"EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe"

pink dragon

Member
Japanese
I'd like to ask native speakers if they use "EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe".

When I asked this my American and British friends, the American friend said she uses it, and my British friend said she doesn't.

I'd like to know if this is a difference between countries or not.

(I thought the American friend could be wrong because she does not seem to be language-conscious very much, as she always writes "your" when she should write "you're", and "then" when she should write "than".)

(Also, I know that "EU" usually stands for the "European Union", and that we shouldn't use abbreviations unless they are clearly defined by such as an abbreviation list, at least in a formal document. )
 
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  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't use "EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe", either in writing or in speech. "EU" stands for the European Union, which is a political entity, whereas Europe is a geographical entity. Europe and the European Union do not occupy exactly the same space either: some European countries are not members of the European Union.
     

    SlovakN

    New Member
    Slovak
    Yes exactly EU stands for the European Union and that's it. There are many countries in Europe which are not part of the EU so it wouldn't be the best idea to abbreviate Europe as the EU!
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The "EU" abbreviation is acceptable for the European Union, not for "Europe," the geographical term, according to the style book used by virtually all American newspapers and journalism schools.
     

    pink dragon

    Member
    Japanese
    So, is my American friend is the only one who uses "EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe"?
    I'd like opinions from more native speakers. Thank you.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    The "EU" abbreviation is acceptable for the European Union, not for "Europe," the geographical term, according to the style book used by virtually all American newspapers and journalism schools.
    Hello, Pink Dragon. I agree with SD Graham's position on this abbreviation. I don't think you'll find many who use "EU" for Europe instead of the European Union.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Pink Dragon

    Your American friend, as you say, doesn't not seem to be very well informed! But it's very possible that there's no reason why she should realise there's any difference between Europe and the European Union. We tend to know more about places we have some interest in and experience of. I'm still not sure what the difference between Disney Land and Disney World is, or even how to spell them. I doubt many Brits could accurately list which countries are not in the EU.

    EU stands for European Union as in "EU citizens" when going through immigration into the UK. Everybody who lives in an EU member country is an EU citizen. Sometimes car registration plates have 'EU' with a few stars around the initials or just the circle of stars and the country initials, like 'GB', or 'CYM'. If you don't have the EU stars you have to have a separate official country of origin oval plate.

    It is rather hard to live in the UK and not have at least a general awareness of the EU especially if you travel to Europe.

    Hermione
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It is rather hard to live in the UK and not have at least a general awareness of the EU especially if you travel to Europe.
    As a side note, Americans are generally amused to see some UK citizens treating "Europe" as something they are not part of, since we are all taught that the U.K., although not on the continent itself, is indeed a part of the geographic entity we know as "Europe" as well as the EU.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    As a side note, Americans are generally amused to see some UK citizens treating "Europe" as something they are not part of, since we are all taught that the U.K., although not on the continent itself, is indeed a part of the geographic entity we know as "Europe" as well as the EU.
    Title from the Times: "Heavy fog in the Channel; the Continent cut off". :)
    I grew up in London with people who went to Europe for their summer holidays !! Personally, I was 17 when I first got there.

    We can be amused at our own insularity.

    But seriously, I've never met anyone who went to the EU for their holidays!!! (and, of course, UK is part of the EU, even if we're "opposite" Europe)
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    To put it into perspective: there are no comparable abbreviations for Asia, Africa, Latin/South America. No-one writes AS or AF (or As. or Af. or Afr.) here. When would you use it? I holidayed in AS last year? Guinea is in Afr.? Of course not. Use of EU for Europe can only result from misunderstanding of the difference between the EU and Europe - they've seen EU used, and they know it covers roughly most of Europe, so they assume it's all of Europe.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    As a side note, Americans are generally amused to see some UK citizens treating "Europe" as something they are not part of, since we are all taught that the U.K., although not on the continent itself, is indeed a part of the geographic entity we know as "Europe" as well as the EU.
    Oh we're definitely part of the geographic entity that is Europe, SDG, just as Cuba, Hispaniola, Grenada, Baffin Island (etc.) are part of the geographic entity of America:)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm pretty sure I've seen Eur. for Europe and I know I've seen NA and SA for North and South America quite a bit.
    In business, there are all kinds of odd global area abbreviations. I got an email at work this week about sales in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and LAC (Latin America and Carribean).
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Well, yes, there are such abbreviations. In my present job I commonly see EMEA, and SEE (South-Eastern Europe) and CEE (Central and Eastern Europe), and they're officially in the style guides we use. But outside specialized fields such as my present work, I've never seen them. I've never seen LAC; I've never seen SEA, which would be an obvious abbreviation for South-East Asia. These are strictly in a business context, and the difference between the legal/administrative EU and geographical Europe is so important in business that they could never be confused by people who needed to use them.

    Also, the contexts are very restricted: they have offices in CEE; Mr Smith is the EMEA manager; but never: they have three offices in Eur.
     

    pink dragon

    Member
    Japanese
    Thank you everyone for interesting input.

    To put it into perspective: there are no comparable abbreviations for Asia, Africa, Latin/South America. No-one writes AS or AF (or As. or Af. or Afr.) here. When would you use it?
    I often see "UK" being used as an abbreviation of "Europe" in documents at multinational companies in Japan, and I've been always wondering whether it is correct, so I asked.
    Situations are often different between Japan and other countries, and we often compare our situation and American/European ones.
    So they write, for example, "It is not allowed by the government in Japan, but it is in EU/US." It is always used with "US". Especially when "Europe and the United States" often appears in the document, it is convenient to use the abbreviation. I believe United States is often abbreviated as US worldwide, and maybe this is the reason they use EU. They are both two-letter abbreviations.

    In very formal documents, like those submitted to the governments, there is an abbreviation list in the document. As for others, I often see the abbreviation being used without an abbreviation list, which I think is inappropriate.
     
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    pink dragon

    Member
    Japanese
    Now I wonder if my British friend has never seen the abbreviation "EU" because she has never worked for a company. She is a teacher. Teachers often don't know expressions used in companies. The American friend does work for a multinational company.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your British friend does not know what EU stands for? It stands for European Union but it doesn't stand for Europe. Maybe she is is as 'unaware' as your American friend. UK doesn't stand for Europe. EU includes UK . Even in multinational company talk, it is hard to understand why UK should be ever be used instead of EU! It makes very little sense. What's relevant to the UK might not be true of the EU in general or other EU member countries.
    Hermione
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    I often see "UK" being used as an abbreviation of "Europe" in documents at multinational companies in Japan, and I've been always wondering whether it is correct, so I asked.
    Situations are often different between Japan and other countries, and we often compare our situation and American/European ones.
    So they write, for example, "It is not allowed by the government in Japan, but it is in EU/US." It is always used with "US". Especially when "Europe and the United States" often appears in the document, it is convenient to use the abbreviation. I believe United States is often abbreviated as US worldwide, and maybe this is the reason they use EU. They are both two-letter abbreviations.
    I cannot believe that UK is used as an abbreviation for Europe in any context. Perhaps you misunderstand? The parallel would be to write JAP as an abbreviation for Asia. ;)

    As for referring to EU/US, why not? Meaning European Union and USA, two of the World's most important political and economic centres.
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    I got an email at work this week about sales in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and LAC (Latin America and Carribean).
    Last week I saw "not to Latam" in a Microsoft ad and had to figure out that the software is not available in Latin America for whatever reason. :eek:
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Your British friend does not know what EU stands for? It stands for European Union but it doesn't stand for Europe. Maybe she is is as 'unaware' as your American friend. UK doesn't stand for Europe. EU includes UK . Even in multinational company talk, it is hard to understand why UK should be ever be used instead of EU! It makes very little sense. What's relevant to the UK might not be true of the EU in general or other EU member countries.
    Hermione
    Pushing the possibilities to their utmost limit (or perhaps beyond!), perhaps a Japanese company whose sole market in Europe was the UK could talk about UK as Europe, as in their operations in Europe........
     

    pink dragon

    Member
    Japanese
    I cannot believe that UK is used as an abbreviation for Europe in any context. Perhaps you misunderstand? The parallel would be to write JAP as an abbreviation for Asia. ;)

    As for referring to EU/US, why not? Meaning European Union and USA, two of the World's most important political and economic centres.
    No, it's not misunderstanding. It's a shame I couldn't show you all those document because they are strictly confidential. In the documents, they are definitely talking about Europe, not Eueopean Union.
    Just because you haven't seen something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    As Myridon says, odd abbreviations are surely used in business whether they are correct or not.

    (Just one question to Myridon. Was the person who wrote "EMEA" and "LAC" a native speaker?)

    I guess the conclusion is that it is wrong to use "EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe" although it is used by some people in business, which is a shame.

    Thank you all.
     
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    pink dragon

    Member
    Japanese
    Pushing the possibilities to their utmost limit (or perhaps beyond!), perhaps a Japanese company whose sole market in Europe was the UK could talk about UK as Europe, as in their operations in Europe........
    Unfortunately, what I'm talking about here is not Japanese companies whose sole market in Europe was the UK. Thank you for your comment anyway.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    No, it's not misunderstanding. It's a shame I couldn't show you all those document because they are strictly confidential. In the documents, they are definitely talking about Europe, not Eueopean Union.
    Just because you haven't seen something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    As Myridon says, odd abbreviations are surely used in business whether they are correct or not.

    (Just one question to Myridon. Was the person who wrote "EMEA" and "LAC" a native speaker?)

    I guess the conclusion is that it is wrong to use "EU" as an abbreviation of "Europe" although it is used by some people in business, which is a shame.

    Thank you all.
    Anything at all can be said by anyone at all. That's life. However, it is clear from all the answers in this thread that EU is not an accepted abbreviation for the continent of Europe.

    EMEA, on the other hand, is extensively used in the corporate world for Europe Middle East & Africa. By native speakers.
    I have never seen the abbreviation LAC.
     
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