A couple of years ago "surface mail" shipping, also known as "the slow boat to China," went by the wayside. As a result, one must send all overseas packages by airmail. This can be very expensive. Sometimes, the cost of postage can meet or exceed the price of the gift itself. As an example, I bought my French nieces and nephews a Special-Edition US Monopoly game. It was something like $35 or so. To ship it, with its odd-sized package, was going to be over $200!
There is an easy solution, though. You can buy items for people in Europe on Amazon's European websites. These often have the same "super saver" free shipping if you are buying over a certain amount. I'm listing all of Amazon's European sites - these are in the native languages so if you're not comfortable navigating purchases, just buy from the United Kingdom site, which still offers free shipping to Continental Europe.
United Kingdom - www.amazon.co.uk
France - www.amazon.fr
Germany - www.amazon.de