France in the European Union2014 Edition
The result of a collaboration between public statistical institutions, this issue of the Insee References collection gathers a body of economic and social data allowing a comparison between France and its European partners.
The European Union: an economic power “united in diversity”
Today's European Union, considered as a whole, is an economic power with a moderate rate of growth. The process of catching up with the United States was interrupted over thirty years ago, but the EU's macro-economic imbalances are smaller by comparison. Taken individually, the countries which make up the European Union remain highly diverse from a macroeconomic perspective. A rough classification based on a set of criteria which reflect this heterogeneity would split the member States into four groups: the “Eastern European nations” (the Baltic nations, Bulgaria and Romania) which are still in the process of catching up to the EU average; the “Central European nations”(Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, along with Malta), also in the process of catching up but distinguishing themselves from the first group by the lesser impact of the current economic crisis on their economies; the “peripheral nations” (Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and the United Kingdom) for whom the crisis resulted in a slowdown in growth, an increase n the unemployment rate and an increase in public debt which were all greater than those seen in other European nations; and finally the “Western and Northern European nations” (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden), a group bringing together countries whose recent economic performances are not necessarily homogeneous but which share the distinction of being mature economies which have demonstrated a certain resilience to the crisis.