Economy of the European Union

The economy of the European Union is the joint economy of the member states of the European Union (EU). It is the third largest economy in the world in nominal terms, after the United States and China, 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 around $15 trillion (nominal) in 2020,[25] representing around 1/6 of the global economy.[26]

Economy of the European Union
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 $15,167 billion (nominal; 2019)[2]
  • Decrease $19,686 billion (PPP; 2019)[2]
GDP growth
  • 2.3% (2018) 1.7% (2019)
  • −6.3% (2020) 5% (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 7.4% (EU27, August 2020)[10]
  • Negative increase 8.1% (EA19, August 2020)[10]
  • 21 million unemployed (2016)[11]
Average gross salary
€34,800, annual/ 42,500 USD (2018)[12]
Main industries
External
Exports$7,102 billion (2019 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
Imports$6,650 billion (2019 est.)[13]
Import goods
fuels and crude oil, machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, precious gemstones, textiles, aircraft, plastics, metals, ships
Main import partners
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
2015 GDP (nominal) in EU.svg

The euro is the second largest reserve currency and the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.[27][28][29] The euro is used by 19 of its 27 members, overall, it 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]

EU's investments in foreign countries total $9.1 trillion, while the foreign investments made in the European Union total $5.1 trillion in 2012, by far the highest foreign and domestic investments in the world.[36][37] Euronext is the main stock exchange of the Eurozone and the world's sixth largest by market capitalisation.[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]

CurrencyEdit

 
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]

BudgetEdit

The EU has a long-term budget, named Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), of €1,082.5 billion for the period 2014–2020, representing 1.02% of the EU-28's GNI.[42]

The overall budget for the period 2021-2027 is of €1.8 trillion combining the MFF of €1,074.3 billion with an extraordinary recovery fund of €750 billion, known as Next Generation EU, to support member states hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.[43]

SectorsEdit

ServicesEdit

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.

AgricultureEdit

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]

TourismEdit

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.

EnergyEdit

 
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 produce oil. The European Union produced 19.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of crude oil in 2019. The EU is one of the largest consumers of oil, consuming much more than it can produce It consumed about 350 Mtoe in 2019, importing 96.8% of the oil. The largest suppliers are Russia, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Norway. Transport is the largest consumer of oil, at 66.1% in 2019.[56]

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]

CompaniesEdit

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 Automobile 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 9 E.U. corporations by revenue (2016)[57]
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 Daimler DDAIY 165,800 9,345 284,015 Stuttgart, Germany Motor Vehicles & Parts
4 EXOR Group EXOSF 152,591 825 303,247 Amsterdam, Netherlands Financials
5 Total TOT 143,421 5,087 96,019 Paris, France Energy
6 E.ON EONGY 129,277 −7,764 56,490 Essen, Germany Energy
7 AXA AXAHY 129,250 6,231 98,279 Paris, France Financials
8 Allianz AZSEY 122,948 7,339 142,459 Munich, Germany Financials
9 BNP Paribas BNPQY 111,531 7,426 181,551 Paris, France Financials

Economies of member statesEdit

WealthEdit

 
European and bordering nations by GDP (PPP) per capita in 2019
 
List of European countries by mean wealth ,Credit Suisse

[ [[File:Gini Coefficient of Wealth Inequality source.png|thumb|Germany and the Netherlands are one of Europe's most unequal by wealth inequality:of countries by wealth inequality|List of countries by wealth inequality] [[File:European countries by median wealth per adult, 2018.jpg|thumb|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).[58]

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[59][60]
Member state 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Yearly growth
(2012–2020)
  Austria 0.7 0.0 0.7 1.0 2.0 2.4 2.6 1.4 -6.6 0.47
  Belgium 0.7 0.5 1.6 2.0 1.3 1.6 1.8 1.7 -6.3 0.54
  Bulgaria 0.4 0.3 1.9 4.0 3.8 3.5 3.1 3.7 -4.2 1.83
  Croatia −2.4 −0.4 −0.3 2.4 3.5 3.4 2.8 2.9 -8.0 0.43
  Cyprus −3.4 −6.6 −1.8 3.2 6.4 5.2 5.2 3.1 -5.1 0.69
  Czech Republic −0.8 0.0 2.3 5.4 2.5 5.2 3.2 2.3 -5.6 1.61
  Denmark 0.2 0.9 1.6 2.3 3.2 2.8 2.2 2.8 -2.7 1.48
  Estonia 3.1 1.3 3.0 1.8 3.2 5.5 4.4 5.0 -2.9 2.71
  Finland −1.4 −0.9 −0.4 0.5 2.8 3.2 1.3 1.3 -2.8 0.40
  France 0.3 0.6 1.0 1.1 1.1 2.3 1.8 1.5 -8.1 0.18
  Germany 0.4 0.4 2.2 1.5 2.2 2.6 1.3 0.6 -4.8 0.71
  Greece −7.1 −2.7 0.7 −0.4 −0.5 1.3 1.6 1.9 -8.2 −1.49
  Hungary −1.4 1.9 4.2 3.8 2.1 4.3 5.4 4.6 -5.0 2.21
  Ireland 0.1 1.2 8.6 25.2 2.0 9.1 8.5 5.6 3.4 7.08
  Italy −3.0 −1.8 0.0 0.8 1.3 1.7 0.9 0.3 -8.9 -0.96
  Latvia 4.3 2.3 1.1 4.0 2.4 3.3 4.0 2.0 -3.6 2.2
  Lithuania 3.8 3.6 3.5 2.0 2.5 4.3 3.9 4.3 -0.9 3.0
  Luxembourg −0.4 3.7 4.3 4.3 4.6 1.8 3.1 2.3 -1.3 2.49
  Malta 4.1 5.5 7.6 9.6 4.1 8.1 5.2 5.5 -7.0 4.74
  Netherlands −1.0 −0.1 1.4 2.0 2.2 2.9 2.4 1.7 -3.7 0.87
  Poland 1.3 1.1 3.4 4.2 3.1 4.8 5.4 4.5 -2.7 2.79
  Portugal −4.1 −0.9 0.8 1.8 2.0 3.5 2.8 2.5 -7.6 0.09
  Romania 2.0 3.8 3.6 3.0 4.7 7.3 4.5 4.1 -3.9 3.23
  Slovakia 1.9 0.7 2.6 4.8 2.1 3.0 3.8 2.3 -4.8 1.82
  Slovenia −2.6 −1.0 2.8 2.2 3.2 4.8 4.4 3.2 -5.5 1.28
  Spain −3.0
−1.4 1.4 3.8 3.0 3.0 2.4 2.0 -10.8 0.04
  Sweden −0.6 1.2 2.7 4.5 2.1 2.6 2.0 1.4 -2.8 1.46
  European Union −0.7 0.0 1.6 2.3 2.0 2.8 2.1 1.6 -6.1 0.62
Eurozone −0.9 −0.2 1.4 2.0 1.9 2.6 1.9 1.3 -6.6 0.38
EU member states by GDP (nominal) in billions of €[61]
Member state 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Change from 2008 to 2020 Change in percentage
  Austria 293.762 318.653 323.910 333.146 344.269 357.300 370.296 385.712 397.575 377.297 81,80 27,8%
  Belgium 351.743 386.175 392.880 403.003 416.701 430.085 444.991 460.419 476.203 451.177 99,43 28,3%
  Bulgaria 37.218 42.049 41.903 42.890 45.691 48.640 52.329 56.112 61.240 60.643 23,43 62,9%
  Croatia 47.998 44.008 43.806 43.399 44.612 46.619 49.239 51.950 54.238 49.283 1,29 2,7%
  Cyprus 19.010 19.441 17.995 17.430 17.884 18.929 20.120 21.433 22.287 21.000 1,99 10,5%
  Czechia 161.313 162.588 159.462 157.821 169.558 177.439 194.133 210.928 223.950 213.661 52,35 32,5%
  Denmark 241.614 254.578 258.743 265.757 273.018 283.110 294.808 302.361 312.747 311.726 70,11 29,0%
  Estonia 16.638 18.051 19.033 20.180 20.782 21.932 23.858 25.938 28.112 27.167 10,53 63,3%
  Finland 194.265 201.037 204.321 206.897 211.385 217.518 226.301 233.696 240.261 237.467 43,20 22,2%
  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 2,425.708 2,278.947 286,57 14,4%
  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 3,449.050 3,332.230 785,74 30,9%
  Greece 241.990 188.389 179.616 177.349 176.110 174.237 177.152 179.727 183.414 165.830 -76,16 -31,5%
  Hungary 108.216 99.984 102.034 106.061 112.701 116.130 126.891 135.931 146.062 135.925 27,71 25,6%
  Ireland 187.769 175.116 179.661 194.818 262.833 271.684 297.131 324.038 356.051 366.506 178,74 95,2%
  Italy 1,637.699 1,624.359 1,612.751 1,627.406 1,655.355 1,695.787 1,736.593 1,771.566 1,790.942 1,651.595 13,90 0,8%
  Latvia 24.397 22.098 22.845 23.654 24.561 25.360 26.962 29.142 30.421 29.334 4,94 20,2%
  Lithuania 32.696 33.332 34.985 36.545 37.322 38.893 42.269 45.264 48.797 48.930 16,23 49,7%
  Luxembourg 38.129 44.112 46.500 49.825 52.066 54.867 56.814 60.053 63.516 64.143 26,01 68,2%
  Malta 6.129 7.168 7.647 8.510 9.997 10.589 11.704 12.587 13.592 12.824 6,70 109,2%
  Netherlands 647.198 652.966 660.463 671.560 690.008 708.337 738.146 773.987 813.055 800.095 151,48 23,4%
  Poland 366.181 387.947 392.311 408.968 430.466 427.092 467.427 497.842 533.600 523.038 156,86 42,8%
  Portugal 179.103 168.296 170.492 173.054 179.713 186.490 195.947 205.184 213.949 202.441 23,36 13,0%
  Romania 146.591 132.711 143.690 150.709 160.150 170.063 187.773 204.497 222.998 218.165 71,57 48,8%
  Slovakia 66.098 73.484 74.355 76.256 79.758 81.038 84.517 89.721 93.865 91.555 25,46 38,5%
  Slovenia 37.926 36.253 36.454 37.634 38.853 40.367 42.987 45.755 48.392 46.297 8,37 22,1%
  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 1,244.772 1,121.698 12,16 1,1%
  Sweden 353.310 428.825 440.191 437.541 454.184 466.348 479.605 471.208 476.870 474.724 118,95 33,7%
  European Union 11,321.808 11,388.518 11,517.118 11,781.640 12,211.542 12,550.950 13,069.292 13,517.905 13,963.560 13,297.246 1 975,44 17,4%
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 11,935.448 11,317.640 1 834,51 19,3%
EU member states by GDP (nominal) per capita in €[61]
Member state 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Change from 2008 to 2020 Change in percentage
  Austria 35,300 37,820 38,210 38,990 39,890 40,880 42,100 43,640 44,780 42,300 7,000 19,8%
  Belgium 32,840 34,770 35,210 35,950 36,960 37,980 39,240 40,240 41,460 39,110 6,270 19,1%
  Bulgaria 4,880 5,750 5,770 5,940 6,360 6,820 7,390 7,980 8,780 8,750 3,870 79,3%
  Croatia 11,130 10,290 10,270 10,250 10,600 11,170 11,890 12,620 13,340 12,170 1,040 9,3%
  Cyprus 24,170 22,500 20,880 20,420 21,100 22,230 23,410 24,630 25,270 23,400 -770 -3,2%
  Czechia 13,740 15,360 15,010 14,880 15,980 16,690 18,100 19,530 20,990 19,970 6,230 45,3%
  Denmark 43,990 45,530 46,100 47,090 48,050 49,420 50,700 52,010 53,760 53,470 9,480 21,6%
  Estonia 12,430 13,620 14,420 15,340 15,820 16,490 18,070 19,740 21,220 20,440 8,010 64,4%
  Finland 36,560 37,130 37,570 37,880 38,570 39,580 41,000 42,370 43,510 42,940 6,380 17,5%
  France 30,960 31,820 32,080 32,420 33,020 33,430 34,220 34,980 35,960 34,040 3,080 9,9%
  Germany 31,530 34,130 34,860 36,150 37,090 38,060 39,260 40,340 41,510 40,120 8,590 27,2%
  Greece 21,840 17,310 16,480 16,400 16,380 16,380 16,760 17,210 17,100 15,490 -6,350 -29,1%
  Hungary 10,780 10,050 10,310 10,730 11,400 11,740 12,830 13,690 14,950 13,940 3,160 29,3%
  Ireland 41,730 38,090 38,890 41,870 55,970 57,210 61,870 66,670 72,260 73,590 31,860 76,3%
  Italy 27,660 26,920 26,590 26,770 27,260 27,970 28,690 29,220 29,660 27,780 120 0,4%
  Latvia 11,230 10,870 11,350 11,860 12,350 12,800 13,810 15,130 15,920 15,430 4,200 37,4%
  Lithuania 10,210 11,160 11,830 12,460 12,850 13,560 14,940 16,160 17,460 17,510 7,300 71,5%
  Luxembourg 77,940 83,000 85,270 89,240 91,440 93,930 95,170 98,640 102,200 101,640 23,700 30,4%
  Malta 15,160 17,060 17,950 19,570 22,450 23,240 24,980 25,940 26,930 24,630 9,470 62,5%
  Netherlands 39,350 38,970 39,300 39,820 40,730 41,590 43,090 44,920 46,710 45,870 6,520 16,6%
  Poland 9,600 10,100 10,250 10,680 11,190 11,100 12,160 12,920 13,870 13,640 4,040 42,1%
  Portugal 16,960 16,010 16,300 16,640 17,350 18,060 19,020 19,950 20,800 19,660 2,700 15,9%
  Romania 7,140 6,640 7,190 7,550 8,090 8,650 9,580 10,510 11,530 11,290 4,150 58,1%
  Slovakia 12,230 13,590 13,740 14,070 14,710 14,920 15,540 16,470 17,210 16,770 4,540 37,1%
  Slovenia 18,760 17,630 17,700 18,250 18,830 19,550 20,810 22,080 23,170 22,010 3,250 17,3%
  Spain 24,130 22,050 21,900 22,220 23,220 23,980 24,970 25,730 26,430 23,690 -440 -1,8%
  Sweden 38,490 45,050 45,850 45,130 46,480 47,990 47,730 46,260 46,170 45,850 7,360 19,1%
  European Union 25,260 25,740 26,000 26,550 27,460 28,160 29,280 30,230 31,160 29,730 4,470 17,7%
Eurozone 28,880 29,220 29,440 30,070 31,030 31,790 32,850 33,830 34,820 33,060 4,260 14,8%
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
  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
  Cyprus 29.2 31.0 32.4 34.8 33.6 32.1 30.8 29.1 31.1
  Czech Republic 25.2 24.9 24.6 25.1 25.0 25.1 24.5 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 35.4
  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
  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 31.9
  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 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 marketEdit

 
Unemployment rate by country in the EEA in March 2019.

The EU seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7% in September 2018.[62] The euro area unemployment rate was 8.1%.[62] 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).[62]

Unemployment rateEdit

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[63] 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
  Austria 5.0 4.9 4.7 4.6 5.4 5.6 5.6 5.9 5.8 4.9 4.8 4.8
  Belgium 8.0 8.5 6.9 7.1 8.3 8.5 8.7 8.2 7.7 6.1 5.5 4.9
  Bulgaria 6.3 9.9 11.2 12.1 13.0 11.9 10.0 8.1 6.4 5.3 4.5 4.4
  Croatia 8.9 10.8 13.7 15.5 16.5 17.7 16.6 14.0 11.9 9.0 7.0 6.5
  Cyprus 4.6 6.7 6.9 10.7 14.9 16.2 16.2 13.0 12.2 8.9 7.6 6.3
  Czech Republic 5.9 7.7 6.8 6.9 7.2 6.5 5.6 4.1 3.3 2.1 2.0 2.0
  Denmark 5.3 7.6 7.4 7.7 7.1 6.6 6.4 6.1 6.0 5.1 5.4 4.8
  Estonia 4.3 11.9 19.2 14.0 11.1 9.1 7.9 6.7 5.5 6.1 4.6 5.1
  Finland 7.6 8.5 7.9 7.6 8.1 8.4 9.2 9.4 8.9 8.0 6.3 6.7
  France 8.9 9.3 9.1 9.5 10.3 10.2 10.3 10.2 9.5 9.2 8.6 7.4
  Germany 7.6 7.3 6.1 5.4 5.3 5.1 4.8 4.3 3.9 3.5 3.2 3.8
  Greece 9.1 11.6 16.0 22.7 27.1 26.9 26.0 23.9 22.3 20.2 17.8 15.9
  Hungary 9.6 11.4 11.1 11.3 10.6 7.9 7.3 5.6 4.6 3.5 3.2 3.4
  Ireland 11.1 13.2 14.3 15.0 13.6 12.0 9.8 8.9 7.2 5.9 5.1 5.0 5.8
  Italy 7.6 8.4 8.0 10.5 11.9 12.7 12.4 11.6 11.7 11.0 10.1 7.4
  Latvia 14.8 20.4 16.7 15.9 11.9 11.1 9.8 9.7 8.8 7.7 6.4 7.4
  Lithuania 11.6 17.8 16.5 14.0 12.1 11.5 9.3 8.1 7.6 6.6 6.1 7.2
  Luxembourg 5.4 4.6 4.7 5.1 5.7 6.0 6.4 6.4 5.7 5.6 5.6 6.5
  Malta 6.6 6.9 6.5 6.5 6.2 5.9 5.7 5.1 4.0 3.9 3.7 3.9
  Netherlands 3.9 5.1 4.8 5.5 6.9 7.8 7.0 6.4 5.1 3.9 3.3 2.9 3.5
  Poland 7.9 10.0 9.4 9.8 10.6 9.7 7.8 6.5 5.0 3.8 3.6 3.0
  Portugal 10.1 11.6 12.5 15.0 17.2 14.7 13.2 12.1 9.9 7.6 6.6 6.3
  Romania 6.0 7.3 6.8 7.0 6.9 7.0 6.7 6.2 5.2 4.4 3.8 4.5
  Slovakia 10.7 14.9 13.6 13.7 14.1 13.6 11.9 10.2 8.6 7.0 5.8 6.0
  Slovenia 5.3 6.9 8.1 7.9 10.8 10.1 9.2 8.3 7.0 5.5 4.4 4.5
  Spain 17.4 19.5 20.7 23.9 26.3 25.2 23.0 20.2 18.0 15.9 14.2 14.4
  Sweden 7.8 8.8 7.9 7.5 8.3 8.0 7.5 7.3 6.4 6.1 7.3 6.8
  European Union 8.6 9.7 9.5 10.3 10.9 10.5 9.7 9.4 8.5 7.5 6.8 6.4

Economic freedomEdit

There are two views of the relations between economic freedom and the European Union: In Europe membership of the European Union comes with increased economic freedom which reduces national regulations, while in the UK the withdrawal of the European Union is perceived as a possibility to achieve a level of economic freedom not availalable in the European Union.[64]

Index of Economic Freedom
Member state 2016[65] 2017[66] 2018[67] 2019[68]
  Austria 71.2 72.3 71.8 72.0
  Belgium 68.8 67.8 67.5 67.3
  Denmark 75.3 75.1 76.6 76.7
  Finland 73.4 74.0 74.1 74.9
  France 62.5 63.3 63.9 63.8
  Germany 73.8 73.8 74.2 73.5
  Greece 54.0 55.0 57.3 57.7
  Ireland 77.3 76.7 80.4 80.5
  Italy 61.7 62.5 62.5 62.2
  Luxembourg 73.2 75.9 76.4 75.9
  Netherlands 73.7 75.8 76.2 76.8
  Portugal 65.3 62.6 63.4 65.3
  Spain 67.6 63.6 65.1 65.7
  Sweden 72.7 74.9 76.3 75.2
  Bulgaria 66.8 67.9 68.3 69.0
  Croatia 61.5 59.4 61.0 61.4
  Cyprus 67.9 67.9 67.8 68.1
  Czech Republic 72.5 73.3 74.2 73.7
  Estonia 77.2 79.1 78.8 76.6
  Hungary 66.8 65.8 66.7 65.0
  Latvia 69.7 74.8 73.6 70.4
  Lithuania 75.2 75.8 75.3 74.2
  Malta 66.5 67.7 68.5 68.6
  Poland 68.6 68.3 68.5 67.8
  Romania 66.6 69.7 69.4 68.6
  Slovakia 67.2 65.7 65.3 65.0
  Slovenia 60.3 59.2 64.8 65.5
  European Union 69.1 69.4
 
Unemployment rates in selected European countries and in the EU28 between 01/2004 and 04/2014.

Public financeEdit

Public finance (with limits according to the Maastricht criterion)
Member state Public deficit as % of GDP (2018)
(E.U. limit : -3%)
[69]
Public debt as % of GDP (2020)
(E.U. limit : 60%)
[70]
HICP inflation rate (2018)
Max. 1.9% (as of 22 May 2018)
[71][72]
Long-term interest rate (03/18)
Max. 3.2% (as of 22 May 2018)
[71][73]
  Austria 0.1 83.9 2.1 0.81
  Belgium −0.7 114.1 2.3 0.87
  Bulgaria 2.0 25.0 2.6 1.05
  Croatia 0.2 88.7 1.6 2.19
  Cyprus -4.8 118.2 0.8 1.83
  Czech Republic 0.9 38.1 2.0 1.81
  Denmark 0.5 42.2 0.7 0.64
  Estonia −0.6 18.2 3.4 (n/a)
  Finland −0.7 69.2 1.2 0.72
  France −2.5 116.3 2.1 0.84
  Germany 1.7 69.8 1.9 0.53
  Greece 1.1 205.6 0.8 4.27
  Hungary −2.2 80.4 2.9 2.60
  Ireland 0.0 59.5 0.7 1.01
  Italy −2.1 155.8 1.2 1.97
  Latvia −1.0 43.5 2.6 0.83
  Lithuania 0.7 47.3 2.5 0.31
  Luxembourg 2.4 24.9 2.0 0.68
  Malta 2.0 54.3 1.7 1.23
  Netherlands 1.5 54.5 1.6 0.63
  Poland −0.4 57.6 1.2 3.27
  Portugal −0.5 133.6 1.2 1.79
  Romania −3.0 47.3 4.1 4.53
  Slovakia −0.7 60.6 2.5 0.80
  Slovenia 0.7 80.8 1.9 1.11
  Spain −2.5 120.0 1.7 1.33
  Sweden 0.9 39.9 2.0 0.77
  European Union −0.6 90.8 1.9 1.34
Eurozone −0.5 98.1 1.8 1.07

TradeEdit

 
The European Union–Mercosur Free Trade Agreement would form one of the world's largest free trade areas

The European Union is the largest exporter in the world[74] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services.[75][76] 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.[77]

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.[77]

 
10 largest trading partners (2016, UK included in the EU before Brexit)
Main trading partners (2016)[78]
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)[78]
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][80]
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 variationEdit

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 regionsEdit

The 10 NUTS-1 and NUTS-2 regions with the highest GDP per capita are almost all, except one, in the first fifteen-member states: Prague is the only one 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 2019 were the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (260%), Southern Ireland (240%), and Prague Czech Republic (205%). 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.".[81] 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 14 NUTS-2 regions exceeding the 160% level, two were in each Ireland and Germany and one each in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, 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.[82] 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[81]

Among the lowest regions in the ranking in 2019 most were in Bulgaria, with the lowest figure recorded in Severozapaden. Among the 14 regions below the 50% level, five were in Bulgaria, four in Greece, two each in France and Hungary and one in Romania.

Source: Eurostat[81]

See alsoEdit

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  • ^ Cells shaded in green indicate forecast figure[clarification needed]
  • ^ 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.
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The following links are used for the GDP growth and GDP totals (IMF):

External linksEdit