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Economy of the European Union
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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

Paris, the largest metropolis in the EU
CurrencyEuro (EUR, €) and 8 others
Calendar year
Trade organisations
WTO, G20, G7 and others
Statistics
Population447,706,209 (EU27, 1 January 2020 prov. est.)[1]
GDP
  • $15,167 billion (nominal; 2020)[2]
  • $19,686 billion (PPP; 2020)[2]
GDP growth
  • 2.3% (2018) 1.7% (2019)
  • −7.1% (2020) 4.8% (2021)[3]
GDP per capita
  • $35,623 (nominal; 2019)[2]
  • $44,539 (PPP; 2019)[2]
GDP by sector
Population below poverty line
  • 9.8% (2013)[4]
  • 21.6% at risk of poverty or social exclusion (EU27, 2018 est.)[5]
30.4 medium (EU27, 2018 est.)[6]
  • 0.900 very high (2018)[7]
  • 0.816 very high IHDI (2018)[7]
Labour force
  • 216,229,439 (2019)[8]
  • 73.1% employment rate (Target: --, EU27; 2019)[9]
  • 72.7% employment rate (EA19, 2019)[9]
Labour force by occupation
Unemployment
  • 7.4% (EU27, August 2020)[10]
  • 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$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
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
FDI stock
  • €4 trillion (inward, 2012)[15]
  • €5.2 trillion (outward, 2012)[16]
€161.6 billion; 1.1% of GDP (2015)[17]
$13.05 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)[13]
−€2,557.4 billion; 17.5% of GDP (2015)[18]
Public finances
  • 77.8% of GDP (EU27; 2019)[19]
  • €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 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]
Currency
Main articles: Euro, Eurozone, and Single Euro Payments Area
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
Further information: Budget of the European Union
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]
Sectors
Services
Main articles: Capital Markets Union and European Single Market
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
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
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
Main article: Energy policy of the European Union
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]
See also: Renewable energy in the European Union and Category:Energy in the European Union
Companies
Main article: List of companies of the European Union
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.
Further information: List of largest companies by revenue
Fortune top 9 E.U. corporations by revenue (2016)[56]
RankCorporationStock tickerRevenue $ millionsProfit $ millionsEmployeesHeadquartersIndustry
1Royal Dutch ShellRDS.A272,1561,93990,000Shell Centre, London, UK, and The Hague, NetherlandsEnergy
2VolkswagenVLKAY236,600−1,520610,076Wolfsburg, GermanyMotor Vehicles & Parts
3DaimlerDDAIY165,8009,345284,015Stuttgart, GermanyMotor Vehicles & Parts
4EXOR GroupEXOSF152,591825303,247Amsterdam, NetherlandsFinancials
5TotalTOT143,4215,08796,019Paris, FranceEnergy
6E.ONEONGY129,277−7,76456,490Essen, GermanyEnergy
7AXAAXAHY129,2506,23198,279Paris, FranceFinancials
8AllianzAZSEY122,9487,339142,459Munich, GermanyFinancials
9BNP ParibasBNPQY111,5317,426181,551Paris, FranceFinancials
Economies of member states
Wealth
European and bordering nations by GDP (PPP) per capita in 2019
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 state201220132014201520162017201820192020Yearly growth
(2012–2019)
 Austria
0.70.00.71.02.02.42.61.4-6.61.38
 Belgium
0.70.51.62.01.31.61.81.7-6.31.4
 Bulgaria0.40.31.94.03.83.53.13.7-4.22.43
 Croatia−2.4−0.4−0.32.43.53.42.82.9-8.01.27
 Cyprus
−3.4−6.6−1.83.26.45.25.23.1-5.11.24
 Czech Republic
−0.80.02.35.42.55.23.22.3-5.62.35
 Denmark
0.20.91.62.33.22.82.22.8-2.71.85
 Estonia
3.11.33.01.83.25.54.45.0-2.93.33
 Finland−1.4−0.9−0.40.52.83.21.31.3-2.80.76
 France
0.30.61.01.11.12.31.81.5-8.11.18
 Germany0.40.42.21.52.22.61.30.6-4.81.44
 Greece
−7.1−2.70.7−0.4−0.51.31.61.9-8.2−0.64
 Hungary−1.41.94.23.82.14.35.44.6-5.03.13
 Ireland0.11.28.625.22.09.18.55.63.47.61
 Italy
−3.0−1.80.00.81.31.70.90.3-8.90.01
 Latvia4.32.31.14.02.43.34.02.0-3.63
 Lithuania3.83.63.52.02.54.33.94.3-0.93.4
 Luxembourg−0.43.74.34.34.61.83.12.3-1.33.06
 Malta
4.15.57.69.64.18.15.25.5-7.06.4
 Netherlands
−1.0−0.11.42.02.22.92.41.7-3.71.46
 Poland1.31.13.44.23.14.85.44.5-2.73.41
 Portugal
−4.1−0.90.81.82.03.52.82.5-7.60.96
 Romania
2.03.83.63.04.77.34.54.1-3.94.17
 Slovakia
1.90.72.64.82.13.03.82.3-4.82.7
 Slovenia−2.6−1.02.82.23.24.84.43.2-5.51.98
 Spain
−3.0−1.41.43.83.03.02.42.0-10.81.39
 Sweden−0.61.22.74.52.12.62.01.4-2.81.98
 European Union
−0.70.01.62.32.02.82.11.6-6.11.47
Eurozone−0.9−0.21.42.01.92.61.91.3-6.61.21
EU member states by GDP (nominal) in billions of €[60]
Member state2008201220132014201520162017201820192020Change from2008 to 2020Change in percentage
 Austria
293.762318.653323.910333.146344.269357.300370.296385.712397.575377.29781,8027,8%
 Belgium
351.743386.175392.880403.003416.701430.085444.991460.419476.203451.17799,4328,3%
 Bulgaria37.21842.04941.90342.89045.69148.64052.32956.11261.24060.64323,4362,9%
 Croatia47.99844.00843.80643.39944.61246.61949.23951.95054.23849.2831,292,7%
 Cyprus
19.01019.44117.99517.43017.88418.92920.12021.43322.28721.0001,9910,5%
 Czechia
161.313162.588159.462157.821169.558177.439194.133210.928223.950213.66152,3532,5%
 Denmark
241.614254.578258.743265.757273.018283.110294.808302.361312.747311.72670,1129,0%
 Estonia
16.63818.05119.03320.18020.78221.93223.85825.93828.11227.16710,5363,3%
 Finland194.265201.037204.321206.897211.385217.518226.301233.696240.261237.46743,2022,2%
 France
1,992.3802,088.8042,117.1892,149.7652,198.4322,234.1292,295.0632,353.0902,425.7082,278.947286,5714,4%
 Germany2,546.4902,745.3102,811.3502,927.4303,030.0703,134.1003,244.9903,344.3703,449.0503,332.230785,7430,9%
 Greece
241.990188.389179.616177.349176.110174.237177.152179.727183.414165.830-76,16-31,5%
 Hungary108.21699.984102.034106.061112.701116.130126.891135.931146.062135.92527,7125,6%
 Ireland187.769175.116179.661194.818262.833271.684297.131324.038356.051366.506178,7495,2%
 Italy
1,637.6991,624.3591,612.7511,627.4061,655.3551,695.7871,736.5931,771.5661,790.9421,651.59513,900,8%
 Latvia24.39722.09822.84523.65424.56125.36026.96229.14230.42129.3344,9420,2%
 Lithuania32.69633.33234.98536.54537.32238.89342.26945.26448.79748.93016,2349,7%
 Luxembourg38.12944.11246.50049.82552.06654.86756.81460.05363.51664.14326,0168,2%
 Malta
6.1297.1687.6478.5109.99710.58911.70412.58713.59212.8246,70109,2%
 Netherlands
647.198652.966660.463671.560690.008708.337738.146773.987813.055800.095151,4823,4%
 Poland366.181387.947392.311408.968430.466427.092467.427497.842533.600523.038156,8642,8%
 Portugal
179.103168.296170.492173.054179.713186.490195.947205.184213.949202.44123,3613,0%
 Romania
146.591132.711143.690150.709160.150170.063187.773204.497222.998218.16571,5748,8%
 Slovakia
66.09873.48474.35576.25679.75881.03884.51789.72193.86591.55525,4638,5%
 Slovenia37.92636.25336.45437.63438.85340.36742.98745.75548.39246.2978,3722,1%
 Spain
1,109.5411,031.0991,020.3481,032.1581,077.5901,113.8401,161.8781,202.1931,244.7721,121.69812,161,1%
 Sweden353.310428.825440.191437.541454.184466.348479.605471.208476.870474.724118,9533,7%
 European Union
11,321.80811,388.51811,517.11811,781.64012,211.54212,550.95013,069.29213,517.90513,963.56013,297.2461 975,4417,4%
Eurozone (19)9,483.1339,781.5269,876.00510,131.36110,524.43910,816.98411,200.95311,561.24311,935.44811,317.6401 834,5119,3%
EU member states by GDP (nominal) per capita in €[60]
Member state2008201220132014201520162017201820192020Change from2008 to 2020Change inpercentage
 Austria
35,30037,82038,21038,99039,89040,88042,10043,64044,78042,3007,00019,8%
 Belgium
32,84034,77035,21035,95036,96037,98039,24040,24041,46039,1106,27019,1%
 Bulgaria4,8805,7505,7705,9406,3606,8207,3907,9808,7808,7503,87079,3%
 Croatia11,13010,29010,27010,25010,60011,17011,89012,62013,34012,1701,0409,3%
 Cyprus
24,17022,50020,88020,42021,10022,23023,41024,63025,27023,400-770-3,2%
 Czechia
13,74015,36015,01014,88015,98016,69018,10019,53020,99019,9706,23045,3%
 Denmark
43,99045,53046,10047,09048,05049,42050,70052,01053,76053,4709,48021,6%
 Estonia
12,43013,62014,42015,34015,82016,49018,07019,74021,22020,4408,01064,4%
 Finland36,56037,13037,57037,88038,57039,58041,00042,37043,51042,9406,38017,5%
 France
30,96031,82032,08032,42033,02033,43034,22034,98035,96034,0403,0809,9%
 Germany31,53034,13034,86036,15037,09038,06039,26040,34041,51040,1208,59027,2%
 Greece
21,84017,31016,48016,40016,38016,38016,76017,21017,10015,490-6,350-29,1%
 Hungary10,78010,05010,31010,73011,40011,74012,83013,69014,95013,9403,16029,3%
 Ireland41,73038,09038,89041,87055,97057,21061,87066,67072,26073,59031,86076,3%
 Italy
27,66026,92026,59026,77027,26027,97028,69029,22029,66027,7801200,4%
 Latvia11,23010,87011,35011,86012,35012,80013,81015,13015,92015,4304,20037,4%
 Lithuania10,21011,16011,83012,46012,85013,56014,94016,16017,46017,5107,30071,5%
 Luxembourg77,94083,00085,27089,24091,44093,93095,17098,640102,200101,64023,70030,4%
 Malta
15,16017,06017,95019,57022,45023,24024,98025,94026,93024,6309,47062,5%
 Netherlands
39,35038,97039,30039,82040,73041,59043,09044,92046,71045,8706,52016,6%
 Poland9,60010,10010,25010,68011,19011,10012,16012,92013,87013,6404,04042,1%
 Portugal
16,96016,01016,30016,64017,35018,06019,02019,95020,80019,6602,70015,9%
 Romania
7,1406,6407,1907,5508,0908,6509,58010,51011,53011,2904,15058,1%
 Slovakia
12,23013,59013,74014,07014,71014,92015,54016,47017,21016,7704,54037,1%
 Slovenia18,76017,63017,70018,25018,83019,55020,81022,08023,17022,0103,25017,3%
 Spain
24,13022,05021,90022,22023,22023,98024,97025,73026,43023,690-440-1,8%
 Sweden38,49045,05045,85045,13046,48047,99047,73046,26046,17045,8507,36019,1%
 European Union
25,26025,74026,00026,55027,46028,16029,28030,23031,16029,7304,47017,7%
Eurozone28,88029,22029,44030,07031,03031,79032,85033,83034,82033,0604,26014,8%
EU member states by Gini coefficients[6]
Member state201120122013201420152016201720182019
 Austria
27.427.627.027.627.227.227.926.8
 Belgium
26.326.525.925.926.226.326.025.6
 Bulgaria35.033.635.435.437.037.740.239.640.8
 Croatia31.230.930.930.230.429.829.929.7
 Cyprus
29.231.032.434.833.632.130.829.131.1
 Czech Republic
25.224.924.625.125.025.124.524.0
 Denmark
26.626.526.827.727.427.727.627.927.5
 Estonia
31.932.532.935.634.832.731.630.630.5
 Finland25.825.925.425.625.225.425.325.926.2
 France
30.830.530.129.229.229.329.328.5
 Germany29.028.329.730.730.129.529.131.1
 Greece
33.534.334.434.534.234.333.432.331.0
 Hungary26.927.228.328.628.228.228.128.728.0
 Ireland29.830.530.731.129.829.530.628.9
 Italy
32.532.432.832.432.433.132.733.4
 Latvia35.135.735.235.535.434.534.535.635.2
 Lithuania33.032.034.635.037.937.037.636.935.4
 Luxembourg27.228.030.428.728.531.030.933.2
 Malta
27.227.127.927.728.128.528.328.728.0
 Netherlands
25.825.425.126.226.726.927.127.0
 Poland31.130.930.730.830.629.829.227.828.5
 Portugal
34.234.534.234.534.033.933.532.131.9
 Romania
33.534.034.635.037.434.733.135.134.8
 Slovakia
25.725.324.226.123.724.323.220.9
 Slovenia23.823.724.425.024.524.423.723.423.9
 Spain
34.034.233.734.734.634.534.133.233.0
 Sweden26.026.026.026.926.727.628.027.027.6
 United Kingdom33.031.330.231.632.431.533.133.5
 European Union
30.530.430.630.930.830.630.330.4
Eurozone30.630.530.731.030.730.730.430.6
Labour market
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]
Unemployment rate
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[62]2009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021
 Austria
5.04.94.74.65.45.65.65.95.84.94.84.8
 Belgium
8.08.56.97.18.38.58.78.27.76.15.54.9
 Bulgaria6.39.911.212.113.011.910.08.16.45.34.54.4
 Croatia8.910.813.715.516.517.716.614.011.99.07.06.5
 Cyprus
4.66.76.910.714.916.216.213.012.28.97.66.3
 Czech Republic
5.97.76.86.97.26.55.64.13.32.12.02.0
 Denmark
5.37.67.47.77.16.66.46.16.05.15.44.8
 Estonia
4.311.919.214.011.19.17.96.75.56.14.65.1
 Finland7.68.57.97.68.18.49.29.48.98.06.36.7
 France
8.99.39.19.510.310.210.310.29.59.28.67.4
 Germany7.67.36.15.45.35.14.84.33.93.53.23.8
 Greece
9.111.616.022.727.126.926.023.922.320.217.815.9
 Hungary9.611.411.111.310.67.97.35.64.63.53.23.4
 Ireland11.113.214.315.013.612.09.88.97.25.95.15.05.8
 Italy
7.68.48.010.511.912.712.411.611.711.010.17.4
 Latvia14.820.416.715.911.911.19.89.78.87.76.47.4
 Lithuania11.617.816.514.012.111.59.38.17.66.66.17.2
 Luxembourg5.44.64.75.15.76.06.46.45.75.65.66.5
 Malta
6.66.96.56.56.25.95.75.14.03.93.73.9
 Netherlands
3.95.14.85.56.97.87.06.45.13.93.32.93.5
 Poland7.910.09.49.810.69.77.86.55.03.83.63.0
 Portugal
10.111.612.515.017.214.713.212.19.97.66.66.3
 Romania
6.07.36.87.06.97.06.76.25.24.43.84.5
 Slovakia
10.714.913.613.714.113.611.910.28.67.05.86.0
 Slovenia5.36.98.17.910.810.19.28.37.05.54.44.5
 Spain
17.419.520.723.926.325.223.020.218.015.914.214.4
 Sweden7.88.87.97.58.38.07.57.36.46.17.36.8
 European Union
8.69.79.510.310.910.59.79.48.57.56.86.4
Economic freedom
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.[63]
Index of Economic Freedom
Member state2016[64]2017[65]2018[66]2019[67]
 Austria
71.272.371.872.0
 Belgium
68.867.867.567.3
 Denmark
75.375.176.676.7
 Finland73.474.074.174.9
 France
62.563.363.963.8
 Germany73.873.874.273.5
 Greece
54.055.057.357.7
 Ireland77.376.780.480.5
 Italy
61.762.562.562.2
 Luxembourg73.275.976.475.9
 Netherlands
73.775.876.276.8
 Portugal
65.362.663.465.3
 Spain
67.663.665.165.7
 Sweden72.774.976.375.2
 Bulgaria66.867.968.369.0
 Croatia61.559.461.061.4
 Cyprus
67.967.967.868.1
 Czech Republic
72.573.374.273.7
 Estonia
77.279.178.876.6
 Hungary66.865.866.765.0
 Latvia69.774.873.670.4
 Lithuania75.275.875.374.2
 Malta
66.567.768.568.6
 Poland68.668.368.567.8
 Romania
66.669.769.468.6
 Slovakia
67.265.765.365.0
 Slovenia60.359.264.865.5
 European Union
69.169.4
Unemployment rates in selected European countries and in the EU28 between 01/2004 and 04/2014.
Public finance
Public finance (with limits according to the Maastricht criterion)
Member statePublic deficit as % of GDP (2018)
(E.U. limit : -3%)[68]
Public debt as % of GDP (2020)
(E.U. limit : 60%)[69]
HICP inflation rate (2018)
Max. 1.9% (as of 22 May 2018)[70][71]
Long-term interest rate (03/18)
Max. 3.2% (as of 22 May 2018)[70][72]
 Austria
0.183.92.10.81
 Belgium
−0.7114.12.30.87
 Bulgaria2.025.02.61.05
 Croatia0.288.71.62.19
 Cyprus
-4.8118.20.81.83
 Czech Republic
0.938.12.01.81
 Denmark
0.542.20.70.64
 Estonia
−0.618.23.4(n/a)
 Finland−0.769.21.20.72
 France
−2.5116.32.10.84
 Germany1.769.81.90.53
 Greece
1.1205.60.84.27
 Hungary−2.280.42.92.60
 Ireland0.059.50.71.01
 Italy
−2.1155.81.21.97
 Latvia−1.043.52.60.83
 Lithuania0.747.32.50.31
 Luxembourg2.424.92.00.68
 Malta
2.054.31.71.23
 Netherlands
1.554.51.60.63
 Poland−0.457.61.23.27
 Portugal
−0.5133.61.21.79
 Romania
−3.047.34.14.53
 Slovakia
−0.760.62.50.80
 Slovenia0.780.81.91.11
 Spain
−2.5120.01.71.33
 Sweden0.939.92.00.77
 European Union
−0.690.81.91.34
Eurozone−0.598.11.81.07
Trade
Further information: List of the largest trading partners of the European Union
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[73] and as of 2008 the largest importer of goods and services.[74][75] 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.[76]
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.[76]
10 largest trading partners (2016, UK included in the EU before Brexit)
Main trading partners (2016)[77]
RankPartnersImports (million euro)% (of total)Exports (million euro)% (of total)Total trade (million euro)% (of total)
-
 European Union
1,706,413100%1,745,730100%3,452,143100%
1 United States246,77414,5%362,04320,7%608,81717,6%
2
 China
344,64220,2%170,1369,7%514,77914,9%
3
  Switzerland
121,6087,1%142,4328,2%264,0407,6%
4
 Russia
118,6617,0%72,4284,1%191,0895,5%
5
 Turkey
66,6523,9%78,0304,5%144,6814,2%
6
 Japan
66,3833,9%58,1363,3%124,5193,6%
7
 Norway
62,9353,7%48,3712,8%111,3063,2%
8
 South Korea
41,4332,4%44,5182,6%85,9512,5%
9
 India
39,2652,3%37,8002,2%77,0652,2%
10 Canada29,0941,7%35,2002,0%64,2941,9%
11
 Brazil
29,3341,7%30,9091,8%60,2431,7%
12 United Arab Emirates9,2010,5%45,8472,6%55,0481,6%
13 Mexico19,8001,2%33,9281,9%53,7281,6%
14
 Hong Kong
18,2121,1%34,9892,0%53,2011,5%
15
 Saudi Arabia
19,0101,1%33,9251,9%52,9351,5%
16
 Singapore
19,4361,1%31,4231,8%50,8591,5%
17
 South Africa
22,8531,3%22,9861,3%45,8391,3%
18
 Taiwan
26,0571,5%19,6311,1%45,6881,3%
19 Australia13,0700,8%32,4371,9%45,5071,3%
20
 Vietnam
33,0641,0%9,3320,5%42,3961,2%
21
 Algeria
16,5001,0%20,9081,2%37,4081,1%
22 Malaysia22,1771,3%13,2320,8%35,4091,0%
23
 Morocco
13,8090,8%20,7911,2%34,5991,0%
24
 Israel
13,1970,8%21,1421,2%34,3391,0%
25
 Thailand
20,3391,2%13,5950,8%33,9341,0%
26
 Ukraine
13,0800,8%16,5050,9%29,5860,9%
27
 Egypt
6,6910,4%20,6441,2%27,3350,8%
28
 Indonesia
14,6180,9%10,4610,6%25,0790,7%
29
 Serbia
8,7240,5%11,6980,7%20,4220,6%
30 Nigeria10,9370,6%8,9610,5%19,8980,6%
Trade with partner country groupings (2012)[77]
RankPartner regionImports (million euro)% (of total)Exports (million euro)% (of total)Total trade (million euro)% (of total)
-Total EU1,791,727100%1,686,774100%3,478,501100%
-ACP99,1965,5%86,6525,1%185,8485,3%
-Andean Community17,7281,0%11,7380,7%29,4670,8%
-ASEAN100,0355,6%81,3244,8%181,3605,2%
-BRIC577,51332,2%345,19820,5%922,71126,5%
-CACM9,5460,5%5,3540,3%14,9000,4%
-EU Candidate Countries55,3863,1%89,6545,3%145,0404,2%
-CIS273,50515,3%172,64110,2%446,14612,8%
-EFTA208,73911,7%186,22211,0%394,96111,4%
-Latin America Countries109,9786,1%110,2976,5%220,2756,3%
-MEDA (excl. EU and Turkey)73,3414,1%92,8125,5%166,1534,8%
-Mercosur49,1962,7%50,2663,0%99,4612,9%
-NAFTA255,65714,3%351,09020,8%606,74617,4%
Main trading partners 2008–2011
Main trade partners[78]2008200920102011
Exports (million euro)Imports (million euro)Total Trade (million euro)ExportsImportsTotal TradeExportsImportsTotal TradeExportsImportsTotal Trade
Total EU1,319,8191,582,9322,902,7511,101,7461,234,3172,336,0631,360,0591,531,0432,891,1021,561,8901,726,5143,288,404
 United States247,818182,351430,169203,587154,862358,449242,451173,067415,518263,791191,555455,346
 China
78,276247,815326,09182,391214,238296,629113,426282,509395,935136,372293,693430,065
 Russia
104,843178,294283,13765,587118,122183,70986,134160,709246,843108,355199,922308,277
  Switzerland
100,53782,348182,88588,69380,570169,263110,40185,228195,629142,02293,202235,224
 Norway
43,69895,888139,58637,47668,864106,34041,91478,981120,89546,67893,813140,491
 Japan
42,34776,177118,52435,93258,23394,16543,94867,258111,20649,01869,549118,567
 Turkey
54,41545,963100,37844,38536,22880,61361,74742,397104,14473,09648,143121,239
 India
31,34929,54060,88927,47725,41452,89134,86633,30868,11240,55839,90680,464
 South Korea
25,49139,56565,05621,59632,37053,96627,95739,39167,34832,51036,17568,685
 Brazil
26,30235,85562,15721,57425,92647,50031,46633,23864,70435,75238,93974,691
 Canada25,46825,04350,51121,93419,28541,21926,75824,69751,45529,88530,70860,593
 Singapore
22,21316,13738,35020,40414,57934,98324,55018,76043,31027,25619,18446,440
 South Africa
20,80024,59745,39716,08319,22935,31221,75520,40642,16126,21221,80748,019
 Saudi Arabia
21,08122,00143,08219,06811,76630,83423,21616,30039,51626,40128,44054,841
 Taiwan
11,59524,06935,66010,02117,87527,89614,78224,13838,92016,21224,23040,532
 Hong Kong
21,78612,25834,04419,66713,27732,94427,25014,30241,55230,76310,96941,732
 Australia26,68913,78540,47421,9309,92331,85326,95512,45439,40931,15914,94446,103
 Algeria
15,39128,25943,65014,80717,41032,21715,58421,06936,65317,27927,84445,123
 Libya5,83635,30841,1446,48420,87027,3547,08729,23036,3172,09310,44412,537
 Mexico21,97613,98135,59715,98810,13526,12321,34213,74835,09023,90816,98540,893
Trade balance, EU28 (as of 2018 before Brexit)
Sources: Eurostat [ext_lt_intertrd][79]
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
Main article: List of European regions by GDP
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
See also: List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita, List of metropolitan areas in the European Union by GDP, and First-level NUTS of the European Union
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.".[80] 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.[81] 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.
RankNUTS-2 RegionMember stateGDP per capita (2019)
in eurosAs % of EU-27 average
1.Luxembourg Luxembourg81,000260%
2.Southern Ireland74,900240%
3.Prague
 Czech Republic
63,900205%
4.Eastern and Midland Ireland63,100202%
5.Brussels-Capital Region
 Belgium
63,000202%
6.Hamburg Germany60,800195%
7.Île-de-France
 France
55,200177%
8.Upper Bavaria Germany54,000173%
9.North Holland
 Netherlands
53,000170%
10.Capital Region of Denmark
 Denmark
51,900167%
11.Stockholm Sweden51,900166%
12.Bratislava Region
 Slovakia
50,400162%
13.Warsaw Poland49,800160%
14.Bucharest - Ilfov
 Romania
49,700160%
RankNUTS-1 RegionMember stateGDP per capita (2019)
in eurosAs % of EU-27 average
1.Luxembourg Luxembourg81,000260%
2.Brussels-Capital Region
 Belgium
63,000202%
3.Hamburg Germany60,800195%
4.Ireland Ireland60,200193%
5.Île-de-France
 France
55,200177%
6.West Netherlands
 Netherlands
45,300145%
7.Bremen Germany44,800144%
8.Bavaria Germany43,800141%
9.East Sweden Sweden43,100138%
10.Baden-Württemberg Germany42,800137%
Source: Eurostat[80]
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.
RankNUTS-2 RegionMember stateGDP per capita (2019)
in eurosAs % of EU-27 average
1.Mayotte
 France
10,10032%
1.North-West Bulgaria10,10032%
3.North-Central Bulgaria11,00035%
4.South-Central Bulgaria11,60037%
5.South-East Bulgaria12,50040%
6.North-East Bulgaria12,80041%
7.North Aegean
 Greece
13,60044%
8.North-East
 Romania
13,70044%
9.Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
 Greece
14,10045%
10.Epirus
 Greece
14,60047%
11.Northern Great Plain Hungary14,80047%
12.Western Greece
 Greece
15,00048%
13.French Guiana
 France
15,10048%
14.Northern Hungary Hungary15,20049%
RankNUTS-1 RegionMember stateGDP per capita (2019)
in eurosAs % of EU-27 average
1.Severna i Iztochna Bulgaria Bulgaria11,70038%
2.Macroregiunea Doi
 Romania
15,50050%
2.Alföld és Észak Hungary15,50050%
4.Voreia Ellada
 Greece
15,70051%
5.Region Wschodni Poland15,90051%
6.Kentriki Ellada
 Greece
16,80054%
7.Aegean Islands, Crete
 Greece
18,30059%
8.Region Pólnocny Poland19,10061%
9.Macroregiunea Patru
 Romania
19,30062%
10.Makroregion Centralny Poland19,60063%
Source: Eurostat[80]
See also
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The following links are used for the GDP growth and GDP totals (IMF):
External links
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