Wednesday

25th May 2016

Finland and Germany slip in global competitiveness rankings

  • Finland and Germany remain top performers in terms of productivity and propserity (Photo: European Commission)

Finland and Germany remain in the top five most competitive economies despite both slipping a spot each in global rankings of 144 countries compiled by the World Economic Forum.

The Geneva-based organisation on Wednesday (3 September) published its 565-page annual ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015’ report.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The report assesses factors, grouped in 12 categories, which drive a country’s productivity and prosperity and found most governments are not implementing structural reforms it says are needed to boost competitiveness.

“The health of the global economy is at risk, despite years of bold monetary policy, as countries struggle to implement structural reforms necessary to help economies grow,” notes the report.

According to the study, the biggest problems, in terms of making EU member states more competitive, is red tape, access to finance, tax rates, labour regulations, and tax regulation.

Despite having five member states listed in the top ten performers, a mixed picture emerges when looking at the whole of the EU.

Some have dropped, improved, or remained in the same spot in the rankings when compared to the previous year.

It places Finland and Germany fourth and fifth respectively, with Switzerland (not in the EU) in the number one spot (for the sixth consecutive year) followed by Singapore and the United States.

Finland dropped one place to fourth due to a “slight deterioration of its macroeconomic conditions” and its high deficit and debt levels.

But Finland’s problems are largely offset by its ability to innovate, investments in research and development, and for its highly transparent public institutions, notes the report.

The EU’s economic engine Germany fell a spot to fifth place due in part to “some concerns about institutions and infrastructure”. Germany remains a top performer in part for reasons similar to Finland.

The study credits Germany’s performance on its ability to innovate, high level of research and development, high quality infrastructure, among other reasons.

The EU’s third best performer in the global rankings is Netherlands in eighth place, followed by the UK, which saw a slight improvement by climbing one spot to ninth.

Sweden dropped four spots to tenth in part because of labour regulations and high tax systems, “considered the two most problematic factors for doing business in the country”.

At the bottom of the list are Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece, coming in at 36th, 49th, 54th, 59th, and 81st place respectively.

The reports notes the wide-ranging performance differences point to a persistent competitiveness divide in Europe between the north with the south and east.

However, the report’s authors suggest a new divide may be emerging “among those countries whose competitiveness is currently lagging” such as France and Italy, and others which are seeing some progress.

News in Brief

  1. France oil strike hits petrol pumps
  2. Turkey MPs could block EU deal over visas
  3. EU Commission approves giant beer merger
  4. Technical witness tells EP diesel cheating not necessary
  5. Poland presents 'solutions' to constitutional crisis
  6. Greek bailout without IMF not an option, says Dijsselbloem
  7. Germany's Bayer makes offer to buy US giant Monsanto
  8. Greece evacuates Idomeni migrant camp

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  2. Innovators Under 35Meet MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Award Recipients from Belgium on 25 May, 6pm
  3. Open EuropeJoin the Brussels Brexit Debate on Wednesday, 25 May at 5:00 PM
  4. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  5. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  6. CEDEC - Covenant of MayorsWebinar on 25 May - Electric Vehicles Development: The Role of Local Entities
  7. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  8. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  10. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan
  11. World VisionCash-based Programming to Address Hunger in South Sudan:
  12. Belgrade Security ForumOpen Call for Applications! Join the Events Team at the 6th Belgrade Security Forum.

Latest News

  1. EU and IMF agree debt relief for Greece
  2. Austria vote is wake-up call for EU left
  3. Poland vows solution to judicial crisis
  4. Terrorists likely stockpiling explosives in EU, says Europol
  5. EU navies to help Libya coastguard stop migrants
  6. Merkel casts doubt on Turkey visa-free travel
  7. EU and Poland in last minute talks on rule of law
  8. Tough challenges ahead for Austria's president