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In page Continental Europe:
The old notion of Europe as a geopolitical or cultural term was centred on core Europe (Kerneuropa), the continental territory of the historical Carolingian Empire and the core of Latin Christendom, corresponding to modern France, Italy, Germany (or German-speaking Europe) and the Benelux states (historical Austrasia). This historical core of "Carolingian Europe" was consciously invoked in the 1950s as the historical ethno-cultural basis for the prospective European integration (see also Multi-speed Europe).