Map 1: Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant, in purchasing power standard (PPS), by NUTS 2 - Source: Eurostat (nama_r_e2gdp
Map 1 shows per-inhabitant GDP (as a percentage of the EU-27 average of 25 100 PPS) for the European Union, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, which has, after a lengthy interruption, again provided data (for the reference years 2004–06) in line with the European system of national and regional accounts (ESA95) Data Transmission Programme.
The regions with the highest per-inhabitant GDP are in southern Germany, the south of the UK, northern Italy and Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland andScandinavia. The regions around certain capitals, Madrid, Paris, Praha and Bratislava, also fall into this category. The weaker regions are concentrated in the southern, south-western and south-eastern periphery of the Union, in eastern Germany and the new Member States, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.
Figure 1: Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant, in purchasing power standard (PPS), highest and lowest NUTS 2 region within each country, 2008 (in % of the EU-27 average, EU-27=100) - Source: Eurostat (nama_r_e2gdp)
There are also substantial regional differences within countries themselves, as Figure 1 shows. In 2008, the highest per-inhabitant GDP was more than twice the lowest in 13 of the 23 countries examined here with several NUTS 2 regions. This group includes seven of the nine new Member States/candidate countries, but only six of the 14 EU-15 Member States.
The largest regional differences are in Turkey, where there is a factor of 4.9 between the highest and lowest values, and in the United Kingdom and Romania, with factors of 4.8 and 3.9 respectively. The lowest values are in Slovenia, Ireland and Sweden, with factors of 1.4, 1.6 and 1.6. Moderate regional disparities in per-inhabitant GDP (i.e. factors of less than 2 between the highest and lowest values) are found only in EU-15 Member States, plus Slovenia and Croatia.
Map 2: Change of gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant, in purchasing power standard (PPS), by NUTS 2 regions, 2008 as compared with 2000 (in percentage points of the average EU-27) - Source: Eurostat (nama_r_e2gdp)
Map 2 shows the extent to which per-inhabitant GDP changed between 2000 and 2008, compared with the EU-27 average (expressed in percentage points of the EU-27 average). Economically dynamic regions, whose per-inhabitant GDP increased by more than 3 percentage points compared with the EU average, are shown in green. By contrast, less dynamic regions (those with a fall of more than 3 percentage points in per-inhabitant GDP compared with the EU-27 average) are shown in orange and red. The range is from + 58 percentage points for Bratislavský kraj (Slovakia) to – 40 percentage points for Brussels in Belgium.
The map shows that economic dynamism is well above average in the south-western, eastern and northern peripheral areas of the EU, not just in EU-15 countries but particularly in new Member States, Croatia and some regions of Turkey.
Among the EU-15 Member States, strong growth is particularly evident in Spain, parts of the Netherlands and Greece, as well as the north of Finland and Sweden. On the other hand, weak growth that started several years ago is persisting in several EU-15 countries. Italy and France have been particularly badly hit. Not a single region achieved the EU-27 average growth rate during the eight-year period 2000–08. Performance has also been weak in a number of regions of Germany, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Ireland is a special case. Due to the economic and financial crisis, both NUTS 2 regions fell back to the levels of 2001, i.e. by 15 percentage points, during the year 2008.