Before we move to some pretty interesting and important facts about the economy of the EU, we should answer one very important question.
What is the European Union?
In short – a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are to be found primarily on the map of Europe. Some other key stats include:
- The population of the EU at the current moment is over 508 million
- The total territory that is being covered by the Union is 4,324,782 km2
- The GDP of EU accounts for total of 24% of the GDP of the world
- It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012
That is the short answer – and the one that is least complicated, while still covering the basics.
Interesting and important facts about the economy of the EU
The EU is a major player on the field of global economy, and as such it related to a number of very interesting facts, including:
- The main financial capital of the world – London – is part of the EU. London is also the financial and economic centre of the EU.
- The European Union has the single biggest economy in the world. We have already mentioned that it produces 24 per cent of the GDP of the planet, which is more than any other single economic entity.
- The EU has a very strong economy, which is rooted in its extensive reserves of natural resources, including oil, natural gas and coil. The majority of the oil production in the Union takes place in the northern seas. Six countries are producing oil – the UK, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands. Thus, the combined efforts of those counties make the European Union the 8th largest producer of oil on the planet. On the other hand, the EU is the second largest consumer of oil in the world, so imports are still needed.
- The European Union is one of the largest exponents of the Kyoto Protocol, n international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) man-made CO2 emissions have caused it – all country members have signed it.
- No matter about what type of goods we are talking about the European Union is the second largest importer and the second largest importer in the world. Last year alone 6 000 tons of frogs’ legs were imported from Asia. And that is just one of the odd examples that can be made. Tariffs and border control is more or less removed between member states, thus making internal trade within the boundaries of the European Union itself much easier. The Euro – the currency used by the majority of the member states is also of great help for facilitating the internal trade within the EU.
- The European Union officially represents all member states, without exceptions, in the World Trade Organization. Any disputes that involve members of the union are resolved on behalf of the EU itself. This is one of the key benefits and strengths of the whole organization.
- Despite its very strong economy, the unemployment rates that are average for the European Union are higher than those in the US and Japan, for example, with some 8-9 percent. The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Ireland – 3 percent, while the highest ones are in Poland, where they have reached 18 percent.
- Nearly 70 percent of the GDP of the EU is produced by the service sector which is hands down the most important business sector in the country.
- The Schengen Treaty and the Euro are of great help for the development of internal tourism within the borders of the Union. Europe has been a major tourist destination for people from outside the EU and the continent itself for quite a lot of time.
- Ireland is the country with the fastest-growing economy in Europe, the EU, and the Eurozone at the present moment.
- The Euro was adopted as a united currency of the European union in 2002. At that time, 11 countries adopted it. The initial letters of the countries adopting it spelt out ‘baffling pigs’. Five more countries have jointed the Euro-gang since then, and it spells ‘begs piffling scams’.
- The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed in 2009 was the first legal document on an European level which actually created the necessary doors for a country to actually leave the Union.
- The quality control of the goods that are being produced and imported in the EU is probably among the strictest in the world. Some people see it as needless bureaucracy, but the fact is that the rise of quality of the items and food produced leads to increase in the quality of life in the EU. Which is why residents of some countries that are members of the union have some of the highest life-expectancies in the world.
- The predecessor of the modern day European Union was the European Economic Community. There is an instance when a country actually left that organization. It happened in 1985 and the quitter was Greenland. An interesting fact is that recently Greenland is starting making steps for rejoining the European Union again, and this time, probably, for good.
Some basic facts about the Economy of the EU according to Eurostat
|Economy and Economic Indicators||Values|
|Gross domestic product of the EU||€13.08tn|
|Per capita GDP in the EU||€25,500|
|Unemployment rate in the Euro area||12%|
|Youth unemployment rate in the Euro area||22.5%|
As you can see, despite its very strong positions on the global economic map, the European Union is facing quite a bit of challenges that have been risen by the economic crash in 2007-8, and fueled further by the recent refugee crisis that is taking place in most of the country-states of the EU, but mostly in Germany.