In the last 2 years, the EU has become the largest economic area or country in the world.
– 508+ million people
– 28 EU member states and 3 EEA members + Switzerland
– GDP of $18.5 trillion (24% of global GDP)
– 24 official languages and about 150 regional & minority languages
Territories in Europe are normally structured as:
United Kingdom: UK, Ireland
Nordics: The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway
DACH: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
France: France, Belgium, Luxembourg
Southern Europe: Spain, Portugal, Italy
Market Size Stats – 2013
|2013 ecommerce growth y/y||15%||16%|
|2013 ecommerce spend||$236bn||$141bn|
Reference: Channel Advisor
EU Market Sizing: IR Europe 500 / Ecommerce Europe
|Year||EU Segment||Online Sales ($bn)||Average Online Sales ($bn)|
|2013||EU Top 50||$ 103.87||$ 2.08||66.93% of Top 500|
|2012||EU Top 50||$ 87.89||$ 1.76|
|2013||EU Top 500||$ 155.23||$ 0.31||34.32% of All EU online sales|
|2012||EU Top 500||$ 132.62||$ 0.27|
|2013||All EU Online Sales||$ 449.21|
|2012||All EU Online Sales||$ 383.98|
|2013||All EU Online Sales ($bn)||% All EU Online Sales||Top 500 Online Sales ($bn)||Quantity of Top 500|
|UK||$ 139.61||31.80%||$ 42.85||148/500|
|DE||$ 87.49||19.60%||$ 25.71||63/500|
|FR||$ 71.07||15.90%||$ 19.85||79/500|
|Total||$ 298.17||67.30%||$ 88.41||290/500|
Source: Internet Retailer Top 500 EU Guide 2014
|UK: Top 148 UK Companies|
|Total Visitors:||456,403,288||Average: 3,000,000|
|Unique Visitors:||207,594,915||Average: 1,400,000|
Source: Internet Retailer Top 500 EU Guide 2014
|EU: Top 500 EU Companies|
|Total Visitors:||1,958,470,629||Average: 3,900,000|
|Unique Visitors:||895,336,840||Average: 1,800,000|
Source: Internet Retailer Top 500 EU Guide 2014
About The EU
The European Union (EU) is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It covers an area of 4,324,782 km2, with an estimated population of over 508 million. The EU operates through a system of supranational institutions and intergovernmental-negotiated decisions by the member states. The institutions are: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the Court of Auditors. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development. The monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002. It is currently composed of 19 member states that use the euro as their legal tender.
The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009.
Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 18.495 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24% of global nominal GDP and 17% when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.
The following 28 sovereign states constitute the union:
There are six countries which are recognized as candidates for membership: Albania, Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. However, on 13 June 2013, Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, informed the European Commission that the newly elected government intended to “put negotiations on hold”. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are officially recognised as potential candidates, but have not submitted membership applications. Due to the lack of recognition by five of the 28 EU member states, the European Commission refers only to “Kosovo*”, with an asterisked footnote containing the text agreed to by the Belgrade–Pristina negotiations: “This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.”
Four countries forming the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (that are not EU members) have partly committed to the EU’s economy and regulations: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are a part of the single market through the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, which has similar ties through bilateral treaties. The relationships of the European microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of co-operation.
The EU has established a single market across the territory of all its members. 19 member states have also joined a monetary union known as the Eurozone, which uses the Euro as a single currency. In 2012, the EU had a combined GDP of $16.073 trillion, a 20% share of the global domestic product (in terms of purchasing power parity). According to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2012, the EU owns the largest net wealth in the world; it is estimated to equal 30% of the $223 trillion global wealth.
Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue (Fortune Global 500 in 2010), 161 have their headquarters in the EU. In 2007, unemployment in the EU stood at 7% while investment was at 21.4% of GDP, inflation at 2.2%, and current account balance at −0.9% of GDP (i.e., slightly more import than export). In 2015, unemployment in the EU stood, per August 2015, at 9.5%.
Fortune Global 500 Top 10 Countries
The creation of a European single currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969. In 1992, after having negotiated the structure and procedures of a currency union, the member states signed the Maastricht Treaty and were legally bound to fulfil the agreed-on rules including the convergence criteria if they wanted to join the monetary union. The states wanting to participate had first to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In 1999 the currency union started, first as an accounting currency with eleven member states joining. In 2002, the currency was fully put into place, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies began to phase out in the Eurozone, which by then consisted of 12 member states. The Eurozone (constituted by the EU member states which have adopted the euro) has since grown to 19 countries, the most recent being Lithuania which joined on 1 January 2015. Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden decided not to join the euro.
Since its launch the euro has become the second reserve currency in the world with a quarter of foreign exchanges reserves being in euro. The euro, and the monetary policies of those who have adopted it in agreement with the EU, are under the control of the European Central Bank (ECB).
The ECB is the central bank for the Eurozone, and thus controls monetary policy in that area with an agenda to maintain price stability. It is at the centre of the European System of Central Banks, which comprehends all EU national central banks and is controlled by its General Council, consisting of the President of the ECB, who is appointed by the European Council, the Vice-President of the ECB, and the governors of the national central banks of all 28 EU member states.
The European System of Financial Supervision is an institutional architecture of the EU’s framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority. To complement this framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the ECB. The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU.
To prevent the joining states from getting into financial trouble or crisis after entering the monetary union, they were obliged in the Maastricht treaty to fulfil important financial obligations and procedures, especially to show budgetary discipline and a high degree of sustainable economic convergence, as well as to avoid excessive government deficits and limit the government debt to a sustainable level.
Some states joined the euro but violated these rules and contracts to an extent that they slid into a debt crisis and had to be financially supported with emergency rescue funds. These states were Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain.
Even though the Maastricht treaty forbids Eurozone states to assume the debts of other states (“bailout”), various emergency rescue funds had been created by the members to support the debt crisis states to meet their financial obligations and buy time for reforms that those states can gain back their competitiveness.
Among the many languages and dialects used in the EU, it has 24 official and working languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech,Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish,
Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese,Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish. Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into every official language.
Language policy is the responsibility of member states, but EU institutions promote the learning of other languages. English is the most spoken language in the EU, being spoken by 51% of the EU population when counting both native and non-native speakers. German is the most widely spoken mother tongue (about 88.7 million people in 2006). 56% of EU citizens are able to engage in a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. Most official languages of the EU belong to the Indo-European language family, except Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian, which belong to the Uralic language family, and Maltese, which is a Semitic language. Most EU official languages are written in the Latin alphabet except Bulgarian, written in Cyrillic, and Greek, written in the Greek alphabet. With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following the Latin and Greek scripts.
Besides the 24 official languages, there are about 150 regional and minority languages, spoken by up to 50 million people. Of these, only the Spanish regional languages (Catalan, Galician, and Basque), Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh can be used by citizens in communication with the main European institutions. Although EU programmes can support regional and minority languages, the protection of linguistic rights is a matter for the individual member states. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ratified by most EU states provides general guidelines that states can follow to protect their linguistic heritage.
|Native: Native language|
|Total: EU citizens able to hold a|
|conversation in this language|