'Countries and continents require an article' -Sitesurf
Unless it comes after en, then no article is needed. ("en is nearly always used directly in front of a noun, with no article" http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_en.htm)
Why not: "L'Allemagne est un pays en Europe." ? In a previous example I've seen "Je vis en Amérique"
EDIT: Later, when I had to translate "Germany is a country in Europe" to French I wrote "L'Allemagne est un pays d'Europe." like it says here, and guess what? I was marked wrong and it said that the correct answer is "L'Allemagne est un pays en Europe."
Am I missing something?
When the following word starts by a vowel sound, we use AN, e.g.: an elephant, an apple, an uncle, an hour, an honour, an heir, an heiress, an honourable man, an empty glass, an MP member, an L-shaped object, etc
When the following word starts by a consonant sound, including semivowels /j/ and /w/, we use A, e.g.: a house, a horse, a cat, a ghost, a friend, a European country, a ewe, a university, a universal language, a uniform, a one-way ticket, a one-eyed person, a wet coat, etc.
Almost the same thing happens with the two pronunciations of the definitive article THE, e.g.: the ewe /ðə 'juː/, the elephant / ði ˈɛlɪfənt /.
And what about The United States, The United Nations, The United Kingdom, The European Commission, etc?