Europe Focus on Europe

Facts on the EU Member States

The EU is facing a number of challenges, including the ageing of society, the question of social cohesion, the opportunities arising from increasing digitalization and climate change. How are the EU and its Member States faring as far as these topics are concerned?

The following interactive charts offer an overview of the economic and social situation in the EU Member States. By clicking on the country codes below the line charts you can decide yourself which countries you want to highlight and compare.

Entering the labour market: Where is the situation for young job seekers most challenging?

In Germany the employment situation is comparatively good for young people starting their careers. In a number of Mediterranean EU countries, youth unemployment rates - although slowly decreasing - remain high.


Which EU economy is growing fastest?

The financial and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 had a negative impact on almost all EU economies. Since then the GDP of all Member States has increased, with Ireland and Malta registering the highest growth rates in recent years.


Foreign trade: Which are the main exporting economies?

External trade has increased very significantly in recent decades. Germany is the leading export nation in the EU, followed by the Netherlands and France.


Public finance: Which countries have the highest level of general government gross debt?

According to the European Stability and Growth Pact, the general government gross debt of EU Member States is expected to remain below 60 % of GDP. A considerable number of EU countries currently fail to adhere to this limit. Greece, Italy and Portugal are the Member States with the highest level of government debt.


Population ageing: Which countries are most affected by demographic change?

Consistently low birth rates and increasing life expectancy are leading to a process known as population ageing in all EU countries. High levels of net immigration can help to reduce the impact of this process, but are generally not sufficient to reverse this trend. In six of the EU Member States, more than every fifth person is now aged 65 years or older. Ireland is the EU Member State with the youngest population.


Future outlook: Which countries can expect population growth in the coming decades?

Population projections are calculations based on certain assumptions in terms of birth rates, life expectancy and migration patterns. According to the EU baseline population projection a number of EU Member States – including amongst others Luxemburg and Sweden – can expect an increase in population size over the next decades, whereas others – particularly in East Europe – are projected to decline.


Poverty and/or social exclusion: Which countries are most affected?

According to the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU aims to reduce the number of persons affected by poverty and/or social exclusion by 20 million by the year 2020. Despite a small drop in the percentage of persons affected, the target set has so far not been achieved. 22% of the EU population remain at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion. Romania and Bulgaria are the EU countries most affected by this issue.


Brighter future: Who is investing the largest share of its GDP in education?

On average public expenditure on education amounts to approximately 5% of GDP in the EU. The range spans from 2.7% in Romania to a maximum of 7.1% in Sweden.


Climate change: Who has successfully managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

In order to combat global warming, the EU aims to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % by 2020 taking the base year 1990 as reference point. Overall this level of reduction has been achieved. However in 2016, five EU Member States including Spain, Austria and Ireland had so far failed to achieve any drop in their emissions and were still above 1990 levels.


Solar, wind and hydropower: Which Member States are focusing more on renewable energy?

The percentage of gross final energy consumption covered by renewable energy is to reach 20% by the year 2020. The leading countries in terms of renewables are mainly North European Member States. Overall, the EU has managed to increase the share of renewable energy from 10.6 % in 2007 to 17.5 % in 2017.


Broadband: Where have virtually all households got access to fast internet?

Seven of the 28 Member States have managed to exceed a 90% coverage rate in terms of households with broadband internet access. Bulgaria is the country with the lowest coverage rate – here 71% of households have broadband.


The implications of Brexit: What is the effect on EU economic output?

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union (EU) on the 31st of January 2020. The chart shows which impact this decision has on the EU's overall economic output. More data on the implications of Brexit can be found in the Brexit Monitor.


Overview of the country codes used in graphics.