On 26th May 1986 the European Community adopted the Flag of Europe.
This is the flag and emblem of the European Union and Council of Europe and it is also used to indicate the euro or eurozone countries. It consists of a circle of twelve golden stars on a blue background. The blue represents the west, the number of stars represents completeness while their position in a circle represents unity. The stars do not vary according to the members of either organisation as they are intended to represent all the peoples of Europe.
There are fifty recognised states of Europe, and I have only so far been to twenty-eight (including the United Kingdom, where I live) so I am just over half way towards my objective of visiting them all. Some of the old Soviet republics have tried to claim European status but I haven’t included them here.
The definition of a sovereign state is set out in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933, according to which, a sovereign state should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population, (b) a defined territory, (c) a government, and (d) a capacity to enter into relations with the other states. So that excludes places like Scotland, which is technically part of the United Kingdom, and Wales, which is only a Principality, but it does include the tiny independent states of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican State, none of which would appear on paper to be a sustainable proposition.