Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Opinion

Why America is recovering, but Europe is not - Part II

It is the differences in the way the United States and Europe tackled the global financial crisis that explains why the US economy is recovering, whereas the eurozone is amid a lost decade.

Analysis

Juncker's euro-push could risk unity, warns eastern flank

The EU Commission chief hopes that as Emmanuel Macron pushes for euro area countries to integrate further creating a multi-speed Europe, central European members will be more inclined to join the single currency. Are they?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  2. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  3. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  4. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  5. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  6. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  7. May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture
  8. EU circles the wagons around Iran deal