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Economy - overview: Internally, the EU is attempting to lower trade barriers, adopt a common currency, and move toward convergence

of living standards. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic power. Because of the great differences in per capita income among member states (from $7,000 to $69,000) and historic national animosities, the EU faces difficulties in devising and enforcing common policies. For example, since 2003 Germany and France have flouted the member states' treaty obligation to prevent their national budgets from running more than a 3% deficit. Between 2004 and 2007, the EU admitted 12 countries that are, in general, less advanced technologically and economically than the other 15. Eleven established EU member states introduced the euro as their common currency on 1 January 1999 (Greece did so two years later), but the UK, Sweden, and Denmark chose not to participate. Of the 12 most recent member states, only Slovenia (1 January 2007) and Cyprus and Malta (1 January 2008) have adopted the euro; the remaining nine are legally required to adopt the currency upon meeting EU's fiscal and monetary convergence criteria.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $14.91 trillion (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 1 $14.79 trillion (2007 est.) $14.36 trillion (2006 est.) note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $18.14 trillion (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0.8% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 184 3% (2007 est.) 3.4% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $33,700 (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 38 $33,500 (2007 est.) $32,600 (2006 est.) note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2% industry: 27.1% services: 70.9% (2008 est.)

Labor force: 224.4 million (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 3

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 5.6% industry: 27.7% services: 66.7% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate: 7.4% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 92 8.5% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line: note - see individual country entries of member states

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.8% highest 10%: 25.2% (2001 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 31 (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 106 31.2 (2003 est.)

Investment (gross fixed): 21.1% of GDP (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 96

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 48 1.8% (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate: 3% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 97

5% (31 December 2007) note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate: NA% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 106 8.03% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money: $5.542 trillion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 1 $5.649 trillion (31 December 2007) note: this is the quantity of money, M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union

Stock of quasi money: $5.631 trillion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 2 $5.18 trillion (31 December 2007) note: this is the quantity of quasi money, M2-M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of quasi money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union

Stock of domestic credit: $NA (31 December 2008)

country comparison to the world: 1 $20.94 trillion (31 December 2007) note: this figure refers to the euro area only; it excludes credit data for non-euro-area members of the EU

Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA (31 December 2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 2 $15.57 trillion (31 December 2008) $13.5 trillion (31 December 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, oilseeds, sugar beets, wine, grapes; dairy products, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry; fish

Industries: among the world's largest and most technologically advanced, the EU industrial base includes: ferrous and non-ferrous metal production and processing, metal products, petroleum, coal, cement, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, construction equipment, industrial equipment, shipbuilding, electrical power equipment, machine tools and automated manufacturing systems, electronics and telecommunications equipment, fishing, food and beverage processing, furniture, paper, textiles, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: -0.6% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Electricity - production: 3.044 trillion kWh (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Electricity - consumption: 2.884 trillion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 2

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh

Oil - production: 2.538 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 11

Oil - consumption: 14.44 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 2

Oil - exports: 2.196 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 9

Oil - imports:

8.613 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 2

Oil - proved reserves: 5.718 billion bbl (1 January 2008) country comparison to the world: 21

Natural gas - production: 201.9 billion cu m (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 3

Natural gas - consumption: 516.9 billion cu m (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 2

Natural gas - exports: NA cu m

Natural gas - imports: NA cu m

Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.318 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 15

Current account balance: $51.4 billion (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 9

Exports: $1.952 trillion (2007) country comparison to the world: 1 $1.33 trillion (2005) note: external exports, excluding intra-EU trade

Exports - commodities: machinery, motor vehicles, aircraft, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, iron and steel, nonferrous metals, wood pulp and paper products, textiles, meat, dairy products, fish, alcoholic beverages.

Imports: $1.69 trillion (2007) country comparison to the world: 2 $1.466 trillion (2005) note: external imports, excluding intra-EU trade

Imports - commodities: machinery, vehicles, aircraft, plastics, crude oil, chemicals, textiles, metals, foodstuffs, clothing

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $NA

Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)