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WEF Study: Sweden, the most performing economy in EU, Romania second lastUpdated: 13-05-2010 | Regional Europe

Sweden remains the most competitive economy as measured by the European Unions (EU) own competition benchmark, the Lisbon criteria, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, according to the World Economic Forum's Lisbon Review 2010 released this Sunday ahead of the upcoming World Economic Forum on Europe. The World Economic Forum's study is the fifth and final review in a biennial series that assesses the progress made by EU Member countries in the far-reaching goals of the EU's Lisbon Strategy of economic and structural reforms. In addition to assessing the performance of 27 existing EU Members, it also measures the competitive performance of EU candidates and potential candidate countries.

The three Scandinavian countries rank before Holland, Luxembourg and Germany in the analysis based on indicators like economic growth and productivity, expenses for research and development and unemployment rate. Italy is the third less competitive country in EU and Greece is the fifth but last.

Although some progress was made, there is much to be done for fully exploit Europe's economic potential, said Klaus Schwab, the director and founder of WEF. The acceleration of reform in EU is essential to ensure the return to growth in the area, he added. Northern states have the best performances in Europe for the innovation chapter, due to the aggressiveness of their companies in the adoption of new technologies at their level of budget allocation for research and development, the study shows. Mention should be made that the high level of collaboration between universities and the private sector in the field of research in these states.

Some of the newest EU member states - Slovenia, Estonia and Czech Republic, ranked before some of the older states like Portugal, Spain and Italy, the study shows. Of the candidate countries to EU Croatia and Montenegro come before Poland, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, while Turkey and Macedonia are before Bulgaria.

Among potential future Members, Croatia and Montenegro outperform the four lowest-ranked EU Members "Poland, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria" and Turkey and Macedonia outperform Bulgaria.

The eight dimensions measured by The Lisbon Review 2010 are:
1) Creating an information society for all
2) Developing a European area for innovation and R&D
3) Liberalization (completing the Single Market; state aid and competition policy)
4) Building network industries
5) Creating efficient and integrated financial services
6) Improving the enterprise environment
7) Increasing social inclusion
8) Enhancing sustainable development

The assessment is based on publicly available statistics (e.g. Internet penetration rates, unemployment rates) and data from the World Economic Forums Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), an annual survey of business leaders that is carried out in over 130 countries, providing data for a variety of qualitative issues for which hard data does not exist (e.g. the quality of the educational system, the governments prioritization of information and communications technologies).

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