European Union - Statistics & Facts
The European Union (EU)
The European Union is described foremost as a political and economic partnership-type institution with 27 member states, all of them European countries. Also commonly shortened to just ‘the EU’, the European Union was founded after the end of the Second World War. Starting goals were aimed at ensuring peace and stability for nations shaken and torn apart by by the horrors of the war, as well as preventing another such conflict from ever taking place again. Consolidation and common goals for prosperity were a big theme in the early days of the EU. Statistics on the number of conflicts in Europe report 17 violent conflicts in 2011, which, while being a slightly higher number than in previous years, is still lower than the peak of 21 conflicts in 2007.
The European Union aimed to establish economic cooperation and partnerships between European countries. Interdependence in trading was seen as a guarantee for peaceful relationships between nations. While EU beginnings may have had a basis in economic goals, activities in the European Union also encompass environmental policy, cultural development, integration policy and international exchange as well as the promotion of human rights. The influence the EU wields on the world stage is significant, both economically and politically. According to EU statistics concerning US direct investment position in Europe, in 2010 investments amounted to over two trillion dollars.
The unification of European countries began in the 1950s through the European Coal and Steel Community. Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were the six founding members of the EU. 1957 saw the creation of the Treaty of Rome, which gave birth to the European Economic Community (EEC), or the so-called ‘Common Market’. The European Union has basically become an enormous market of its own with a common currency used by a number of its member states – the euro. Experts have been divided on the introduction of the euro in 2001 as have citizens. Since the economic crisis of 2008, the euro has had its fair share of hard times. EU statistics on the monthly inflation rate in the euro area report 2.7 percent for February 2012, compared to the same month in the previous year. The official national debt level in the EU in the first quarter of 2011 showed Germany at the top of the list with over two trillion euros worth of national debt.
In the 1960s the European Union stopped countries charging custom taxes for trading with each other. In this decade joint control over food production was also introduced. European Union statistics state that France and Germany are among the largest national markets for food products. Later in the 1970s the EU member circle expanded to include Denmark, Ireland and the UK. Other crucial events in the history of the world take place in the European Union during this time. The Salazar rule in Portugal crumbled, as did the regime of General Franco in Spain.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, leading to Germany’s reunification in October 1990. As a result of this event in particular, closer ties are forged between European countries and mutual interest about European issues began to strengthen. The quality of life changed. The average life expectancy in Europe is also very high, with 81 years on average for Western Europe.
In later years the European Union cancelled border control and introduced the Schengen Agreement – citizens are able to travel freely between different European countries. This of course led to more Europeans and international citizens taking up studying and working within Europe. However, the economic crisis did affect unemployment levels, making it an ever-present issue. As statistics from January 2012 show, the EU unemployment rate in member states of the European Union was highest in Spain at 23 percent.
The main institutions involved in European Union legislation and policy are the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
One of the most serious issues currently facing the European Union is the ongoing economic crisis, which is also affecting the futures and job prospects of Europeans.
Photo: istockphoto.com / aleksl
|Total population of the EU||505.67m||Details →|
|Number of live births in the EU||5.23m||Details →|
|Population density in the EU||116.3||Details →|
|Economy and Economic Indicators||Values||Statistic|
|Gross domestic product of the EU||€13.08tn||Details →|
|Per capita GDP in the EU||€25,500||Details →|
|Unemployment rate in the Euro area||12%||Details →|
|Youth unemployment rate in the Euro area||23.9%||Details →|
|General gross debt of the EU||€11.01tn||Details →|
|National debt of the EU in relation to the GDP||88.76%||Details →|
|Greece's national debt in relation to GDP||175.1%||Details →|
|Budget balance of the UK||€-117.56bn||Details →|
|Germany's contribution to the EU budget||€22,820.2m||Details →|
|Poland's budget expenditures||€15,735.8m||Details →|
- Unemployment rate in EU countries May 2014Unemployment rate in EU countries May 2014
Unemployment rate in member states of the European Union in May 2014 (seasonally adjusted)
- National debt in EU countries 4th quarter 2013National debt in EU countries 4th quarter 2013
National debt in the member states of the European Union in the 4th quarter 2013 (in million euros)
- Life expectancy in Europe in 2014Life expectancy in Europe in 2014
Average life expectancy* in Europe for those born in 2014, by gender and region (in years)
- Monthly inflation rate in the Euro area June 2014Monthly inflation rate in the Euro area June 2014
Inflation rate in the Euro area from June 2013 to June 2014 (compared to the same month of the previous year)
- EU countries: households with internet access 2006-2013EU countries: households with internet access 2006-2013
Percentage of households with internet access in EU countries from 2006 to 2013
- General gross debt of the European Union and the euro area 2012General gross debt of the European Union and the euro area 2012
- Budget balance of the European Union and the euro area 2012Budget balance of the European Union and the euro area 2012
- Youth unemployment rate in the European Union and the euro area 2013Youth unemployment rate in the European Union and the euro area 2013