European Union

Living in the EU

Living in the EU

Each EU country is unique. This means that gross domestic product (GDP) and population growth – for example – can be very different from one country to the next. Each country also has its own approach to key policy areas such as education.

Size and population

The EU covers over 4 million km² and has 446 million inhabitants - the world’s third largest population after China and India. By surface area, France is the biggest EU country and Malta the smallest.

Size

Source: Eurostat

Population

Source: Eurostat

Europe’s population is increasing through a combination of natural growth ( more people are born each year than die) and net migration (more people settle in the EU than leave it).

At the same time, the population of Europe is ageing as life expectancy increases and fewer children are born.

Quality of life

Living standards can be compared by measuring the price of a range of goods and services in each country relative to income, using a common notional currency called the purchasing power standard (PPS). Comparing GDP per inhabitant in PPS provides an overview of living standards across the EU.

Source: Eurostat

The EU strives to improve living standards by protecting the environment, encouraging job creation, reducing regional disparities and connecting formerly isolated areas by developing cross-border infrastructure.

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No data available for some countries and/or sectors

Source: Eurostat

Education

Education increases the skills of the workforce and puts them in a better position to cope with increasing international competition. The amount of money each country spends on education varies.
The EU encourages people to spend time abroad as part of their education. The Erasmus programme for student exchanges has been particularly successful.

No data available for some countries and/or sectors

Source: Eurostat

Languages

Language skills are becoming increasingly important, as globalisation leads to more and more contact with people from other countries. The EU actively encourages the acquisition of language skills from an early age.

No data available for some countries and/or sectors

Source: Eurostat

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