Western Europe is distinguished from Central and Eastern Europe by geography and also by differences of history and culture, although these boundaries are subject to considerable overlap and fluctuation and sometimes differentation is difficult. The concept of Western Europe is also associated with liberal democracy; and its countries are generally deemed to be well within the American cultural hegemony.
Until recently Western Europe could safely be said to be comprised of the countries of the European Union plus Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Norway, San Marino, and Monaco. However many countries in what are (or were) regarded as Eastern or Central Europe such as Poland and the Czech Republic are now seeking accession to the European Union. It is likely that increased economic and cultural ties with Western European countries will lead to a westward migration as accession occurs, and that the definition of Western Europe will again have to be redrawn at some point in the future.