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Map of Central Europe

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Central Europe is an area of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. The term is becoming widespread just like the interest in the region itself after the end of the Cold War, which, along with the Iron Curtain, had divided Europe politically into East and West, splitting Europe in half. Central European journals are published.

Geographical midpoints of Europe according to different criteriaThe concept of Central Europe, and that of a common identity, is somewhat elusive. However, scholars assert that a distinct "Central European culture, as controversial and debated the notion may be, exists." It is based on "similarities emanating from historical, social and cultural characteristics", and it is identified as having been "one of the world's richest sources of creative talent" between the 17th and 20th centuries. A UN paper employs 8 factors "to define a cultural region called 'Central Europe'". Cross Currents: A Yearbook of Central European Culture characterizes Central Europe "as an abandoned West or a place where East and West collide".

From the 2000's on, Central Europe is going through a phase of "strategic awakening", with initiatives like the CEI, Centrope or V4. While the region's economy shows high disparities with regard to income,all Central European countries are listed by the Human Development Index as "very high development" countries.