European Union – economic strength
The prosperity gap within the European Union has widened significantly in recent years. The reasons for this were, on the one hand, the admission of many new member states from Eastern Europe from 2004, and on the other hand the economic difficulties of some older member states in the course of the financial and euro crisis from 2007. The top group of economically strongest countries in 2011 was led by Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, while Romania and Bulgaria, the 2007 acceding countries, together with Latvia, Poland and Estonia, three of the 2004 acceding countries, made up the bottom group.
Economic strength and regional differences in prosperity are determined by the gross domestic product (GDP). The latter is determined by the value of all goods and services that were produced in a region within a specified period of time. The conversion of GDP into purchasing power standards (PPS) also includes regional price differences and in this way determines regional prosperity more specifically and precisely.
Apart from a few exceptions, such as sub-regions in Finland, Sweden and Ireland, there is a clear income gapfrom the rich regions in Central Europe to the far poorer ones on the periphery of the EU. The countries of Eastern Europe had the lowest average economic power between 2009 and 2011, and this imbalance has changed little since then. In 2013 the list of the economically weakest countries was headed by Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland, followed by Croatia (EU member since 2013), the Baltic states, the Czech Republic and the troubled southern European countries Portugal, Greece and Spain. A comparison of national purchasing power shows how great the differences in wealth are within the Community: In 2013, GDP in PPS in Luxembourg (58 844 euros) was 20 times higher than that of Bulgaria (2919 euros).
The disparities within the individual states are generally smaller than those between the states, but here too there are exceptions; for example, from 2009 to 2001 in Ireland, Italy and Spain there were pronounced differences in wealth between the southern and northern (or north-eastern) parts of the country. In addition, the capital city regions often have a significantly higher level of productivity and purchasing power than other parts of the country (example: the Czech Republic and Prague). For more information about the continent of Europe, please check cheeroutdoor.com.