Who captains this continent nowadays? Is it the richest, Germany, or is it the UK, which only linked itself geographically, belatedly, by the building a rail route under the English Channel? France insists on having its own path regardless.
The European countries cannot be lumped together. The countries of the European Union [EU] are not culturally homogeneous. The Euro-Zone countries are economically separated from those outside this zone. Members of NATO -- even the expanded NATO -- are viewed differently militarily than those outside the organization. There are also, of course, distinct differences between the Eastern countries of the former USSR and its satellites, and Western democracies; between monarchies and republics; between Catholics and Protestants; between Muslim Europe (e.g. Albania, European side of Turkey, parts of Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Christian Europe.
These differences were resolved partially or totally, permanently or temporarily, to allow "business to go on."