Economy of the European Union

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Economy of the European Union
La Défense and Bois de Boulogne from the Eiffel Tower, 11 June 2017 002.jpg
Paris, the largest metropolis in the EU
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
  • Increase $17.9 trillion (nominal; 2022)[2]
  • Increase $23.73 trillion (PPP; 2022)[2]
GDP growth
  • 2.3% (2018)
    1.7% (2019)
    −5.9% (2020)
    5.4% (2021)[3]
GDP per capita
  • Increase $45,567.108 (nominal; 2022)[2]
  • Increase $53,201.230 (PPP; 2022)[2]
GDP by sector
  • 7.5% (March 2022)[3]
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
€24,946 annual (2021)[11]
Main industries
External
Exports$7,102 trillion (2019 est.)[12]
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 trillion (2019 est.)[12]
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)[14]
  • €5.2 trillion (outward, 2012)[15]
Increase €161.6 billion; 1.1% of GDP (2015)[16]
$13.05 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)[12]
Increase −€2,557.4 billion; 17.5% of GDP (2015)[17]
Public finances
  • Positive decrease 77.8% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[18]
  • Increase €10.833 trillion (EU27; 2019)[18]
  • €77.6 billion deficit (EU27; 2019)[18]
  • −0.6% of GDP (2019)[18]
Revenues46.2% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[18]
Expenses46.7% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[18]
Economic aiddonor: ODA, $87.64 billion[20]



  • Scope:[22]
  • AAA
  • Outlook: Stable
Foreign reserves
$0.6 trillion (2010)[23]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.
2015 nominal GDP in the EU
Eurozone's inflation

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 $17.9 trillion (nominal) in 2020,[24] representing around one sixth of the global economy.[25]

The euro is the second largest reserve currency and the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.[26][27][28] 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.[29] The GDP per capita (PPP) was $43,188 in 2018,[30] compared to $62,869 in the United States, $44,246 Japan and $18,116 in China.[31] There are significant disparities in GDP per capita (PPP) between member states ranging from $106,372 in Luxembourg to $23,169 in Bulgaria.[32] With a low Gini coefficient of 31, the European Union has a more egalitarian distribution of income than the world average.[33][34]

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.[35][36] Euronext is the main stock exchange of the Eurozone and the world's sixth largest by market capitalisation.[37] 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.[38] Real investment in the European Union fell by 14.6% by the end of the second quarter of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. It recovered and returned to its 2019 level by the second quarter of 2021.

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%.[39]

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).[40]

Budget[edit]

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.[41]

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.[42]

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.[43]

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.[44] The plan aims "to establish the building blocks of an integrated capital market in the EU by 2019".[45] The CMU initiative comprises 33 measures in all.[46] The plan was updated in 2017 and in 2019, since not a single legislation will deliver the CMU.[47] 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.[48][49][50][51]

According to the Global Financial Centres Index, the two largest financial centres in Europe, London and Zurich, are outside the European Union.[52] The two largest financial centres remaining within the EU will then be Frankfurt and Luxembourg City.

In the European Investment Bank's Investment survey 2021, 58% of firms in the service sector were expecting long term effects of COVID-19.[53][54] 56% of EU enterprises received governmental help to handle the pandemic's effects. [55][56][57]

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on sales. 49% of all EU enterprises claimed that their sales decreased since the start of 2020. [58][59] The pandemic has affected sectors differently, with the number of enterprises losing money in the hotels, restaurants, arts, and leisure industries reaching roughly 25% compared to previous times, and transportation also being affected. [60][61][62]

Without government assistance, 35% of European small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) in manufacturing and services indicated their businesses would not have survived the effects of the pandemic.[55][63]

In 2020, 86% of enterprises reported previous-year investment activity, while in 2021 only 79% reported investment. 23% of EU firms changed their investment plans in 2021, with only 3% reporting a higher amount. [64][65] The highest proportion of enterprises that have reduced their investment plans due to a drop in sales are in Poland, where 49% of firms have reduced investment, and in Belgium, where 47% of firms stated the same.[66][67]

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.[68] 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.[69]

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 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.[70]

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 and AXA, which are the two largest financial service providers in the world by revenue; WPP plc and Publicis which are the world's largest advertising agencies 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; Christian Dior SE[71] which is the biggest fashion group in the world and Inditex is the world’s second biggest fashion group; 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, Électricité de France, Total Energies, Eni which are 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 BNP Paribas, HSBC, Crédit Agricole, Grupo Santander and Société Générale the largest bank in Europe in terms of Market Capitalisation and assets.[72]

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, Automobiles Alpine, BMW, Bugatti, 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.

In Europe, 33% of jobs are within enterprises that have not digitally transformed. These companies were also less likely to train their employees throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.[73][74]

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)[75]
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 states[edit]

Wealth[edit]

European and bordering nations by GDP (PPP) per capita in 2019
List of European countries by mean wealth, Credit Suisse
Gini goefficient of European wealth inequality, Eurostat
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).[76]

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.

In mid-2021, the European Union's gross saving rate was 18% of gross disposable income, higher above the prior COVID-19 pandemic average of 11–13%.[77][78] In the second quarter of 2020, families' primary income fell by 7.3% compared to the second quarter of 2019, and their secondary income (from social security payments and other transfers) increased by 6.5% of gross income.[79][80][81]

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[82]
Member state 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Yearly growth
(2012–2020)
 Austria 0.7 0.0 0.7 1.0 2.0 2.3 2.5 1.5 –6.7 4.5 0.47
 Belgium 0.7 0.5 1.6 2.0 1.3 1.6 1.8 2.1 –5.7 6.2 0.54
 Bulgaria 0.8 -0.6 1.0 3.4 3.0 2.8 2.7 4.0 –4.4 4.2 1.83
 Croatia −2.3 −0.4 −0.3 2.5 3.5 3.4 2.9 3.5 –8.1 10.2 0.43
 Cyprus −3.4 −6.6 −1.8 3.4 6.5 5.9 5.7 5.3 –5.0 5.5 0.69
 Czech Republic −0.8 0.0 2.3 5.4 2.5 5.2 3.2 3.0 –5.8 3.3 1.61
 Denmark 0.2 0.9 1.6 2.3 3.2 2.8 2.0 2.1 –2.1 4.7 1.48
 Estonia 3.2 1.5 3.0 1.9 3.2 5.8 4.1 4.1 –3.0 8.3 2.71
 Finland −1.4 −0.9 −0.4 0.5 2.8 3.2 1.1 1.2 –2.3 3.5 0.40
 France 0.3 0.6 1.0 1.1 1.1 2.3 1.9 1.8 –7.9 7.0 0.18
 Germany 0.4 0.4 2.2 1.5 2.2 2.7 1.1 1.1 –4.6 2.9 0.71
 Greece −7.1 −2.5 0.5 −0.2 −0.5 1.1 1.7 1.8 –9.0 8.3 −1.49
 Hungary -1.3 1.8 4.2 3.7 2.2 4.3 5.4 4.6 –4.5 7.1 2.21
 Ireland -0.1 1.3 8.7 25.2 2.0 8.9 9.0 4.9 5.9 13.5 7.08
 Italy −3.0 −1.8 0.0 0.8 1.3 1.7 0.9 0.4 –9.0 6.6 -0.96
 Latvia 7.0 2.0 1.9 3.9 2.4 3.3 4.0 2.5 –3.8 4.5 2.2
 Lithuania 3.8 3.6 3.5 2.0 2.5 4.3 4.0 4.6 –0.1 5.0 3.0
 Luxembourg 1.6 3.2 2.6 2.3 5.0 1.3 2.0 3.3 –1.8 6.9 2.49
 Malta 4.1 5.5 7.6 9.6 3.1 11.5 6.1 5.9 –8.3 9.4 4.74
 Netherlands −1.0 −0.1 1.4 2.0 2.2 2.9 2.4 2.0 –3.8 5.0 0.87
 Poland 1.3 1.1 3.4 4.2 3.1 4.8 5.4 4.7 –2.2 5.9 2.79
 Portugal −4.1 −0.9 0.8 1.8 2.0 3.5 2.8 2.7 –8.4 4.9 0.09
 Romania 2.0 3.8 3.6 3.0 4.7 7.3 4.5 4.2 –3.7 5.9 3.23
 Slovakia 1.4 0.7 2.7 5.2 1.9 3.0 3.8 2.6 –4.4 3.0 1.82
 Slovenia −2.6 −1.0 2.8 2.2 3.2 4.8 4.4 3.3 –4.2 8.1 1.28
 Spain −3.0
−1.4 1.4 3.8 3.0 3.0 2.3 2.1 –10.8 5.1 0.04
 Sweden −0.6 1.2 2.7 4.5 2.1 2.6 2.0 2.0 –2.9 4.8 1.46
 European Union −0.7 0.0 1.6 2.3 2.0 2.8 2.1 1.8 –5.9 5.3 0.62
Eurozone −0.9 −0.2 1.4 2.0 1.9 2.6 1.8 1.6 –6.4 5.3 0.38
EU member states by GDP (nominal) in billions of €[83]
Member state 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Change from 2008 to 2021 Change in percentage
 Austria 293.762 318.653 323.910 333.146 344.269 357.608 369.362 385.424 397.519 379.321 403.370 109,61 37,3%
 Belgium 351.743 386.175 392.880 403.003 416.701 430.085 445.050 460.029 478.161 456.893 506.950 155,21 41,1%
 Bulgaria 37.218 42.257 42.050 43.026 45.812 48.773 52.531 56.225 61.558 61.331 67.872 30,65 82,4%
 Croatia 47.998 44.484 44.329 43.919 45.186 47.246 49.889 52.689 55.571 50.190 57.310 9,31 19,4%
 Cyprus 19.010 19.441 17.995 17.430 17.884 18.929 20.120 21.433 22.287 21.000 23.352 4,34 22,8%
 Czechia 161.313 162.588 159.462 157.821 169.558 177.439 194.133 210.928 225.569 215.248 238.714 77,66 48,1%
 Denmark 241.614 254.578 258.743 265.757 273.018 283.110 294.808 302.329 310.476 312.517 335.705 92,91 38,5%
 Estonia 16.638 18.051 19.033 20.180 20.782 21.932 23.858 25.938 28.112 27.167 30.660 14,02 84,3%
 Finland 194.265 201.037 204.321 206.897 211.385 217.518 226.301 233.468 239.852 237.995 252.934 58,26 30,0%
 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 2,483.616 491,24 24,7%
 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 3,570.620 1024,13 40,2%
 Greece 241.990 188.381 179.884 177.236 176.369 174.494 176.903 179.558 183.250 165.326 182.830 –59,16 –24,4%
 Hungary 108.216 100.281 102.276 106.298 112.824 116.279 127.046 136.073 146.113 137.442 154.124 45,32 41,9%
 Ireland 187.769 175.513 179.411 194.933 262.800 270.058 296.925 326.043 356.526 372.869 421.529 233,76 124,5%
 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 1,781.221 143,52 8,8%
 Latvia 24.397 22.098 22.845 23.654 24.561 25.360 26.962 29.142 30.421 29.334 32.916 8,52 34,9%
 Lithuania 32.696 33.410 35.040 36.581 37.346 38.890 42.276 45.515 48.860 49.507 55.383 22,63 69,2%
 Luxembourg 38.129 46.526 49.095 51.791 54.142 56.208 58.169 60.362 62.704 64.221 73.314 35,18 92,3%
 Malta 6.129 7.168 7.647 8.510 9.997 10.589 11.704 12.587 13.592 12.824 14.533 8,4 137,1%
 Netherlands 647.198 652.966 660.463 671.560 690.008 708.337 738.146 773.987 813.055 800.095 860.719 211,97 32,8%
 Poland 366.181 387.947 392.311 408.968 430.466 427.092 467.427 497.842 533.600 523.668 570.207 204,03 55,7%
 Portugal 179.103 168.296 170.492 173.054 179.713 186.490 195.947 205.184 214.375 200.088 211.278 32,36 18,1%
 Romania 146.591 132.711 143.690 150.709 160.150 170.063 187.773 204.497 223.163 218.863 240.154 93,05 63,5%
 Slovakia 66.098 73.361 74.217 76.093 79.888 81.014 84.443 89.430 94.048 92.079 97.123 31,02 46,9%
 Slovenia 37.926 36.253 36.454 37.634 38.853 40.443 43.011 45.864 48.397 46.918 52.020 14,09 37,2%
 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 1,202.994 93,45 8,4%
 Sweden 353.310 430.037 441.851 438.834 455.495 466.267 480.026 470.673 476.870 475.666 530.357 177,05 50,1%
 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 14,447.940 3 126,13 27,6%
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 12,255.526 2 772,39 29,2%
EU member states by GDP (nominal) per capita in €[83]
Member state 2008 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Change from 2008 to 2021 Change in percentage
 Austria 35,300 37,820 38,210 38,990 39,890 40,880 42,100 43,640 44,780 42,300 45,040 9,740 27,6%
 Belgium 32,840 34,770 35,210 35,950 36,960 37,980 39,240 40,240 41,460 39,110 43,740 10,900 33,2%
 Bulgaria 4,880 5,780 5,790 5,960 6,380 6,840 7,420 8,000 8,820 8,840 9,850 4,970 101,8%
 Croatia 11,130 10,290 10,270 10,250 10,600 11,170 11,890 12,620 13,340 12,170 14,740 3,610 32,4%
 Cyprus 24,170 22,500 20,880 20,420 21,100 22,230 23,410 24,630 25,270 23,400 25,940 1,770 7,3%
 Czechia 13,740 15,360 15,010 14,880 15,980 16,690 18,100 19,530 20,990 19,970 22,340 8,600 62,6%
 Denmark 43,990 45,530 46,100 47,090 48,050 49,420 50,700 52,010 53,760 53,470 57,140 13,150 29,9%
 Estonia 12,430 13,620 14,420 15,340 15,820 16,490 18,070 19,740 21,220 20,440 23,060 10,630 85,5%
 Finland 36,560 37,130 37,570 37,880 38,570 39,580 41,000 42,370 43,510 42,940 45,550 8,990 24,6%
 France 30,960 31,820 32,080 32,420 33,020 33,430 34,220 34,980 35,960 34,040 36,520 5,560 18,0%
 Germany 31,530 34,130 34,860 36,150 37,090 38,060 39,260 40,340 41,510 40,120 42,920 11,390 36,1%
 Greece 21,840 17,310 16,480 16,400 16,380 16,380 16,760 17,210 17,100 15,490 17,140 –4,700 –21,5%
 Hungary 10,780 10,050 10,310 10,730 11,400 11,740 12,830 13,690 14,950 13,940 15,810 5,030 46,7%
 Ireland 41,730 38,090 38,890 41,870 55,970 57,210 61,870 66,670 72,260 73,590 83,990 42,260 101,3%
 Italy 27,660 26,920 26,590 26,770 27,260 27,970 28,690 29,220 29,660 27,780 30,130 2,470 8,9%
 Latvia 11,230 10,870 11,350 11,860 12,350 12,800 13,810 15,130 15,920 15,430 17,480 6,250 55,7%
 Lithuania 10,210 11,160 11,830 12,460 12,850 13,560 14,940 16,160 17,460 17,510 19,740 9,530 93,3%
 Luxembourg 77,940 83,000 85,270 89,240 91,440 93,930 95,170 98,640 102,200 101,640 114,370 36,430 46,7%
 Malta 15,160 17,060 17,950 19,570 22,450 23,240 24,980 25,940 26,930 24,630 27,930 12,770 84,2%
 Netherlands 39,350 38,970 39,300 39,820 40,730 41,590 43,090 44,920 46,710 45,870 49,000 9,650 24,5%
 Poland 9,600 10,100 10,250 10,680 11,190 11,100 12,160 12,920 13,870 13,640 14,940 5,340 55,6%
 Portugal 16,960 16,010 16,300 16,640 17,350 18,060 19,020 19,950 20,800 19,660 20,550 3,590 21,2%
 Romania 7,140 6,620 7,190 7,570 8,080 8,630 9,580 10,500 11,520 11,360 12,510 5,370 75,2%
 Slovakia 12,230 13,590 13,740 14,070 14,710 14,920 15,540 16,470 17,210 16,770 17,820 5,590 45,7%
 Slovenia 18,760 17,630 17,700 18,250 18,830 19,550 20,810 22,080 23,170 22,010 24,680 5,920 31,6%
 Spain 24,130 22,050 21,900 22,220 23,220 23,980 24,970 25,730 26,430 23,690 25,410 1,280 5,3%
 Sweden 38,490 45,050 45,850 45,130 46,480 47,990 47,730 46,260 46,170 45,850 50,910 12,420 32,3%
 European Union 25,260 25,740 26,000 26,550 27,460 28,160 29,280 30,230 31,160 29,730 32,270 7,010 27,8%
Eurozone 28,880 29,220 29,440 30,070 31,030 31,790 32,850 33,830 34,820 33,060 35,740 6,860 23,8%
EU member states by Gini coefficients[6]
Member state 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
 Austria 27.4 27.6 27.0 27.6 27.2 27.2 27.9 26.8 27.5 27.0
 Belgium 26.3 26.5 25.9 25.9 26.2 26.3 26.1 25.7 25.1 25.4
 Bulgaria 35.0 33.6 35.4 35.4 37.0 37.7 40.2 39.6 40.8 40.0
 Croatia 31.2 30.9 30.9 30.2 30.4 29.8 29.9 29.7 29.2 28.3
 Cyprus 29.2 31.0 32.4 34.8 33.6 32.1 30.8 29.1 31.1 29.3
 Czech Republic 25.2 24.9 24.6 25.1 25.0 25.1 24.5 24.0 24.0 24.2
 Denmark 26.6 26.5 26.8 27.7 27.4 27.7 27.6 27.9 27.5 27.3
 Estonia 31.9 32.5 32.9 35.6 34.8 32.7 31.6 30.6 30.5 30.5
 Finland 25.8 25.9 25.4 25.6 25.2 25.4 25.3 25.9 26.2 26.5
 France 30.8 30.5 30.1 29.2 29.2 29.3 29.3 28.5 29.2 29.3
 Germany 29.0 28.3 29.7 30.7 30.1 29.5 29.1 31.1 29.7 34.4
 Greece 33.5 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.2 34.3 33.4 32.3 31.0 31.4
 Hungary 26.9 27.2 28.3 28.6 28.2 28.2 28.1 28.7 28.0 28.0
 Ireland 29.8 30.5 30.7 31.1 29.8 29.5 30.6 28.9 28.3 28.3
 Italy 32.5 32.4 32.8 32.4 32.4 33.1 32.7 33.4 32.8 32.5
 Latvia 35.1 35.7 35.2 35.5 35.4 34.5 34.5 35.6 35.2 34.5
 Lithuania 33.0 32.0 34.6 35.0 37.9 37.0 37.6 36.9 35.4 35.1
 Luxembourg 27.2 28.0 30.4 28.7 28.5 31.0 30.9 31.3 32.3 31.2
 Malta 27.2 27.1 27.9 27.7 28.1 28.5 28.3 28.7 28.0 30.3
 Netherlands 25.8 25.4 25.1 26.2 26.7 26.9 27.1 27.4 26.8 28.2
 Poland 31.1 30.9 30.7 30.8 30.6 29.8 29.2 27.8 28.5 27.2
 Portugal 34.2 34.5 34.2 34.5 34.0 33.9 33.5 32.1 31.9 31.2
 Romania 33.5 34.0 34.6 35.0 37.4 34.7 33.1 35.1 34.8 33.8
 Slovakia 25.7 25.3 24.2 26.1 23.7 24.3 23.2 20.9 22.8 20.9
 Slovenia 23.8 23.7 24.4 25.0 24.5 24.4 23.7 23.4 23.9 23.5
 Spain 34.0 34.2 33.7 34.7 34.6 34.5 34.1 33.2 33.0 32.1
 Sweden 26.0 26.0 26.0 26.9 26.7 27.6 28.0 27.0 27.6 26.9
 European Union 30.5 30.4 30.6 30.9 30.8 30.6 30.3 30.4 30.2 30.0
Eurozone 30.6 30.5 30.7 31.0 30.7 30.7 30.4 30.6 30.2 30.3

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.[84] The euro area unemployment rate was 8.1%.[84] 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).[84]

Unemployment rate[edit]

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[85] 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
 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 6.7 4.2
 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 6.7 5.6
 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 5.9 4.3
 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 8.2 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 7.8 5.9
 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 3.4 2.3
 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 5.7 4.5
 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 6.7 5.4
 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 7.5 6.4
 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 8.1 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 3.8 2.9
 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 17.1 12.9
 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 4.0 3.2
 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 7.7 5.1
 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 10.0 8.3
 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 7.6 7.0
 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 6.5 6.9
 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 6.1 4.5
 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 3.8 3.0
 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 4.6 3.3
 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 3.9 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 6.6 5.7
 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 5.9 5.7
 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 7.2 6.5
 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 5.0 4.0
 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 15.4 13.5
 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 9.5 7.6
 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 7.4 6.2
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%)
[86]
Public debt as % of GDP (2020)
(E.U. limit : 60%)
[87]
HICP inflation rate (2018)
Max. 1.9% (as of 22 May 2018)
[88][89]
Long-term interest rate (03/18)
Max. 3.2% (as of 22 May 2018)
[88][90]
 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

Trade[edit]

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[91] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services.[92][93] 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.[94]

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.[94]

10 largest trading partners (2016, UK included in the EU before Brexit)
Main trading partners (2016)[95]
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)[95]
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][97]
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 top 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.".[98] 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 16 NUTS-2 regions exceeding the 160% level in 2020, two were in Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands and one each in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, 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.[99] This definition, however, is not respected by Eurostat. For example, 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[98]

Among the lowest regions in the ranking in 2020 most were in Bulgaria, with the lowest figure recorded in Severozapaden. Among the poorest 20 regions, seven were in Greece, five in Bulgaria, three in Hungary, two in France and one each in Croatia, Romania and Slovakia.

Source: Eurostat[98]

See also[edit]

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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 links[edit]