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Central Europe is the region around the Alps and Carpathian Mountains lying between the areas of Eastern and Western Europe. In addition, Northern, Southern and Southeastern Europe mean different regions, but in some way they may overlap Central Europe as well as each other.
The term has come back into fashion since the end of the Cold War, which had divided Europe politically into East and West, with the Iron Curtain splitting "Central Europe" in half. The understanding of the concept of Central Europe varies considerably from nation to nation, and also has from time to time.
The region usually means:
The states of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are also often included in Eastern Europe. Alternatively, Slovenia is often placed in Southeast (or Southeastern) Europe. When using these definitions, the countries of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are considered Western Europe instead. Some experts consider such definitions outdated, but many still use them. Supranational organizations like the UN and EU also make use of them.