Someone just made a synonym for . Do you agree that this is the way it should be?

Personally I mostly disagree with them being synonyms. European Union is not the same as Europe by any stretch of imagination, and there are questions that pertain to the EU but not to all of Europe.

(One example — I'm sure there will be plenty more as the site matures.)

  • Upvoting because this is an important question since the synonym has already been created. This is not intended as a vote for or against. For my position please see my answer. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 9:24

4 Answers 4


No they should definitely not be synonyms. I'm travelling around Europe right now and any day now will step outside the EU but still be in Europe when I head from Bulgaria to Serbia or the Republic of Macedonia or Albania. Also even Switzerland (and its neighbour Lichtenstein) are not in the EU and it is pretty important even you feel you can discount the developing countries.

Three are several important overlapping entities: Europe geographically, Europe politically and/or culturally, the European Union, and also Schengen.

It's fine to use one tag for the first two but the last two must be separate because they involve difference of high importance for travellers, including what paperwork and even visas might be needed.

  • 4
    I agree wholeheartedly; europe, eu and schengen each warrant their own tag. (I think europe would be by far the most commonly used one, while eu would typically be used in questions that specifically relate to the EU as a political entity.)
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 9:54
  • 4
    By the way, for those not so well acquainted with the various supranational European entities, this diagram might help.
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 9:57
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    Totally agreee, should not be synonyms. Europe, EU, Schengen, UK, Great Britain, England, so many people get variations of these confused but none of these are synonymous with each other.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 12:03
  • @Jonik As long as you're aware that it's a simplification (it doesn't deal with overseas territories). Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 21:22
  • Since nearly everyone seems to agree, can we un-synonym the tags? (I'm not sure of what privileges are required, but I guess e.g. @Mark can do it?)
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 17:13
  • all taken care of.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 19:18
  • +1 I totally agree with you. But it is spelled Liechtenstein ;) Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 20:15
  • @Roflcopter: My idiolect has its own spelling d-; Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 21:51

They've now been un-synonymised, hope that's ok with everyone!

  • Do you know if any questions ended up with the wrong tag as a result of them being combined? Were you able to roll back the merge or did you have to separate them some more simple way? Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 14:18
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    @hippietrail, there was only one question with "eu" tag and I fixed that. Also searched for any older EU questions to retag and found this (a closed question, which I nevertheless retagged but apparently that didn't make it through the edit queue).
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 10:51
  • Thanks Jonik, and I fixed that closed one now too. Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 11:41

i still read EU more as EUrope than as European Union in my head...

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    With locals, it tends to be the opposite (saying “Europe” to mean “the ee you”). Still, there is a difference, and it's relevant often enough that the tags shouldn't be synonyms, any more than america should be a synonym with usa or england with uk. Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 22:31
  • I think might depend a lot which part of Europe you're from whether you would casually use these terms the same. Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 7:34

Europe is a so blurry entity that one should always clearly state what it represents for his/her point of view:

  • money (Euroland)
  • visa (Schengen)
  • geography (from Atlantic to Ural)
  • history and religion
  • geopolitic (NATO)
  • sport and culture (UEFA, Eurovision song contest)
  • ...

Even European Union (EU) may not be accurate depending on the question.

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