Friday, January 29, 2010

Highest shares of freight vehicles in Northern Europe regions

From: Significant differences between regions in the stock of passenger cars and freight vehicles

There are important disparities in the use of passenger cars within the various regions of the different European countries.

The number of passenger cars per inhabitant provides an illustration of this phenomenon, with the highest regional rate registered in the EU being more than eleven times the lowest one. At EU-27 level, the average rate is estimated at 0.54 passenger cars per inhabitant in 2007.

The ratio is often linked to economical or geographical issues: the highest ratios are more likely to be registered in less accessible regions while the lowest ratios are more often observed in regions with high density of population and where the public transport network is typically quite developed. The highest numbers of passenger cars per inhabitant are registered in the West European regions and an important geographical contrast prevails compared with the East European countries.

The picture is however different when considering freight vehicles. The highest regional stocks of freight vehicles are registered in regions playing a key role in large-scale freight transport, representing either major entry points to the EU or important crossroads.

The highest shares of freight vehicles are registered in Northern Europe regions: 9 of the top-10 regionswith the highest shares of freight vehicles are located in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Foreign language learning

From: Statistics Explained
The European Union (EU) recognizes 23 official languages, in addition to which there are regional, minority languages and languages spoken by migrant populations. School is the main opportunity for the vast majority of people to learn these languages – as linguistic diversity is actively encouraged within schools, universities and adult education centres as well as the workplace. This article presents statistics on language learning at primary and secondary schools in the EU Member States.

Eurostat: 93% EU businesses online, 80% via broadband

From Twitter Eurostat Search HootSuite

Eurostat: 93% EU businesses online, 80% via broadband

Businesses across Europe who have yet to embrace the Internet are few and far between, according to new data released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

eurostat logo.jpgThe Internet has revolutionized the way that many businesses operate and, with more and more people researching purchases and shopping online, the level of business generated via this channel is on the increase.
Businesses in Europe are certainly seeing increased sales thanks to Internet access. An impressive 93% of businesses in Europe with 10 or more employees now have Internet access which has in turn led to a 12% boost in turnover across the continent, found Eurostat.
Just as impressive, more than 80% of European online businesses are connected via broadband.
Finland, Spain, Malta, and France are the countries with the largest proportion of businesses with access to broadband. All four countries came in at 90% while Britain was eighth, with 85% of its businesses having broadband access.
While around three-quarters of Internet sales came from within a business' country of origin, 19% came from another European country and 8% from outside the EU altogether.
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Figure 1: Internet access, broadband and mobile connections to access the Internet, ... 8 out of 10 enterprises usebroadband to connect to the Internet; ...
... which set out a comprehensive set of benchmarking indicators on Internet and broadband take up by citizens and businesses, and on the use of computers ...
Households with broad band access. IT1005V ...... Proportion of households with access to broadband. IT1010V. DE3001V. IT1006I ...
with return via a pre-addressed envelope. ● Video on demand via broadband Internet. ● Internet services such as banking, or bill payment systems. ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Financial Turmoil: its impact on quarterly government accounts

From: Financial Turmoil: its impact on quarterly government accounts

In recent years Eurostat has significantly expanded the range of integrated quarterly data available on government finances, providing a timely and increasingly high quality picture of the evolution of government finances in the EU. These data now reflect non-financial, financial and debt aspects, and cover all countries in the European Union. This publication examines the main features of these data as they reflect the lead-up to and stages on the economic and financial crisis, based on data transmitted by Member States at the end of September 2009. This publication complements the SiF recently published which provides an in-depth analysis of quarterly non-financial accounts (number 93/2009)

All Member States, except Malta experienced an increase of their average government deficit from 2008Q4 to 2009Q2 (or equivalently, a decrease in their net lending/net borrowing figures). Four Member States (Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden) recorded average government surpluses on the last 4 quarters
2008Q3-2009Q2, while the remaining countries reported deficits. The highest average deficits in % of GDP wereregistered by Greece (10.6%), Ireland (10.1%); Spain (8.7%), the UK (8.4%) and Latvia (8.3%).

Figure 7 shows QGD in percentage of GDP for 2007Q4 and 2008Q4 in every country and for the EU-27 and the EA-16 (note that the debt stock for a calendar year is the debt stock at the last quarter of that year). Italy presented the highest level of QGD for both years, with an increase of more than 2 points of debt in terms of its GDP. Estonia still has the lowest level, with 4.6% of debt over GDP in 2008, while it was just under 4% in 2007. Also worth noting are the increase of almost 13 points in the Netherlands, which brings the country's ratio to 58%, and the 10 points drop in Cyprus, falling from 59% to 49%. Finally, with an average increase of 3 points, Austria's debt went over the 60% percentage of GDP between 2007Q4 and 2008Q4.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media in Europe

From: Publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media in Europe

Publishing, printing and the reproduction of recorded media (NACE Rev. 1.1 Division 22) generated EUR 97 billion of value added in the EU-27 in 2006, representing 1.7 % of the non-financial business economy total. However, in employment terms this sector’s contribution was smaller as 219 900 enterprises employed some 1.8 million people, equal to 1.4 % of the non-financial business economy’s workforce. Several activities are involved in this sector with quite different processes. A distinction can be made between printing which produces goods, publishing which provides services, and newer activities such as the reproduction of CDs/DVDs. This sector has been revolutionised by changes in information technologies more than many other industrial processes, creating a number of electronic alternatives to traditional printing and at the same time enabling smaller and more flexible print-runs.

Sweden fourth in inflation among EU27

From: Harmonized indices of consumer prices – December 2009 

This Data in Focus is the monthly publication of Harmonized Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) for December 2009. The DIF contains indices and rates of change for individual MSs, the EU, the EEA and the euro area. It also includes a graph showing the annual inflation in all Member States in ascending order, see fig. 2 below.

Sweden ninth among top destinations in the EU

From: Tourism statistics

Putting the number of nights spent in perspective by comparing them to the population of the Member State, the tourism intensity can be ascertained. In 2007, in the EU, this indicator shows the Mediterranean island destinations of Cyprus and Malta, as well as the alpine and city trip destination of Austria, as the most popular destinations (see Graph 5). The top 10 in terms of tourism intensity were:
  1. Cyprus;
  2. Malta;
  3. Austria;
  4. Spain;
  5. Ireland;
  6. Italy;
  7. Greece;
  8. the Netherlands;
  9. Sweden;
  10. Luxembourg.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ICT usage in enterprises 2009

17% of full-time employees in the EU are low-wage earners

From: 17% of full-time employees in the EU are low-wage earners

In the EU-27, 17% of full-time employees were low-wage earners in 2006. This category included 23% of female full-time employees, 28% of those with a low level of education, 31% of those having a fixed-term contract and 41% of those working in hotels and restaurants. The percentage of full-time employees who were low-wage earners was between 6% (Finland) and 31% (Latvia). This publication analyses in more detail the structure of low-wage employment in Europe. Also when looking at average gross earnings per hour wide variations around the average of 13.38 EUR per hour were reported in the EU in 2006. On average, hourly wages of persons with tertiary education were twice as high as those with lower education. Gross hourly earnings of women were 17.6% lower than for men in 2007 (this relative difference is known as the gender pay gap).

The largest differences in earnings between employees with low and high educational levels were recorded for Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia (nearly three times greater for highly educated employees), whereas the smallest differences were observed in Denmark, Finland and Sweden (under 1.5 times more).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Most EU regions face older population profile in 2030

From: Regional population projections EUROPOP2008: Most EU regions face older population profile in 2030

This publication describes the results of the 2008-based regional NUTS level 2 population projections for Europe, produced by Eurostat for the EU-27 Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The 2008-based regional population projections EUROPOP2008 show that population may increase in two out of three regions between 2008 and 2030. However, in 2030, slightly more than half of the regions are projected to continue to increase their population. The median age of the regions’ population in 2030 is projected to be between 34.2 years and 57.0 years, while in 2008 the range was between 32.9 years and 47.8 years. Similarly, in 2030, the share of the population aged 65 years or over is expected to range between 10.4 % and 37.3 %. In 2008, the range was between 9.1 % and 26.8 %. Population projections are what-if scenarios that aim to provide information about the likely future size and structure of the population. Eurostat’s regional population projections scenario is one of several possible population change scenarios at regional level based on assumptions for fertility, mortality and migration.

While the EU population is projected to rise by 5 % between 2008 and 2030, there is considerable variation between the 281 regions in the Member States, Norway and Switzerland.

In fact, as shown in Figure 1, population may increase in Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta and in all regions in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland by 2030. Similarly, the most heavily populated regions of Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Slovenia are projected to increase in population over the period.

Figure 2 shows the range of the regions’ relative population change between 2008 and 2030 for each country. Additionally, between the highest and lowest values the bars illustrate the national figure. Different shading is used for the range above and below the countries’ relative population change.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sweden second in EU-27 telecom equipment export

From EU-27 imports of telecom products increased by 61% over 2000 – 2008

The total value of extra EU-27 trade in telecommunication, sound and video equipment (SITC division 76) rose by 33% over the period 2000-2008. There were minor fluctuations for exports but imports increased by 61%, peaking in 2007. The EU-27 recorded trade deficits for these products every year. China was the major world trader in these products in 2008, followed by the United States.

The four largest EU-27 exporters of telecommunication, sound and video equipment in 2008 were Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Finland, together accounting for 55% of extra EU-27 trade in that category. In 2000, Sweden was the largest exporter, but from 2001 to 2004 and 2006 to 2008, Germany was the leader.

Net expenditure on social protection benefits

From Net expenditure on social protection benefits

A pilot study shows that the equivalent of more than one quarter of EU GDP was spent on social protection benefits, but some of these benefits were liable to taxes and social contributions paid by the recipients to general government so that the net expenditure was less. Eurostat has completed a first pilot data collection based on 2005 data in order to measure the effective rates of taxes and social contributions applied to each different type of benefit in order to evaluate the net value of expenditure on social protection benefits. The results must be treated as provisional but indicate that across the EU 7% of the gross expenditure on social protection benefits was clawed back through the fiscal system. More than half of the benefits issued in the EU were liable to taxes and/or social contributions. The majority of old age and survivors benefits were subject to some form of obligatory levy whilst only a small proportion of benefits in case of sickness or social exclusion were affected. The effective combined rate of taxes and social contribution applied to liable benefits averaged around 13% in the EU as a whole compared to 7% on all benefits.

Net social protection expenditure is less than 90% of gross expenditure in six countries (the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Finland and Italy) and less than 95% in a further five EU countries (Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Greece) and in Norway and Iceland. The sheer scale of social protection expenditure means that recouping part of the total amount disbursed through the fiscal system can
have a significant impact on the net costs as a share of GDP (Fig.2).

In Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, the value of taxes and social contributions paid on benefits amounts to just over 4.7% of GDP and the difference between gross and net expenditureas a share of GDP is between 2 and 3 percentage points in a further six countries (Finland, Italy, Austria, Poland, Norway and Iceland). In general, the impact of taxes on gross expenditure is higher in those countries that spend more (as
% GDP) on social protection so that the differences between high and low spending countries are reduced. Furthermore, by comparing countries in terms of their net rather than gross social protection expenditure, the
ranking by level of expenditure is significantly altered. In 2005, Sweden had the highest level of gross expenditure on social protection benefits in the EU (30.9% GDP) but only the fourth highest in terms of net expenditure behind France, Germany and Belgium. Indeed, France (28.1%) now stands out with net expenditure on social protection benefits higher than any other country. The Netherlands moves down the
rankings of EU countries by six places and Denmark by four, whilst the UK rises from 9th to 6th.

The difference between gross and net social protection expenditure depends on the proportion of gross benefits that are liable to taxes and/or social contributions and the effective rates at which these levies are applied (1). A little more than half of all social protection benefits in the EU (54.5% by value) were potentially liable to some form of obligatory levy. Benefits are more commonly liable to taxes on income (52.8% of gross benefits) than to social contributions (35.8%).

In all countries except Greece, Luxembourg and Hungary, a higher proportion of benefits is liable to taxes on income than to social contributions (Fig.3). In fact there are eight countries where no recipients of social protection benefits are liable to pay social contributions on the benefits that they actually received (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden). In some cases this is because the gross benefits are effectively already net of social contributions, which are deducted at source and rerouted
within the benefit system and not paid out to recipients. An example might be where contributions for sickness insurance based on the value of unemployment benefits are paid by the unemployment benefit scheme directly to the sickness scheme to ensure continued coverage for the affected workers. In the ESSPROS system rerouted contributions appear as an expenditure of one scheme and a receipt of another and therefore balance out so that the amount does not contribute towards gross expenditure on social protection  benefits.

Although more than half of all social protectionbenefits are potentially liable to taxes and/or social contributions, this does not mean that all recipients of those benefits pay taxes – many will have an income that is below the threshold at which taxes become payable and will therefore enjoy the full value of the benefits disbursed. The data collected by Eurostat attempts to take this into account and measure the effective rate of tax and social contributions that apply to the total value of gross benefits paid out and, therefore, the net cost of those benefits. Across the EU, the effective combined rate of taxes and social contributions applied to those benefits that are taxable was 13.0% but there were considerable variations between countries (Fig.5).

Effective combined tax rates exceed 25% in three countries - Sweden (28.9%), Denmark (28.6%) and the Netherlands (27.4%) and are also over 20% in Lithuania (23.7%), Hungary (24.1%), and Iceland (20.2%). However, the value of taxable benefits is impacted by less than 5% in Portugal (4.5%), Cyprus (3.7%), Estonia (3.5%), Latvia (3.3%) and Malta (2.3%) and by less than 1% in Romania (0.5%) and the Czech Republic (0.01%). In general, social protection benefits that are taxable are cumulated with other income to form part of the tax base for regular taxes on income and are not subject to special rules (although a few exceptions exist). Low effective tax rates therefore may imply that a large proportion of the benefit recipients
have income levels below or only just above the thresholds at which taxes become payable.

More than 9 million persons employed in the hotels and restaurants sector in the EU

From More than 9 million persons employed in the hotels and restaurants sector in the EU

In 2006, there were 1.7 million enterprises in the EU-27 hotels and restaurants sector, employing some 9.3 million people. This corresponded to 8.3 % of the non-financial business economy's (NACE Rev. 1.1 Sections C to I and K) enterprise population and 7.1 % of its workforce. Hotels and restaurants recorded value added of EUR 181.9 billion in the EU-27, which represented 3.2 % of the total for the non-financial business economy. In 2008, women made up 55% of the workforce in this sector and 28% worked part time. Specialisations within this activity are strongly related to climate, natural or man-made attractions (beaches, mountains, castles, etc), as well as proximity to a critical mass of potential customers (in particular for restaurants and bars). It is therefore no surprise to find that the island destination of Cyprus is the most specialised Member State, while some regions in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Austria are also highly specialised in these activities.

33% of EU-27 African investments in 2007 were carried out in Sweden

From Africa-EU: economic indicators, trade and investment

In recent years, the GDP generated by African countries has progressed at a faster pace than that of the European Union, but it has been offset by a comparatively high increase in consumer prices. Since 2004, the EU-27 trade in goods with Africa has taken a clear upswing, the value of its imports (mainly energy products) always being superior to that of its exports (especially machinery and transport equipment). In 2008, Libya ranked first for EU-27 imports; South Africa was the main destination country for EU-27 exports to Africa. The EU-27 also displays a deficit in trade in services, considerably influenced by tourism to North African destinations.
The EU Member States that registered the highest trade volume with Africa are Italy and France.It should be noted that the valueof goods are accounted for by the country where the goods enter EU territory. The final destination of the goods might well be in another EU Member State.

Looking at FDI flows in 2007 (Table 6), Europeans built up African assets worth EUR 17.6 billion, South Africa and Nigeria attracting large shares 20% and 19% of the total volume that EU-27 invested in Africa). TheUnited Kingdom and France were the main investors in 2007. African enterprises invested close to EUR 5.5 billion in EU-27 economy. This corresponds to 1.5% of the total investment in EU-27 from non-EU countries. A disinvestment was registered for Morocco and Egypt (negative values). A considerable share (33%) of African investments in 2007 was carried out in Sweden.

Sweden among the first to move into recession

From Recession in the EU-27: length and depth of the downturn varies across activities and countries

In simplified terms, the financial crisis during the summer of 2007 resulted from a fall in asset prices after a period of asset price inflation, leading to a liquidity shortage among financial institutions and concerns over their solvency. These concerns were subsequently transmitted, often in the first half of 2008, to non-financial sectors (the so-called ‘real economy’), as credit facilities were withdrawn and business and consumer confidence fell. The length and depth of the recession was considerable and in some cases the contraction in activity was the largest seen since the 1930s; however, there are now signs of a recovery.
Nine of the 26 Member States for which data are available (no information for Malta) reported their highest index values for industrial output in April 2008 (the same month as the EU-27 average). The first industrial economies to move into recession (using this measure) were the Czech Republic, Portugal, Finland and Sweden, where output peaked at the start of 2008.
Figure 4 shows the length and depth of the downturn – the most extreme examples being Slovakia, where a five-month downturn in industrial activity resulted in the second largest contraction in output among the Member States; the duration of the downturn in Luxembourg and Italy was also shorter than the EU average, while overall losses in industrial production for both of these countries were well above the EU average.

Refugee foreigners dominate in Sweden

From Citizens of European countries account for the majority of the foreign population in EU-27 in 2008

The population of the European Union (EU) has increased significantly in recent years. This trend is mainly due to a relatively high net migration rate, which in 2008 was almost three times higher than the rate of natural population growth. Migration plays a significant role in population dynamics of European societies, so quantifying the non-national population residing in the countries of the EU is important.
Events, such as wars and civil conflicts, lie behind the significant number of refugees and emigrants from Iraq to Denmark and Sweden, and from the former Yugoslavian countries to Austria, Slovenia and Germany.

Price level in Sweden more than 20 percent higher than EU-27

As in the preceding two years, Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands had the highest and Bulgaria the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per inhabitant among EU Member States in 2008. Actual Individual Consumption (AIC) per inhabitant was highest in Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, while in Bulgaria, AIC was just 30 percent of Luxembourg's level. The highest price levels in the EU were found in Denmark.

Relative volumes of GDP per capita
Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium all come out within a narrow range. This means that the ranking of these countries should be interpreted carefully. If GDP per inhabitant is taken as an indicator of the standard of living, it is clear that at least Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Finland, with volume indices ranging from
115 to 117, for all practical purposes are at the same level.

Comparative price levels in Europe

In 2008, Denmark is by far the most expensive EU Member State, and indeed the most expensive country in Europe, along with Norway. Other countries with price levels more than 20 percent higher than the EU27 average include Switzerland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland, as well as Iceland and Sweden. Belgium and France have price levels between 10 and 20 percent above the average, while Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Greece and Cyprus all come out within plus or minus 10 percent of the average.