Thursday

20th Jun 2019

EU economy 'at least 20 years' behind US

  • The US is way out in front (Photo: European Commission)

The US economy is 20 years ahead of that of the EU and it will take decades for Europe to catch up, according to an explosive new study published on Friday (11 March).

The survey, unveiled by pan-EU small business organisation Eurochambres, is intended as a sharp "wake-up call" for EU leaders as they gather on 22 March for a summit on how to boost growth and jobs in the EU economy.

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The EU's current performance in terms of employment was achieved in the US in 1978 and it will take until 2023 for Europe to catch up, the report shows.

The situation is scarcely better when it comes to income per person. The US attained the current EU performance in 1985 and Europe is expected to close the gap in 2072.

But the bleakest picture comes when comparing the two economic blocs in terms of research and development. Europe is expected to catch up with the US in 2123 and then only if the EU outstrips America by 0.5 percent per year in terms of R&D investment.

Presenting the survey, Arnaldo Abruzzi, the Secretary-General of Eurochambres, said, "the current EU levels in GDP, R&D investment, productivity and employment were already reached by the US in the late 70s/early 80s".

"Even the most optimistic assumptions show it will take the EU decades to catch up and then only if there is considerable EU improvement", he concluded.

Furthermore, the survey points out that enlargement will make the EU's mountain even harder to climb.

"Data clearly suggest that including the 10 new member countries in the comparison would further deteriorate Europe's position compared to the US for all four major indicators", says the report.

The survey was conducted using a method called the "time distance measure", pioneered by Professor Pavle Sicherl at Ljubljana University.

Eurochambres called for EU leaders to focus on concrete actions to revive the EU's economy and for a communications strategy to lay out the economic challenges facing the EU.

The group represents 18 million enterprises across Europe.

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