Economy of the European Union

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Economy of the European Union
Frankfurt Skyline at night (Unsplash).jpg
City of Frankfurt, one of EU's financial centres and seat of the European Central Bank
CurrencyEuro (EUR, €) and 8 others
Calendar year
Trade organisations
WTO, G20, G7 and others
Statistics
PopulationIncrease 447,706,209 (EU27, 1 January 2020 prov. est.)[1]
GDP
  • Decrease $18.292 trillion (nominal; 2019)[2]
  • Decrease $18.377 trillion (PPP; 2020)[3]
GDP growth
  • 2.3% (2018) 1.7% (2019)
  • −7.1% (2020) 4.8% (2021)[3]
GDP per capita
  • Decrease $35,623 (nominal; 2019)[2]
  • Increase $44,539 (PPP; 2019)[2]
GDP by sector
Population below poverty line
  • 9.8% (2013)[4]
  • Positive decrease 21.6% at risk of poverty or social exclusion (EU27, 2018 est.)[5]
Negative increase 30.4 medium (EU27, 2018 est.)[6]
  • 0.900 very high (2018)[7]
  • 0.816 very high IHDI (2018)[7]
Labour force
  • Decrease 216,229,439 (2019)[8]
  • Increase 73.1% employment rate (Target: --, EU27; 2019)[9]
  • Increase 72.7% employment rate (EA19, 2019)[9]
Labour force by occupation
Unemployment
  • Negative increase 6.7% (EU27, May 2020)[10]
  • Negative increase 7.4% (EA19, May 2020)[10]
  • 21 million unemployed (2016)[11]
Average gross salary
€35,000 (~US$40,000), annual (2015)[12]
€24,000 (~US$27,000), annual (2015)[12]
Main industries
External
Exports$1.9 trillion (2015 est.)[13]
Export goods
machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, aircraft, plastics, iron and steel, wood pulp and paper products, alcoholic beverages, furniture
Main export partners
(March 2020 estimate)[14]
Imports$1.7 trillion (2015 est.)[13]
Import goods
fuels and crude oil, machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, precious gemstones, textiles, aircraft, plastics, metals, ships
Main import partners
(March 2020 estimate)[14]
FDI stock
  • €4 trillion (inward, 2012)[15]
  • €5.2 trillion (outward, 2012)[16]
Increase €161.6 billion; 1.1% of GDP (2015)[17]
$13.05 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)[13]
Increase −€2,557.4 billion; 17.5% of GDP (2015)[18]
Public finances
  • Positive decrease 77.8% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[19]
  • Increase €10.833 trillion (EU27; 2019)[19]
  • €77.6 billion deficit (EU27; 2019)[19]
  • −0.6% of GDP (2019)[19]
Revenues46.2% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[19]
Expenses46.7% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[19]
Economic aiddonor: ODA, $87.64 billion[21]
Foreign reserves
$0.6 trillion (2010)[24]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.
GNI per capita of EU, 2016

The economy of the European Union is the joint economy of the member states of the European Union (EU). It is the second largest economy in the world in nominal terms, after the United States, and the third one in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, after China and the United States. The European Union's GDP was estimated to be $18.8 trillion (nominal) in 2018,[25] representing about 22% of the global economy.[26]

2015 GDP (nominal) in EU.svg

The euro, used by 19 of its 27 members, is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.[27][28][29] The euro is the official currency in 25 countries, in the eurozone and in six other European countries, officially or de facto.

The European Union economy consists of an internal market of mixed economies based on free market and advanced social models. For instance, it includes an internal single market with free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor.[30] The GDP per capita (PPP) was $43,188 in 2018,[31] compared to $62,869 in the United States, $44,246 Japan and $18,116 in China.[32] There are significant disparities in GDP per capita (PPP) between member states ranging from $106,372 in Luxembourg to $23,169 in Bulgaria.[33] With a low Gini coefficient of 31, the European Union has a more egalitarian distribution of income than the world average.[34][35]

Euronext is the main stock exchange of the Eurozone and the world's sixth largest by market capitalisation.[36] Foreign investments made in the European Union total $5.1 trillion in 2012, while the EU's investments in foreign countries total $9.1 trillion, by far the highest domestic and foreign investments in the world.[37][38] The European Union's largest trading partners are the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Norway, South Korea, India, and Canada.[39]

Since the beginning of the public debt crisis in 2009, opposite economic situations have emerged between Southern Europe on one hand, and Central and Northern Europe on the other hand: a higher unemployment rate and public debt in the Mediterranean countries with the exception of Malta, and a lower unemployment rate with higher GDP growth rate in the Eastern and in Northern member countries. In 2018, public debt in the European Union was 80% of GDP, with disparities between the lowest rate, Estonia with 8.4%, and the highest, Greece with 181.1%.[40]

Currency[edit]

The Eurozone or euro area (dark blue) represents 343 million people. The euro is the second-largest reserve currency in the world.

Beginning in the year 1999 with some EU member states, now 19 out of 27 EU states use the euro as official currency in a currency union. The remaining 8 states continued to use their own currency with the possibility to join the euro later. The euro is also the most widely used currency in the EU.

Since 1992 the Maastricht Treaty sets out rigid economic and fiscal convergence criteria for the states joining the euro. Starting 1997, the Stability and Growth Pact has been started to ensure continuing economic and fiscal stability and convergence.

Denmark is not a part of the eurozone due to its special opt-outs concerning the later joining of the euro. In contrast, Sweden can effectively opt out by choosing when or whether to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which is the preliminary step towards joining. The remaining states are committed to join the euro through their Treaties of Accession.

Starting with Greece in 2009, five of the 19 eurozone states have been struggling with a sovereign debt crisis, by many called the European debt crisis. All these states started reforms and got bailout packages (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus). As of 2015, all countries but Greece have recovered from their debt crisis. Other non-eurozone states also experienced a debt crisis and also went through successful bailout programmes, i.e. Hungary, Romania and Latvia (the latter before it joined the eurozone).[41]

Budget[edit]

The EU has agreed on a budget of €165.8 billion for the year 2019,[42] representing around 1% of the EU-28's gross national income (GNI). The EU has a long-term budget of €1,082.5 billion for the period 2014–2020, representing 1.02% of the EU-28's GNI.[43]

Sectors[edit]

Services[edit]

The services sector is by far the most important sector in the European Union, making up 74.7% of GDP, compared to the manufacturing industry with 23.8% of GDP and agriculture with only 1.5% of GDP.[44]

Financial services are well developed within the Single Market of the Union. Companies have a greater reliance on bank lending than in the United States, although a shift towards companies raising more funding through capital markets is planned through the CMU initiative, the EU plan put forward by the Commission in September 2015 to mobilise the free movement of capital within the EU.[45] The plan aims "to establish the building blocks of an integrated capital market in the EU by 2019".[46] The CMU initiative comprises 33 measures in all.[47] The plan was updated in 2017 and in 2019, since not a single legislation will deliver the CMU.[48] The Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister of Latvia, is responsible for delivery of the initiative.[49][50][51][52]

According to the Global Financial Centres Index, the two largest financial centres in Europe, London and Zurich, are outside the European Union.[53] The two largest financial centres remaining within the EU will then be Frankfurt and Luxembourg City.

Agriculture[edit]

The agricultural sector is supported by subsidies from the European Union in the form of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In 2013 this represented approximately €45billion (less than 33% of the overall budget of €148billion) of the EU's total spending.[54] It was used originally to guarantee a minimum price for farmers in the EU. This is criticised as a form of protectionism, inhibiting trade, and damaging developing countries; one of the most vocal opponents was the UK, the second largest economy within the bloc until its withdrawal in January 2020, which repeatedly refused to give up the annual UK rebate unless the CAP should undergo significant reform; France, the biggest beneficiary of the CAP and the bloc's third largest (now its second-largest) economy, is its most vocal proponent. The CAP is however witnessing substantial reform. In 1985, around 70% of the EU budget was spent on agriculture. In 2011, direct aid to farmers and market-related expenditure amount to just 30% of the budget, and rural development spending to 11%. By 2011, 90% of direct support had become non-trade-distorting (not linked to production) as reforms have continued to be made to the CAP, its funding and its design.[55]

Tourism[edit]

The European Union is a major tourist destination, attracting visitors from outside of the Union and citizens travelling inside it. Internal tourism is made more convenient by the Schengen treaty and the euro. All citizens of the European Union are entitled to travel to any member state without the need of a visa.

France is the world's number one tourist destination for international visitors, followed by Spain, Italy, and Germany. It is worth noting, however, that a significant proportion of international visitors to EU countries are from other member states.

Energy[edit]

Wind power stations in Cerová, Slovakia.

The European Union has uranium, coal, oil, and natural gas reserves. There are six oil producers in the European Union, primarily in North Sea oilfields. The United Kingdom, whilst it was a member of the European Union was by far the largest producer; Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands all produce oil. If it is treated as a single unit, which is not conventional in the oil markets, the European Union is the 19th largest producer of oil in the world, producing 1,241,370 (2013) barrels a day.[citation needed]

It is the world's second largest consumer of oil, consuming much more than it can produce, at 12,790,000 (2013) barrels a day. Much of the difference comes from Russia and the Caspian Sea basin. All countries in the EU have committed to the Kyoto Protocol, and the European Union is one of its biggest proponents. The European Commission published proposals for the first comprehensive EU energy policy on 10 January 2007.[citation needed]

Companies[edit]

The European Union's member states are the birthplace of many of the world's largest leading multinational companies, and home to its global headquarters. Among these are distinguished companies ranked first in the world within their industry/sector, like Allianz, which is the largest financial service provider in the world by revenue; WPP plc which is the world's largest advertising agency by revenue; Amorim, which is the world's largest cork-processing and cork producer company; ArcelorMittal, which is the largest steel company in the world; Inditex which is the biggest fashion group in the world; Groupe Danone, which has the world leadership in the dairy products market.[citation needed]

Anheuser-Busch InBev is the largest beer company in the world; L'Oréal Group, which is the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company; LVMH, which is the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate; Nokia Corporation, which was the world's largest manufacturer of mobile telephones; Royal Dutch Shell, which is one of the largest energy corporations in the world; and Stora Enso, which is the world's largest pulp and paper manufacturer in terms of production capacity, in terms of banking and finance the EU has some of the world's largest notably HSBC and Grupo Santander, the largest bank in Europe in terms of Market Capitalisation.[citation needed]

Many other European companies rank among the world's largest companies in terms of turnover, profit, market share, number of employees or other major indicators. A considerable number of EU-based companies are ranked among the world's top-ten within their sector of activity. Europe is also home to many prestigious car companies such as Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, as well as volume manufacturers such as Dacia, Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, Seat, Volkswagen and more.

The following is a list of the largest EU based stock market listed companies in 2016. The ordered by revenue in millions of US Dollars and is based on the Fortune Global 500.

Fortune top 10 E.U. corporations by revenue (2016)[56]
Rank Corporation Stock ticker Revenue $ millions Profit $ millions Employees Headquarters Industry
1 Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A 272,156 1,939 90,000 Shell Centre, London, UK, and The Hague, Netherlands Energy
2 Volkswagen VLKAY 236,600 −1,520 610,076 Wolfsburg, Germany Motor Vehicles & Parts
3 BP PLC BP.L 183,000 4,100 74,500 London, UK Energy
4 Daimler DDAIY 165,800 9,345 284,015 Stuttgart, Germany Motor Vehicles & Parts
5 EXOR Group EXOSF 152,591 825 303,247 Amsterdam, Netherlands Financials
6 Total TOT 143,421 5,087 96,019 Paris, France Energy
7 E.ON EONGY 129,277 −7,764 56,490 Essen, Germany Energy
8 AXA AXAHY 129,250 6,231 98,279 Paris, France Financials
9 Allianz AZSEY 122,948 7,339 142,459 Munich, Germany Financials
10 BNP Paribas BNPQY 111,531 7,426 181,551 Paris, France Financials

Economies of member states[edit]

Wealth[edit]

European countries by median wealth per adult, 2018

The twelve new member states of the European Union have enjoyed a higher average percentage growth rate than their elder members of the EU. Slovakia has the highest GDP growth in the period 2005–2015 among all countries of the European Union (See Tatra Tiger). Notably the Baltic states have achieved high GDP growth, with Latvia topping 11%, close to China, the world leader at 9% on average for the past 25 years (though these gains have been in great part cancelled by the late-2000s recession).[57]

Reasons for this growth include government commitments to stable monetary policy, export-oriented trade policies, low flat-tax rates and the utilisation of relatively cheap labour. In 2015 Ireland had the highest GDP growth of all the states in EU (25.1%). The current map of EU growth is one of huge regional variation, with the larger economies suffering from stagnant growth and the new nations enjoying sustained, robust economic growth.

Although EU27 GDP is rising, the percentage of gross world product is decreasing because of the emergence of economies such as China, India and Brazil.

Population and GDP per capita of European countries (2010)

In the tables below, colours indicate best and worst performer of the year concerned.

EU member states by real GDP growth rates[58][59]
Member state 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Yearly growth
(2012–2019)
Last available
quarter
 Austria 0.7 0.0 0.7 1.0 2.1 2.5 2.4 1.6 1.38 1.0
 Belgium 0.7 0.5 1.6 2.0 1.5 2.0 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.2
 Bulgaria 0.4 0.3 1.9 4.0 3.8 3.5 3.1 3.7 2.43 3.5
 Croatia −2.2 −0.5 −0.1 2.4 3.5 3.1 2.7 2.9 1.27 2.8
 Cyprus −3.4 −6.6 −1.9 3.4 6.7 4.4 4.1 3.2 1.24 3.2
 Czech Republic −0.8 −0.5 2.7 5.3 2.5 4.4 2.8 2.4 2.35 1.7
 Denmark 0.2 0.9 1.6 2.3 3.2 2.0 2.4 2.2 1.85 1.7
 Estonia 3.1 1.3 3.0 1.8 2.6 5.7 4.8 4.3 3.33 4.1
 Finland −1.4 −0.9 −0.4 0.5 2.7 3.1 1.7 1.0 0.76 1.4
 France 0.3 0.6 1.0 1.1 1.1 2.3 1.7 1.3 1.18 0.8
 Germany 0.4 0.4 2.2 1.7 2.2 2.5 1.5 0.6 1.44 0.5
 Greece −7.3 −3.2 0.7 −0.4 −0.2 1.5 1.9 1.9 −0.64 2.3
 Hungary −1.5 2.0 4.2 3.8 2.2 4.3 5.1 4.9 3.13 4.6
 Ireland 0.2 1.4 8.6 25.2 3.7 8.1 8.2 5.5 7.61 5.0
 Italy −3.0 −1.8 0.0 0.8 1.3 1.7 0.8 0.3 0.01 0.0
 Latvia 4.1 2.3 1.9 3.3 1.8 3.8 4.6 2.2 3 1.0
 Lithuania 3.8 3.6 3.5 2.0 2.6 4.2 3.6 3.9 3.4 3.7
 Luxembourg −0.4 3.7 4.3 4.3 4.6 1.8 3.1 2.3 3.06 3.0
 Malta 2.8 4.8 8.8 10.9 5.8 6.7 7.0 4.4 6.4 4.4
 Netherlands −1.0 −0.1 1.4 2.0 2.2 2.9 2.6 1.7 1.46 1.5
 Poland 1.6 1.4 3.3 3.8 3.1 4.9 5.1 4.1 3.41 3.5
 Portugal −4.1 −0.9 0.8 1.8 2.0 3.5 2.4 2.2 0.96 2.2
 Romania 2.1 3.5 3.4 3.9 4.8 7.1 4.4 4.1 4.17 4.2
 Slovakia 1.9 0.7 2.8 4.8 2.1 3.0 4.0 2.3 2.7 1.9
 Slovenia −2.6 −1.0 2.8 2.2 3.1 4.8 4.1 2.4 1.98 2.0
 Spain −3.0
−1.4 1.4 3.8 3.0 2.9 2.4 2.0 1.39 1.8
 Sweden −0.6 1.1 2.7 4.4 2.4 2.4 2.2 1.2 1.98 1.7
 European Union (current) −0.7 0.0 1.6 2.3 2.1 2.7 2.1 1.5 1.47 1.2
Eurozone −0.9 −0.3 1.4 2.4 2.0 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.21 0.9
EU member states by GDP (PPS) in billions of €[60]
Member state 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
 Austria 293.762 318.653 323.910 333.146 344.269 357.300 370.296 385.712 398.522
 Belgium 351.743 386.175 392.880 403.003 416.701 430.372 446.365 459.820 473.639
 Bulgaria 37.218 42.034 41.885 42.876 45.676 48.621 52.310 56.087 60.675
 Croatia 47.998 43.941 43.703 43.401 44.616 46.616 49.094 51.625 53.936
 Cyprus 19.010 19.441 17.995 17.409 17.827 18.873 20.040 21.138 21.944
 Czech Republic 161.313 161.434 157.742 156.660 168.473 176.370 191.722 207.570 219.896
 Denmark 241.614 254.578 258.743 265.757 273.018 283.110 292.408 301.341 310.576
 Estonia 16.638 18.051 19.033 20.180 20.782 21.694 23.776 26.036 28.037
 Finland 194.265 201.037 204.321 206.897 211.385 217.518 225.836 234.370 240.924
 France 1,992.380 2,088.804 2,117.189 2,149.765 2,198.432 2,234.129 2,295.063 2,353.090 2,418.997
 Germany 2,546.490 2,745.310 2,811.350 2,927.430 3,030.070 3,134.100 3,244.990 3,344.370 3,435.760
 Greece 241.990 191.204 180.654 178.657 177.258 176.488 180.218 184.714 187.457
 Hungary 108.216 99.734 102.032 105.905 112.210 115.259 125.603 133.782 143.826
 Ireland 187.769 175.116 179.661 194.818 262.833 271.684 297.131 324.038 347.215
 Italy 1,637.699 1,624.359 1,612.751 1,627.406 1,655.355 1,695.590 1,736.602 1,765.421 1,787.664
 Latvia 24.397 22.098 22.845 23.654 24.426 25.073 26.798 29.151 30.476
 Lithuania 32.696 33.332 34.985 36.545 37.322 38.893 42.269 45.264 48.339
 Luxembourg 38.129 44.112 46.500 49.825 52.066 54.867 56.814 60.053 63.516
 Malta 6.129 7.168 7.647 8.510 9.659 10.366 11.332 12.379 13.209
 Netherlands 647.198 652.966 660.463 671.560 690.008 708.337 738.146 774.039 810.704
 Poland 366.181 389.377 394.734 411.163 430.258 426.556 467.313 496.361 527.033
 Portugal 179.103 168.296 170.492 173.054 179.713 186.490 195.947 204.305 212.254
 Romania 146.591 133.147 143.802 150.458 160.298 170.394 187.773 204.641 223.337
 Slovakia 66.098 73.484 74.355 76.256 79.758 81.038 84.517 89.721 94.177
 Slovenia 37.926 36.253 36.454 37.634 38.853 40.367 42.987 45.755 48.007
 Spain 1,109.541 1,031.099 1,020.348 1,032.158 1,077.590 1,113.840 1,161.878 1,202.193 1,244.757
 Sweden 353.310 428.825 440.191 437.541 454.184 466.348 479.605 471.208 474.683
 European Union (current) 11,087.575 11,392.381 11,520.005 11,784.468 12,215.454 12,550.462 13,054.772 13,498.257 13,939.074
 European Union (contemporary) 13,036,275 13,460,149 13,618.431 14,094.253 14,856.389 14,985.517 15,417.881 15,921.994 16,464.167
Eurozone (19) 9,483.133 9,781.526 9,876.005 10,131.361 10,524.439 10,816.984 11,200.953 11,561.243 11,905.421
EU member states by GDP (PPS) per capita in €[60]
Member state 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
 Austria 37,820 38,210 38,990 39,890 40,880 42,100 43,640 44,900
 Belgium 34,770 35,210 35,950 36,960 37,980 39,240 40,240 41,240
 Bulgaria 5,750 5,770 5,940 6,360 6,820 7,390 7,980 8,728
 Croatia 10,290 10,270 10,250 10,600 11,170 11,890 12,620 13,330
 Cyprus 22,500 20,880 20,420 21,030 22,160 23,320 24,290 24,920
 Czech Republic 15,360 15,010 14,880 15,980 16,690 18,100 19,530 20,610
 Denmark 45,530 46,100 47,090 48,050 49,420 50,700 52,010 53,370
 Estonia 13,620 14,420 15,340 15,820 16,490 18,070 19,740 21,160
 Finland 37,130 37,570 37,880 38,570 39,580 41,000 42,490 43,630
 France 31,820 32,080 32,420 33,020 33,430 34,220 34,980 36,060
 Germany 34,130 34,860 36,150 37,090 38,060 39,260 40,340 41,340
 Greece 17,310 16,480 16,400 16,380 16,380 16,760 17,210 17,500
 Hungary 10,050 10,310 10,730 11,400 11,740 12,830 13,690 14,720
 Ireland 38,090 38,890 41,870 55,970 57,210 61,870 66,670 70,470
 Italy 26,920 26,590 26,770 27,260 27,970 28,690 29,220 29,610
 Latvia 10,870 11,350 11,860 12,350 12,800 13,810 15,130 15,930
 Lithuania 11,160 11,830 12,460 12,850 13,560 14,940 16,160 17,310
 Luxembourg 83,000 85,270 89,240 91,440 93,930 95,170 98,640 102,200
 Malta 17,060 17,950 19,570 21,690 22,750 24,190 25,510 26,350
 Netherlands 38,970 39,300 39,820 40,730 41,590 43,090 44,920 46,740
 Poland 10,100 10,250 10,680 11,190 11,100 12,160 12,920 13,730
 Portugal 16,010 16,300 16,640 17,350 18,060 19,020 19,870 20,650
 Romania 6,640 7,190 7,550 8,090 8,650 9,580 10,510 11,500
 Slovakia 13,590 13,740 14,070 14,710 14,920 15,540 16,470 17,270
 Slovenia 17,630 17,700 18,250 18,830 19,550 20,810 22,080 22,980
 Spain 22,050 21,900 22,220 23,220 23,980 24,970 25,730 26,420
 Sweden 45,050 45,850 45,130 46,350 47,000 47,690 46,310 46,180
 European Union (current) 25,750 26,000 26,560 27,470 28,160 29,250 30,190 31,110
Eurozone 29,220 29,440 30,070 31,030 31,790 32,850 33,830 34,770
EU member states by Gini coefficients[6]
Member state 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
 Austria 27.4 27.6 27.0 27.6 27.2 27.2 27.9 26.8 27.5
 Belgium 26.3 26.5 25.9 25.9 26.2 26.3 26.0 25.6
 Bulgaria 35.0 33.6 35.4 35.4 37.0 37.7 40.2 39.6 40.8
 Croatia 31.2 30.9 30.9 30.2 30.4 29.8 29.9 29.7 29.3
 Cyprus 29.2 31.0 32.4 34.8 33.6 32.1 30.8 29.1
 Czech Republic 25.2 24.9 24.6 25.1 25.0 25.1 24.5 24.0 24.0
 Denmark 26.6 26.5 26.8 27.7 27.4 27.7 27.6 27.9 27.5
 Estonia 31.9 32.5 32.9 35.6 34.8 32.7 31.6 30.6 30.5
 Finland 25.8 25.9 25.4 25.6 25.2 25.4 25.3 25.9 26.2
 France 30.8 30.5 30.1 29.2 29.2 29.3 29.3 28.5
 Germany 29.0 28.3 29.7 30.7 30.1 29.5 29.1 31.1
 Greece 33.5 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.2 34.3 33.4 32.3 31.0
 Hungary 26.9 27.2 28.3 28.6 28.2 28.2 28.1 28.7 28.0
 Ireland 29.8 30.5 30.7 31.1 29.8 29.5 30.6 28.9
 Italy 32.5 32.4 32.8 32.4 32.4 33.1 32.7 33.4
 Latvia 35.1 35.7 35.2 35.5 35.4 34.5 34.5 35.6 35.2
 Lithuania 33.0 32.0 34.6 35.0 37.9 37.0 37.6 36.9
 Luxembourg 27.2 28.0 30.4 28.7 28.5 31.0 30.9 33.2
 Malta 27.2 27.1 27.9 27.7 28.1 28.5 28.3 28.7 28.0
 Netherlands 25.8 25.4 25.1 26.2 26.7 26.9 27.1 27.0 26.6
 Poland 31.1 30.9 30.7 30.8 30.6 29.8 29.2 27.8 28.5
 Portugal 34.2 34.5 34.2 34.5 34.0 33.9 33.5 32.1
 Romania 33.5 34.0 34.6 35.0 37.4 34.7 33.1 35.1 34.8
 Slovakia 25.7 25.3 24.2 26.1 23.7 24.3 23.2 20.9
 Slovenia 23.8 23.7 24.4 25.0 24.5 24.4 23.7 23.4 23.9
 Spain 34.0 34.2 33.7 34.7 34.6 34.5 34.1 33.2 33.0
 Sweden 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.9 26.7 27.6 28.0 27.0 27.6
 European Union (current) 30.5 30.4 30.6 30.9 30.8 30.6 30.3 30.4
Eurozone 30.6 30.5 30.7 31.0 30.7 30.7 30.4 30.6

Labour market[edit]

Unemployment rate by country in the EEA in March 2019.

The EU seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7% in September 2018.[61] The euro area unemployment rate was 8.1%.[61] Among the member states, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.3%), Germany and Poland (both 3.4%), and the highest in Spain (14.9%) and Greece (19.0 in July 2018).[61]

The following table shows the history of the unemployment rate for all European Union member states :

Unemployment rate by country (base month is March of each year)
Member state[61] 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Last available
 Austria 5.0 4.9 4.7 4.6 5.4 5.6 5.6 5.9 5.7 5.0 4.7 4.5
 Belgium 8.0 8.5 6.9 7.1 8.3 8.5 8.7 8.1 7.6 6.1 5.5 5.6
 Bulgaria 6.3 9.9 11.2 12.1 13.0 11.9 10.0 8.1 6.4 5.4 4.6 4.4
 Croatia 8.9 10.8 13.7 15.5 16.5 17.7 16.6 13.9 11.8 9.0 7.2 7.1
 Cyprus 4.6 6.7 6.9 10.7 14.9 16.2 16.2 13.1 12.1 8.9 7.2 6.5
 Czech Republic 5.9 7.7 6.8 6.9 7.2 6.5 5.6 4.0 3.2 2.2 2.0 1.9
 Denmark 5.3 7.6 7.4 7.7 7.1 6.6 6.4 6.0 5.9 4.9 5.3 4.8
 Estonia 4.3 11.9 19.2 14.0 11.1 9.1 7.9 6.7 6.4 5.7 4.1 5.0
 Finland 7.6 8.5 7.9 7.6 8.1 8.4 9.2 9.0 8.8 7.9 6.8 6.7
 France 8.9 9.3 9.1 9.5 10.3 10.2 10.3 10.1 9.6 9.2 8.7 8.7
 Germany 7.6 7.3 6.1 5.4 5.3 5.1 4.8 4.3 3.9 3.5 3.2 3.1
 Greece 9.1 11.6 16.0 22.7 27.1 26.9 26.0 23.8 22.1 20.1 18.2 17.6
 Hungary 9.6 11.4 11.1 11.3 10.6 7.9 7.3 5.7 4.4 3.7 3.4 3.4
 Ireland 11.1 13.2 14.3 15.0 13.6 12.0 9.8 8.3 7.0 5.8 5.0 5.3
 Italy 7.6 8.4 8.0 10.5 11.9 12.7 12.4 11.5 11.5 10.8 10.1 9.7
 Latvia 14.8 20.4 16.7 15.9 11.9 11.1 9.8 8.6 8.8 7.7 6.5 6.5
 Lithuania 11.6 17.8 16.5 14.0 12.1 11.5 9.3 8.4 7.5 6.5 6.0 5.7
 Luxembourg 5.4 4.6 4.7 5.1 5.7 6.0 6.4 6.4 5.8 5.3 5.7 5.8
 Malta 6.6 6.9 6.5 6.5 6.2 5.9 5.7 4.9 4.2 3.9 3.4 3.4
 Netherlands 3.9 5.1 4.8 5.5 6.9 7.8 7.0 6.4 5.1 3.9 3.3 3.4
 Poland 7.9 10.0 9.4 9.8 10.6 9.7 7.8 6.4 5.1 3.9 3.7 3.8
 Portugal 10.1 11.6 12.5 15.0 17.2 14.7 13.2 12.0 9.7 7.5 6.5 6.7
 Romania 6.0 7.3 6.8 7.0 6.9 7.0 6.7 6.4 5.2 4.4 3.9 4.0
 Slovakia 10.7 14.9 13.6 13.7 14.1 13.6 11.9 10.1 8.5 7.0 5.6 5.4
 Slovenia 5.3 6.9 8.1 7.9 10.8 10.1 9.2 8.3 6.9 5.5 4.5 4.4
 Spain 17.4 19.5 20.7 23.9 26.3 25.2 23.0 20.3 18.0 16.0 14.2 14.0
 Sweden 7.8 8.8 7.9 7.5 8.3 8.0 7.5 7.2 6.4 6.2 6.7 7.1
 European Union 8.6 9.7 9.5 10.3 10.9 10.5 9.7 8.8 7.9 7.1 6.4 6.3
Index of Economic Freedom
Member state 2016[62] 2017[63] 2018[64]
 Austria 71.2 72.3 71.8
 Belgium 68.8 67.8 67.5
 Denmark 75.3 75.1 76.6
 Finland 73.4 74.0 74.1
 France 62.5 63.3 63.9
 Germany 73.8 73.8 74.2
 Greece 54.0 55.0 57.3
 Ireland 77.3 76.7 80.4
 Italy 61.7 62.5 62.5
 Luxembourg 73.2 75.9 76.4
 Netherlands 73.7 75.8 76.2
 Portugal 65.3 62.6 63.4
 Spain 67.6 63.6 65.1
 Sweden 72.7 74.9 76.3
 Bulgaria 66.8 67.9 68.3
 Croatia 61.5 59.4 61.0
 Cyprus 67.9 67.9 67.8
 Czech Republic 72.5 73.3 74.2
 Estonia 77.2 79.1 78.8
 Hungary 66.8 65.8 66.7
 Latvia 69.7 74.8 73.6
 Lithuania 75.2 75.8 75.3
 Malta 66.5 67.7 68.5
 Poland 68.6 68.3 68.5
 Romania 66.6 69.7 69.4
 Slovakia 67.2 65.7 65.3
 Slovenia 60.3 59.2 64.8
 European Union 69.1 69.4
Unemployment rates in selected European countries and in the EU28 between 01/2004 and 04/2014.

Public finance[edit]

Public finance (with limits according to the Maastricht criterion)
Member state Public deficit as % of GDP (2018)
(E.U. limit : -3%)
[65]
Public debt as % of GDP (2018)
(E.U. limit : 60%)
[66]
HICP inflation rate (2018)
Max. 1.9% (as of 22 May 2018)
[67][68]
Long-term interest rate (03/18)
Max. 3.2% (as of 22 May 2018)
[67][69]
 Austria 0.1 73.8 2.1 0.81
 Belgium −0.7 102.0 2.3 0.87
 Bulgaria 2.0 22.6 2.6 1.05
 Croatia 0.2 74.6 1.6 2.19
 Cyprus -4.8 102.5 0.8 1.83
 Czech Republic 0.9 32.7 2.0 1.81
 Denmark 0.5 34.1 0.7 0.64
 Estonia −0.6 8.4 3.4 (n/a)
 Finland −0.7 58.9 1.2 0.72
 France −2.5 98.4 2.1 0.84
 Germany 1.7 60.9 1.9 0.53
 Greece 1.1 181.1 0.8 4.27
 Hungary −2.2 70.8 2.9 2.60
 Ireland 0.0 64.8 0.7 1.01
 Italy −2.1 132.2 1.2 1.97
 Latvia −1.0 35.9 2.6 0.83
 Lithuania 0.7 34.2 2.5 0.31
 Luxembourg 2.4 21.4 2.0 0.68
 Malta 2.0 46.0 1.7 1.23
 Netherlands 1.5 52.4 1.6 0.63
 Poland −0.4 48.9 1.2 3.27
 Portugal −0.5 121.5 1.2 1.79
 Romania −3.0 35.0 4.1 4.53
 Slovakia −0.7 48.9 2.5 0.80
 Slovenia 0.7 70.1 1.9 1.11
 Spain −2.5 97.1 1.7 1.33
 Sweden 0.9 38.8 2.0 0.77
 European Union −0.6 80.0 1.9 1.34
Eurozone −0.5 85.1 1.8 1.07

Trade[edit]

The European Union is the largest exporter in the world[70] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services.[71][72] Internal trade between the member states is aided by the removal of barriers to trade such as tariffs and border controls. In the eurozone, trade is helped by not having any currency differences to deal with amongst most members.[73]

The European Union Association Agreement does something similar for a much larger range of countries, partly as a so-called soft approach ('a carrot instead of a stick') to influence the politics in those countries. The European Union represents all its members at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and acts on behalf of member states in any disputes. When the EU negotiates trade related agreement outside the WTO framework, the subsequent agreement must be approved by each individual EU member state government.[73]

10 largest trading partners(2016)
The European Union–Mercosur Free Trade Agreement would form one of the world's largest free trade areas
Main trading partners (2016)[74]
Rank Partners Imports (million euro) % (of total) Exports (million euro) % (of total) Total trade (million euro) % (of total)
-  European Union 1,706,413 100% 1,745,730 100% 3,452,143 100%
1  United States 246,774 14,5% 362,043 20,7% 608,817 17,6%
2  China 344,642 20,2% 170,136 9,7% 514,779 14,9%
3   Switzerland 121,608 7,1% 142,432 8,2% 264,040 7,6%
4  Russia 118,661 7,0% 72,428 4,1% 191,089 5,5%
5  Turkey 66,652 3,9% 78,030 4,5% 144,681 4,2%
6  Japan 66,383 3,9% 58,136 3,3% 124,519 3,6%
7  Norway 62,935 3,7% 48,371 2,8% 111,306 3,2%
8  South Korea 41,433 2,4% 44,518 2,6% 85,951 2,5%
9  India 39,265 2,3% 37,800 2,2% 77,065 2,2%
10  Canada 29,094 1,7% 35,200 2,0% 64,294 1,9%
11  Brazil 29,334 1,7% 30,909 1,8% 60,243 1,7%
12  United Arab Emirates 9,201 0,5% 45,847 2,6% 55,048 1,6%
13  Mexico 19,800 1,2% 33,928 1,9% 53,728 1,6%
14  Hong Kong 18,212 1,1% 34,989 2,0% 53,201 1,5%
15  Saudi Arabia 19,010 1,1% 33,925 1,9% 52,935 1,5%
16  Singapore 19,436 1,1% 31,423 1,8% 50,859 1,5%
17  South Africa 22,853 1,3% 22,986 1,3% 45,839 1,3%
18  Taiwan 26,057 1,5% 19,631 1,1% 45,688 1,3%
19  Australia 13,070 0,8% 32,437 1,9% 45,507 1,3%
20  Vietnam 33,064 1,0% 9,332 0,5% 42,396 1,2%
21  Algeria 16,500 1,0% 20,908 1,2% 37,408 1,1%
22  Malaysia 22,177 1,3% 13,232 0,8% 35,409 1,0%
23  Morocco 13,809 0,8% 20,791 1,2% 34,599 1,0%
24  Israel 13,197 0,8% 21,142 1,2% 34,339 1,0%
25  Thailand 20,339 1,2% 13,595 0,8% 33,934 1,0%
26  Ukraine 13,080 0,8% 16,505 0,9% 29,586 0,9%
27  Egypt 6,691 0,4% 20,644 1,2% 27,335 0,8%
28  Indonesia 14,618 0,9% 10,461 0,6% 25,079 0,7%
29  Serbia 8,724 0,5% 11,698 0,7% 20,422 0,6%
30  Nigeria 10,937 0,6% 8,961 0,5% 19,898 0,6%
Trade with partner country groupings (2012)[74]
Rank Partner region Imports (million euro) % (of total) Exports (million euro) % (of total) Total trade (million euro) % (of total)
- Total EU 1,791,727 100% 1,686,774 100% 3,478,501 100%
- ACP 99,196 5,5% 86,652 5,1% 185,848 5,3%
- Andean Community 17,728 1,0% 11,738 0,7% 29,467 0,8%
- ASEAN 100,035 5,6% 81,324 4,8% 181,360 5,2%
- BRIC 577,513 32,2% 345,198 20,5% 922,711 26,5%
- CACM 9,546 0,5% 5,354 0,3% 14,900 0,4%
- EU Candidate Countries 55,386 3,1% 89,654 5,3% 145,040 4,2%
- CIS 273,505 15,3% 172,641 10,2% 446,146 12,8%
- EFTA 208,739 11,7% 186,222 11,0% 394,961 11,4%
- Latin America Countries 109,978 6,1% 110,297 6,5% 220,275 6,3%
- MEDA (excl. EU and Turkey) 73,341 4,1% 92,812 5,5% 166,153 4,8%
- Mercosur 49,196 2,7% 50,266 3,0% 99,461 2,9%
- NAFTA 255,657 14,3% 351,090 20,8% 606,746 17,4%
Trade balance, EU28 (as of 2018 before Brexit)
Sources: Eurostat [ext_lt_intertrd][76]


Trade balance, EU27 (as of 2020 post Brexit)
Sources: Eurostat, December 2019

Euro area international trade in goods surplus €23.1 bn €23.4 bn surplus for EU27

Regional variation[edit]

Comparing the richest areas of the EU can be a difficult task. This is because the NUTS 1 & 2 regions are not homogenous, some of them being very large regions, such as NUTS-1 Hesse (21,100 km2) or NUTS-1 Île-de-France (12,011 km2), whilst other NUTS regions are much smaller, for example NUTS-1 Hamburg (755 km2). An extreme example is Finland, which is divided for historical reasons into mainland Finland with 5.3 million inhabitants and Åland, an autonomous archipelago with a population of 27,000, or about the population of a small Finnish city.

One problem with this data is that some areas are subject to a large number of commuters coming into the area, thereby artificially inflating the figures. It has the effect of raising GDP but not altering the number of people living in the area, inflating the GDP per capita figure. Similar problems can be produced by a large number of tourists visiting the area. The data is used to define regions that are supported with financial aid in programs such as the European Regional Development Fund. The decision to delineate a Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) region is to a large extent arbitrary (i.e. not based on objective and uniform criteria across Europe), and is decided at European level (See also: Regions of the European Union).

NUTS-1 and NUTS-2 regions[edit]

The 10 NUTS-1 and NUTS-2 regions with the highest GDP per capita are almost all, except two, in the first fifteen-member states: Prague and Bratislava are the only ones in the 13 new member states that joined in May 2004, January 2007 and July 2013. The leading regions in the ranking of NUTS-2 regional GDP per inhabitant in 2018 were the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (263%), Southern Ireland (225%), and Eastern and Midland Ireland (210%). Figures for these three regions, however, were artificially inflated by the commuters who do not reside in these regions ("Net commuter inflows in these regions push up production to a level that could not be achieved by the resident active population on its own. The result is that GDP per inhabitant appears to be overestimated in these regions and underestimated in regions with commuter outflows.".[77] Another example of artificial inflation is Groningen. The calculated GDP per capita is very high because of the large natural gas reserves in this region, but Groningen is one of the poorest parts in the Netherlands.

Among the 19 NUTS-2 regions exceeding the 150% level, five were in Germany, two in each Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands and one each in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden, as well as in the single region Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The NUTS Regulation lays down a minimum population size of 3 million and a maximum size of 7 million for the average NUTS-1 region, whereas a minimum of 800,000 and a maximum of 3 million for NUTS-2 regions.¹[78] This definition, however, is not respected by Eurostat. E.g.: the région of Île-de-France, with 11.6 million inhabitants, is treated as a NUTS-2 region, while the state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, with only 664,000 inhabitants, is treated as a NUTS-1 region.

Source: Eurostat[77]

Among the ten lowest regions in the ranking in 2017 most were in Bulgaria, with the lowest figure recorded in Severozapaden. Among the 20 regions below the 50% level, five were in Bulgaria, four each in Greece and Hungary, three in Poland and two each in France and Romania.

Source: Eurostat[77]

See also[edit]

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  • ^ Cells shaded in green indicate forecast figure
  • ^ One region may be classified by Eurostat as a NUTS-1, NUTS-2 as well as a NUTS-3 region. Several NUTS-1 regions are also classified as NUTS-2 regions such as Brussels-Capital or Ile-de-France. Many countries are only classified as a single NUTS-1 and a single NUTS-2 region such as Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg and (although over 3 million inhabitants) Denmark.
  • "Euro-indicators News release" (PDF). June 2005 inflation data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2005.
  • "Euro-indicators News release" (PDF). May 2005 unemployment data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2005.
  • "World Bank". GNI data (July 2005). Retrieved 4 August 2005.

The following links are used for the GDP growth and GDP totals (IMF):

External links[edit]

Update needed?