
and Serbia.
Population: 4,491,543 (2008)

Czech Republic

One of the strongest
economies of all former communist states. A historically strong
industrial power, as much of Germany’s industrialization during the late
19th and early 20th centuries was located in Bohemia, the current Czech
Republic. Has diversified its economy since.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 26.8%, 59%+ unaffiliated, one of least
religious nations in Europe. Survey: 19% believe in God, 50% in some
other form of intelligent design, 30% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: Czech 90.4%.
Foreign Policy: One of the world’s greatest advocates for
promoting human rights, regardless of prospects of doing business with
the ruling regime. Joined NATO in 1999.
Population: 10,220,911 (2008)

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Economy: Strong, advanced
economy with high living standards. Net exporter of food & energy (oil &
natural gas), well-positioned for modern challenges of food and energy
shortages. Welfare state.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place)
Religion: State religion is Danish National Church (Evangelical
Lutheran), which is partially supported by public funds. The monarchs
must be members. Clergy also perform certain government tasks, such as
caretaking for cemeteries and record keeping. 95% belong to DNC (less
than 5% active), 3% other Christian, 2% Muslim. Survey: 31% believe in
God, 49% some other form of intelligent design, 19% atheist/agnostic.
Highly secular country, although most are members of the state-sponsored
Church due to history. There is no financial incentive to belong, nor
penalty in not belonging.
Demographics: 91% Danish, remainder from other Europe, South
Asia, Middle East.
Foreign Policy: UN, NATO, not active in U.S.-led campaigns in
Iraq, Afghanistan.
Population: 5,484,723 (2008)


Economy: Modern, free-market
economy. Has made tremendous economic progress since independence from
USSR in 1991. High per capita income levels for central/eastern Europe.
Experiencing inflation since 2007. Limited resources, but strategic
location enables it to be a transportation hub.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran 13.6%, Orthodox 12.8%, mostly
unaffiliated/unspecified. Comprehensive statistics/info not available.

Demographics: Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6% (long-time under
Russian rule), most of remainder other East Slav/European.
Foreign Policy: Since independence, close cooperation with other
European nations (especially to the west, and Nordic countries) has been
a key objective, as evident by joining the EU and NATO. Like Finland,
wary of a powerful Russian state, due to centuries of unwanted
rule/domination by Russia. Geopolitically vulnerable to Russia, due to
long, hard-to-defend border with Russia (easy to transport troops
across, no natural barriers), and low population density.
Population: 1,307,605 (2008)


Economy: Advanced, capitalistic
economy. High unemployment has been a problem in this natural
resource-limited nation.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (National church, where
it is not a state church, but presides over certain religiously
ceremonial functions in government) 82.5%, None: 15.1%, remaining mostly
other Christian. Survey: 41% believe in God, 41% some other form of
intelligent design, 19% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.6% (long-time Swedish
possession during post-Middle Ages)
Foreign Policy: Primary concern is Russia, generally opposes
measures in EU that might strengthen Russia, or make EU members too
reliant on Russia, as it had long been its greatest nemesis/threat.
Sweden had been its greatest threat before Russia, with the dividing
point around the year 1700, but relations with Sweden and other Nordic
nations are currently very cooperative and friendly. Geopolitically
vulnerable to Russia, due to long, hard-to-defend border with Russia
(easy to transport troops across, no natural barriers), and low
population density.
Population: 5,244,749 (2008)

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Economy: Fairly socialized
(high tax rate, gov’t ownership of many companies, banks, etc.), but
working toward greater privatization and open market policies. Since the
90s, economy has grown at a more sluggish rate than other EU nations,
but remains one of the largest economies in the world.
Government: Democratic Republic.
Religion: 83-88% Roman Catholic, 5-10% Muslim, 2% Protestant, 1%
Jewish. Strong Catholic tradition which is still in force today, long
the official religion of the state. With modern secularism trend, most
Catholics are not active church goers, likely claiming religious
affiliation based on family tradition. Only 34% in recent poll claim to
believe in God. 27% other ID, 33% atheist.
Demographics: Majority French, with sizable Arab/Muslim (former
colonies in ME and N Africa) and Black African population (African slave
Foreign Policy: Participated in Afghanistan invasion, but
denounced invasion of Iraq.
Population: 64,057,790 (2008)


Economy: Europe’s largest
economy. Still strong in manufacturing (traditional strength, since 19th
century), while also developing strong service sector. East Germany,
which was far behind West Germany economically after the 1990
reunification of German, has been a drag on overall economy, but in past
few years, growth has begun to improve again.
Government: Democratic Federal Republic (Federal meaning
individual states maintain political sovereignty, consistent with
tradition of autonomous principalities during the German “Holy Roman
Empire” of the Middle Ages).
Religion: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%. More
religious than France and the United Kingdom, but on secularist trend.
Survey: 47% believe in God, 25% in some other form of intelligent
design, and 25% do not believe in any intelligent design or God.
Demographics: 91.5% German, vast majority of remaining population
of European descent outside of Germany.
Foreign Policy: Focuses on strong relations with other European
nations, especially France and Russia, in light of their series of
devastating wars during the 19th and 20th centuries with each. Supported
Afghanistan War, but not Iraq War.
Population: 82,369,548 (2008)


Economy: Fairly strong economy,
especially for east/central Europe, which features under-developed
economies compared to the west. With a multitude of excellent ports,
relies heavily on the transportation industry, as well as the tourism
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1%. Survey: 81% believe in
God, 16% in some other intelligent design, 3% atheist/agnostic.
Constitution recognizes Greek Orthodox as prevailing religion, but
guarantees freedom of religion. Extremely religious for Europe, 3rd most
religious next to Malta and Cyprus. Greeks are a people especially proud
of heritage, due to important link to history-altering events and
civilizations. Could explain why they identify with the Greek Orthodox
religion with such near-unanimity, as it has long been viewed as a
protector of “Greekness”. As a result, Greece (due to high religious
affiliation and activity) is highly religious, especially compared to
Europe in general.
Demographics: Greek 93%.
Foreign Policy: Strained relationship with Turkey, over the
Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus, which had a large
Greek population. Persists to this day, as northern third of island
remains the Turkey-friendly nation of Northern Cyprus, recognized by
Turkey alone as a sovereign nation. Greece and Turkey also disagree on
the dividing point in the Aegean Sea, which includes several islands. It
also has issues with Macedonian over the name of the country, which is
historically associated with the Greek people (beginning with the
ancient kingdom of Macedon). Harbors issues with Albania over the
treatment of one another’s foreign nationals.
Population: 10,722,816 (2008)


Economy: Like other former
Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe, has made the transformation
from centrally-planned economy to free-market economy. Last few years
have brought troubling developments with increase in unemployment and
tax rate, with decrease in consumer spending.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 52%, Other Christian 23%, None 25%.
Survey: 44% believe in God, 31% in some other form of intelligent
design, 19% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: Hungarian 92%.
Foreign Policy: Joined NATO, efforts to collaborate with western
governments to garner support against potential threats from Russia and
even Germany, historically Hungary’s two most significant threats.
Terrain characterized by plains and low hills makes Hungary difficult to
defend by military might alone.
Population: 9,930,915 (2008)


Economy: Highly advanced,
productive economy. Highly dependent on the fishing industry and fish
exports, with increasing importance of technical and tourism industries.
Welfare state.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: State church: National Church of Iceland (Lutheran)
86%, nearly all of remaining is other Christian. Low religious activity
like much of Europe, and especially Nordic countries. 38% believe in
God, 48% some other form of intelligent design, 11% atheist/agnostic.

Demographics: Norse/Celt Icelanders 94%, most of the rest other
Foreign Policy: Supported Iraq, Afghanistan invasions, but not
militarily (no standing army)
Population: 304,367 (2008)


Economy: An advanced economy,
experiencing strong growth since the 90s. The second wealthiest nation
per capita in Europe.
Government: Democratic Republic.
Religion: 88.4% Roman Catholic, 4.6% other Christian. Strong
Catholic tradition which is still in force today. Survey: 73% believe in
God, 22% some other form of intelligent design, 4% atheist.
Demographics: 88.9% Irish
Foreign Policy: Neutral
Population: 4,156,119 (2008)


Economy: World’s seventh
largest economy, and Europe’s fourth largest, but lags behind other
super economies in growth. This is due to high tax burden, and the
underdeveloped southern portion of the country, which has high
unemployment, and relies heavily on welfare. The northern and southern
halves had historically been separated after the demise of the Roman
Empire, under separate foreign rule. During the centuries of foreign
rule, the north was developed far better than the south, due to the fact
that it was primarily controlled by nearby German/Holy Roman
Empire/Austrian regimes, while the south was neglected by its far-off
foreign masters. As a result, the north held much more wealth upon
unification in 1861, than its counterparts to the south, a situation
that has yet to be equalized.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: 90% Roman Catholic (about 1/3 practicing), other 10% is
largely Protestant (or Other Christian), about 1.5% Muslim; For Europe,
highly religious, due to dominant influence of Catholicism throughout
history, including recent history, as the Church keeps its HQ in Italy
(Rome). Only recently removed from status as official state religion,
for which it received preferential treatment and government funding.
Survey: 74% believe in God, 16% some other form of intelligent design,
6% atheist/agnostic.
Demographics: 95% Italian, 1% Romanian (post WWII immigration for
employment opportunities), 1% Arab (North African from across
Mediterranean Sea).
Foreign Policy: Has supported UN missions, by contributing troops
to Africa and Afghanistan. Withdrew troops in Iraq.
Population: 58,145,321 (2008)

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Economy: Kosovo’s citizens are
the poorest in Europe. Perhaps the most under-developed economy in
Europe. Unemployment is currently at about 40-50%. Business harmed by
unresolved international status and unreliable power. Kosovo had been
Yugoslavia’s poorest province, and was unprepared to enter competitive
world market.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Albanian population about 97% Muslim (Sunni), about 3%
Roman Catholic. Serbian population primarily Serbian Orthodox.
Therefore, Kosovo’s population is largely Muslim.
Demographics: Albanian 88%, Serb 7% (long part of Serbia).
Foreign Policy: Primarily focused on gaining widespread
international recognition as a sovereign nation. At least 43 nations
already recognize independence. Full, or near complete recognition will
open up foreign investment.
Population: 2,126,708 (2008)


Economy: One of fastest growing
economies in Europe since 2000, but now experiencing inflation and
increased debt/real estate prices, fueling concerns of a possible
economic bubble. Has privatized most of its economy with the exception
of a few large, state-owned utilities.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Mostly Christian or unaffiliated. Survey: 37% believe
in God, 49% some other form of intelligent design, 10% atheist/agnostic.

Demographics: Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6% (long standing Russian
rule), most of the rest Eastern Slavic (Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish),
Largely Latvian and Baltic German before Russian rule beginning in 18th
century, through USSR era ending in 1990.
Foreign Policy: EU and NATO in 2004. Like Finland, wary of a
powerful Russian state, due to centuries of unwanted rule/domination by
Russia. Geopolitically vulnerable to Russia, due to long, hard-to-defend
border with Russia (easy to transport troops across, no natural
barriers), and low population density.
Population: 2,245,423 (2008)


Economy: Unlike other former Soviet Republics, Lithuania embraces
trade with Russia, experiencing strong growth since the Russian economic
recovery beginning in 1998, and still ascending this day as energy
prices continue to rise. Lithuania has also increased its trade with
western partners as well. Transition to a privatized, free-market
economy is nearly complete. Since joining the EU in 2004, has seen a
large emigration rate to other, more established European nations with
higher wages, but strong growth is closing the gap more each year.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%. Bucking the trend
of Europe, church activity has increased since escaping Soviet control
in 1990. 49% believe in God, 36% other ID, 12% atheist.
Demographics: Latvian 83.4%, Polish 6.7% (historically tied
together, as kingdoms were united for a long time during late middle
ages), Russian 6.3 (long time Russian rule – soviet republic –
population exchange).
Foreign Policy: EU and NATO in 2004.
Population: 3,565,205 (2008)


Economy: Extremely strong and
diversified economy. Number one in the world in GDP per capita. High
standard of living.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place).
Religion: Roman Catholic 87%, Nations dominated by Catholicism
like Luxembourg tend to be a little more religious (although still very
secular, with the trend deepening this). Survey: 44% believe in God, 28%
believe in some other form of intelligent design, 22% atheist/agnostic.

Demographics: Luxembourgers the vast majority. Mix of Celtic
origin, Germanic peoples that overran the territory during the era of
migrations, along with a French blend.
Foreign Policy: NATO
Population: 486,006 (2008)


Economy: Least developed
industrial infrastructure of former Yugoslavia, so had to play catch up
upon dissolution of Yugoslavia. One of lowest per capita GDPs in Europe,
and one of least developed economies in Europe with extremely high
unemployment at about 35%. Suffered from guaranteed market due to
state-planned economy under the Yugoslavian communist regime, as well as
economic embargo imposed by Greece over disputed name (since Macedonia
is also a region within Greece). Since 1996 though, it has experienced
steady but slow growth.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Macedonian Orthodox 65%, Muslim 33%. Demographics:
Macedonian 64%, Albanian 25% (western part historically part of Albanian
lands), Turkish 4% (holdovers from long time Ottoman rule).
Foreign Policy: Primary focus to become more integrated in
European community, and complete recognition as a sovereign state. Main
dispute with Greece is over the country’s name, which refers to
historical Greek kingdom (Macedon), and region within Greece. The matter
is still under negotiation.
Population: 2,061,315 (2008)


Economy: One of the poorest
countries in Europe. Favorable climate and terrain/soil for farming, but
no natural energy sources. In which case, must import all energy
supplies, therefore highly dependent upon Russia. Dispute with Russia in
2005/2006 over pricing resulted in economic sanctions against Moldova.
Brought about economic slow down during these years, from which it is
just recovering. Illustrates overdependence on Russia.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Eastern Orthodox 98%
Demographics: Moldovan 78%, Ukrainian 8% (fluctuating borderlands
with Ukraine throughout history), Russian 6% (as part of USSR –
population redistribution).
Foreign Policy: Historically a Romanian people/nation, but broken
off by Russia after WWII. Romania still interested in Moldova, possibly
even interested in eventually absorbing Moldova. Many Moldovans may
actually welcome such an outcome, while the current government is very
resistant of such a possibility. Russians maintain troops in turbulent
Transnistria region (eastern edge of Moldova), against the will of the
Moldovan government. Moldova also tries to maintain a delicate balance
with Russia, upon which it is overly dependent for energy, while trying
to establish relations with the rest of Europe.
Population: 4,324,450 (2008)


Economy: Suffered due to break
up of Yugoslavia, as it initiated transition from communist economy to
free-market economy, eliminating guaranteed business for its industrial
sector. Sanctions were assessed against Serbia and Montenegro, as Serbia
was seen as the aggressor in the Wars by the international community,
further damaging the economy. Montenegro has experienced recent
improvements, even after separating from Serbia.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Serbian Orthodox 74%, Muslim 18%, Roman Catholic 4%.

Demographics: Montenegrin 43%, Serb 32%, Bosniak 8%, Albanian 5%,
Other 12%. Those that identify themselves as Montenegrins versus Serbs
varies from survey to survey, due to the controversy/confusion as to
whether Montenegrins and Serbs are indeed separate or the same ethnic
Foreign Policy: Gaining full recognition of independence
(declared in 2006) in all nations throughout the world, including
Serbia. Already recognized by most, including all western nations. Goal
to achieve EU and NATO memberships.
Population: 678,177 (2008)


Economy: Very strong economy.
Reliant on foreign trade as it is home to some of the key ports in all
of Europe.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place)
Religion: Highly secular; Roman Catholic 31%, Protestant 20%,
Muslim 5.5%, None 41%; Survey: 34% believe in God, 37% some other form
of intelligent design, 27% atheist.
Demographics: 83% Dutch, 9% non-western (such as Turks, North
African, Indonesian – former colonies), 8% western (European), highly
Foreign Policy: Two high profile murders of a politician and
artist Theo van Gogh by radical Muslims, a response to anti-Muslim
stances each had taken. Not accustomed to political violence, resulted
in public upheaval about immigration and Islam within the Netherlands.

Population: 16,645,313 (2008)


Economy: Welfare capitalism. A
welfare state with a free market economy. Rich in natural resources,
including fish and oil. World’s third largest exporter of oil (next to
Saudi Arabia and Russia). Strong, highly advanced economy, due to
characteristics of a Nordic/western economy (service-oriented), but with
fortune of massive oil reservoirs. Most western economies are net
importers of oil and natural gas (by a large margin), while most oil
production economies are not very advanced. Norway has the best of both
worlds, putting it in a premium position for the modern global economy.

Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place).
Religion: Church of Norway is the state religion, 86% belong,
most of the rest belong to other Christian churches. Survey: 32% believe
in God, 47% in some other form of intelligent design, 17%
atheist/agnostic. Low religious activity as becoming much more secular
like other Nordic/western nations. Church membership primarily used for
life/traditional events such as baptism, marriage, funerals.
Demographics: Vast majority (85+%) are Norwegian.
Foreign Policy: Fostering cooperation among Nordic nations,
participating and supporting EU and UN, serving as 3rd party mediator
among warring nations/factions.
Population: 4,644,457 (2008)


Economy: Since 1990, and
especially in recent years the Polish economy has improved
substantially, although still well behind other major European powers in
most metrics (unemployment, GDP per capita, average income, etc.). Still
overcoming centuries of devastating warfare and foreign occupation,
especially WWI and WWII, where Poland served as a battleground for
Germany and Russian fighting. Privatization still undergoing, as full
transition to free-market economy is near.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing – very high
for Europe). 80% believe in God. Highly religious for Europe. Unlike
other nations under Soviet sphere of influence during USSR era, Poland
was able to achieve a degree of autonomy and freedom of worship,
enabling it to continue religious tradition of Roman Catholicism. But
oppressed/controlled enough that Catholicism was a respite in a
difficult existence under Russian control. Very little immigration to
introduce diverse peoples of diverse spiritual beliefs.
Demographics: Polish 96.7%. Highly homogenous, very little
immigration due to harsh circumstances (mostly emigration), but things
are improving.
Foreign Policy: Joined EU (2004) and NATO in 1999. Interested in
establishing economic and diplomatic relations with all neighbors, and
especially the west, including the U.S. Still leery of Russia, due to
long history of being under its domination. In favor of any move that
might weaken Russia, and against any move that might strengthen Russia.
Geopolitically vulnerable, since wide open plains from Western Russia,
through Belarus and into Poland mean an easy path to invade.
Population: 38,500,696 (2008)


Economy: During 90s, offered
lower-cost manufacturing than most EU nations, producing growth rate
higher than the EU average. However, Eastern European nations that have
joined since have proven to be lower-cost producers, making Portugal
less competitive. As a result, it has experienced a growth rate below
the EU average since the 90s.
Government: Democratic Republic.
Religion: 84.5% Roman Catholic. Strong Catholic tradition which
is still in force today, long the official religion of the state. Low
percentage however attend church regularly. 6.5% atheist/agnostic,
fairly low compared to much of Europe.
Demographics: Statistics not available, but very small minority
population. Vast majority (probably 80-90%) Portuguese
Foreign Policy: Ceded last remaining colonies (Macau returned to
China in 1999, East Timor granted independence in 2002), ending
colonialism once and for all.
Population: 10,676,910 (2008)


Economy: Since becoming
independent from USSR in 1990, suffered severe economic issues until
after 2000, when growth began to increase steadily. Now at risk of
inflation, as most European economies are (but especially those with
less established/advanced economies, particularly in Eastern Europe).
Economy now largely privatized.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Eastern Orthodox 87%, Protestant 7.5%, Roman Catholic
5%, Muslim less than 1%,
Demographics: Romanian 90%, Hungarian 7% (holdovers from past
Hungarian rule), Roma 2.5%.
Foreign Policy: Joined NATO, EU. Friendly with all countries in
the region. Shares common history and language as Moldova, which is
historically part of Romania, but Moldova has resisted attempts to
unify, or to integrate more closely with Romania, politically or
Population: 22,246,862 (2008)


Economy: Economic problems
after the collapse of the USSR culminated in the Financial Crisis of
1998. Caused by global economic downturn, aftermath of currency
manipulation, expenditures from Chechen War, and compounded by deflation
in commodity prices of major Russian imports (oil, minerals, metals).
Inflation and unemployment skyrocketed, while shortages of almost every
critical item occurred. Strong and immediate recovery began in full
force the following year, as world commodity prices jumped sharply
(especially oil). This fueled an economic rally continuing into 2008,
thanks to increasing oil and commodity prices. Russia remains vulnerable
to world commodity prices, as oil, natural gas, timber and metals
account for about 80% of exports.
Government: Federal Republic (union of partially self-governing
Religion: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian
2%. Most of Russia citizens are atheist or non-practicing Russian
Orthodox Christians, as result of the anti-religious Soviet era.
Demographics: Russian 80%, Tatar 4% (middle age Tatar migrations
into Southern Russia, long time habitation there), Ukrainian 2% (USSR
connection), Unspecified 12%. High death rate has resulted in population
decrease, despite normal birth rate.
Foreign Policy: Primary objective is to reassert influence in
former Soviet states, especially in Eastern Europe, which served as an
important buffer for Russia. Opposes Kosovo independence, Serbian
pro-Western government, Ukraine potentially joining EU, preventing these
regions from growing further away from Russia politically, all in hopes
of re-asserting control.
Population: 140,702,094 (2008)


Economy: Still recovering from
frequent warfare during the 1990s, along with UN economic sanctions, as
it was seen as the aggressor during the Yugoslavian Wars. Unemployment
(18%) and national debt remain significant problems. But in the past few
years, the economy has really begun to grow. Serbia is traditionally a
dominant force in the Balkans, indicating the room it had to grow after
suffering a low point during the Yugoslavia Wars, where the world
essentially teamed against it.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Serbian Orthodox 85%, Roman Catholic 6%.
Demographics: Serb 83%, Hungarian 4% (Northern Serbia
historically under Hungarian rule).
Foreign Policy: Engaged in law suit filed by Bosnia & Herzegovina
for war crimes and charges of genocide during Bosnian War from 1992 –
95. Currently engaged in minor border disputes with Croatia and Bosnia.
Through diplomatic and other non-military means, trying to retain Kosovo
province, which seceded from Serbia in 2008. Trying to gain entry into
EU, as it attempts to shed its label as menace in region after the
Yugoslavia Wars.
Population: 10,159,046 (2008)


Economy: Since collapse of USSR
in 1990, and separating from Czechoslovakia in 1993, Slovakia has nearly
made the full transformation from a centrally-planned (communist)
economy to a free-market (capitalistic) economy. It has experienced
strong growth, especially since 2001, but unemployment remains high,
although it has improved from about 18% to 8% since 2004.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 69%, Protestant 11%, None 13%.
Demographics: Slovaks 84%, Hungarian 11% (long time Hungarian
rule during late and post-Middle Ages, fluctuating borders throughout
Foreign Policy: Member of NATO, supporting operations in
Afghanistan with non-military personnel.
Population: 5,455,407 (2008)


Economy: Advanced economy.
Highest GDP per capita of Central Europe (comprised of new EU economies
since Soviet collapse). Still a high degree of state control for a
European country, as privatization process has slowed. Taxes are high,
certain industries/companies protected from competitive market forces,
and foreign investment is low.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Roman Catholic 58%, Muslim 2.4%, None 37%. Survey: 37%
believe in God, 46% in some other form of intelligent design, 16%
Demographics: Slovene 83%.
Foreign Policy: NATO. Supportive of stabilizing Bosnia in Post-Yugo
War era, normalizing relations with Serbia after end of Yugo Wars, where
Slovenia gained independence. Currently engaged in minor border disputes
with Croatia, and disputes over territorial waters in Bay of Piran
(Adriatic Sea).
Population: 2,007,711 (2008)


Economy: Has experienced ups
and downs as the EU in general has, but has outpaced most EU nations in
important economic indicators.
Government: Constitutional Monarchy.
Religion: 94% Roman Catholic. Strong Catholic tradition which is
still in force today, long the official religion of the state. With
modern secularism trend, most Catholics are not active church goers,
likely claiming religious affiliation based on family tradition. Survey:
59% believe in God, 21% some other form of intelligent design, 18% do
not know (agnostic).
Demographics: 92% European (the vast majority of which are
Spaniards, or Spanish people), and 8% non-European (majority of which
are from Latin America, and a significant portion from North Africa –
former colonial possessions)
Foreign Policy: Contributed troops to Iraq War, but removed them
after Madrid terrorist bombings in 2004.
Population: 40,491,051 (2008)

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Economy: Advanced,
service-oriented economy. Free-market, capitalistic economy intermixed
with welfare state policies. High tax burden as a result. Has lagged
behind Norway and Denmark in recent years, in part due to stricter
regulations, and lacking the natural energy resources of Norway and
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy with monarch still
in place).
Religion: Lutheran 87%, Lutheran Church of Sweden was state
religion until 2000. Survey: 23% believe in God, 53% believe in some
other form of intelligent design, 23% atheist/agnostic. Like most of
Europe, secularization trend.
Demographics: 80%+ Swedish
Foreign Policy: Armed neutrality. Has not fought a war in almost
two centuries.
Population: 9,045,389 (2008)


Economy: On a per capita basis,
its economy performs better than most other European states. Banking is
a key, since Switzerland maintains banking secrecy (not opening up to
law enforcement of other nations), making it an attractive place for
wealthy individuals and trans-national corporations to store liquid
capital and assets. Extremely low unemployment.
Government: Federal Republic (democracy)
Religion: Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Muslim 4.3%.
Like most of Europe, growing secularist trend, but not as much so as
other states. Survey: 48% believe in God, 39% other form of intelligent
design, 9% atheist, 4% agnostic (don’t know).
Demographics: 65% Germanic lineage, 18% French, 10% Italian.
Historically, a confederation of Germanic “cantons” (provinces), with
German being the national language. A great deal of flux in western
border with France and southern border with Italy throughout centuries,
creating significant populations of respective peoples in west/southern
portions of Switzerland.
Foreign Policy: Maintains strict neutrality.
Population: 7,581,520 (2008)

United Kingdom

One of world’s most
advanced, leading economies. Growing welfare state. Strong growth since
1992. Has not joined the European Economic and Monetary Union (Euro
standardization, single market). Despite bringing the industrial
revolution to the world, manufacturing now declining in importance,
primarily service-driven economy (banking services, insurance, etc.).

Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy)
Religion: 71.6% Christian (led by Anglican – Church of England –
strong Protestant tradition, and Roman Catholic Church), 23.1% None,
2.7% Muslim. Survey – only 38% believe in God, but many belong to
Christian churches out of tradition, atheist/agnostic = 23%, leaving
about 39% that believe in some other form of intelligent design
(non-Judeo-Christian). The Church of England is the state religion,
although membership is not compulsory. Not supported by public funds,
but the Church of England retains representation in the UK Parliament.

Demographics: White 92.1% (English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish),
Black African 2% (from African Slave Trade era), Indian 1.8% (as in
India, former UK colony), Pakistani 1.3% (former UK colony).
Foreign Policy: Strong supporter of U.S.-backed “War on Terror”,
along with invasion of Iraq. Growing public sentiment against.
Population: 60,943,912


Economy: After independence
from USSR in 1991, set out to transform economy from state-planned to
free-market, but significant resistance has made this a slow and
incomplete transition, coupled with significant corruption. As a result,
the economy declined drastically during the 90s, compared to pre-1991
levels. Also damaged by overdependence on Russia for energy needs,
especially since it relies heavily on agriculture and industrialization.
Russia has inflated energy prices in recent years, even cutting off
service on occasion in response to pricing disputes and political
differences. Economy has been expanding the last few years due to global
price increases for steel, its leading export.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Ukraine Orthodox 84%.
Demographics: Ukrainian 78%, Russian 17% (population
redistribution during Russian rule, especially USSR effort to “Russianize”).
Population has been in decline in recent years due to low birth rate.

Foreign Policy: Maintains delicate balance between the west (rest
of Europe) and Russia. Russia still aims to exert control over Ukraine,
using energy as a lever, since Ukraine is highly dependent on Russian
energy. Yet, attempts to enhance relations with the west to offset
Russian influence and to increase markets for its exports.
Population: 45,994,287 (2008)

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