Southern Europe or sometimes Mediterranean Europe is a region of the European continent. There is no clear definition of the term which can vary depending on whether geographic, cultural, linguistic or historical factors are taken into account. It is generally agreed that Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, more generally the Mediterranean countries of the European continent, are part of Southern Europe. The Occitania and the 3% of Turkish territory within European lands are also included in most definitions of the term.
Geographically, Southern Europe would be the south half of the landmass of Europe. This definition is relative, with no clear limits. The Alps and Massif Central mountains constitute a physical barrier between Italy and France and the rest of Europe.
Geopolitical definition of the United Nations
For its official works and publications, the United Nations Organization groups countries under a classification of regions. Southern Europe, as defined by the United Nations (the sub-regions according to the UN), comprises the following countries and territories:
- The Iberian Peninsula
- The Italian peninsula
- The Balkan Peninsula