The Differences between EU Countries for Sustainable Development Indicators: It is (mainly) the Economy!
The United Nations adopted in September 2015 the 2030 Agenda, which is broken down into 17 goals and 169 targets. It covers the three traditional dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The European Union (EU) has developed its own dashboard involving 100 indicators, derived from the global Sustainable Development Indicators. Our study is based on the EU’s dashboard indicators. The statistical methods used to analyse the data show that the differences between the EU countries lie primarily in their economic and social indicators: income/poverty; health; education/employment. A fourth category regarding governance also distinguishes EU countries from each other to a certain extent. In contrast, the indicators relating to the environment in a broad sense are much more heterogeneous. On the basis of this analysis, two groups of countries can be identified within the EU. On the one hand, the countries of Western and Northern Europe, and on the other, the countries of East and Southern Europe. While France belongs to the first group of countries, it is closest to the EU 28 average for these indicators overall.