EU elections: From poverty to the environment: The European Union in figures

EU elections: From poverty to the environment: The European Union in figures

27 states currently belong to the EU. To this day, it is not easy to reconcile all the interests. Statistically speaking, the members remain very different.

In 1957, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), which later became the EU. Today’s facts and figures:


The EU has 27 member states. Croatia joined as the newest member in 2013, and Great Britain left the community in 2020. Candidates for accession are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. The EU has 24 official languages. The euro is used in 20 EU countries.

Population and area

There are currently around 448.8 million people living in the EU. By far the most populous member state is Germany with around 84.4 million inhabitants. Of the approximately 4 million square kilometers of the EU territory, almost 634,000 are in the largest EU country, France. Germany is in fourth place with around 353,000 square kilometers. The smallest member, Malta, covers just 313 square kilometers.

Standard of living

Statistically speaking, it varies greatly from member state to member state. The EU calculates its ranking from gross domestic product and purchasing power per capita using an index value that is 100 across the EU. According to this model, Germany was slightly above this index in 2023 (provisional figures) at 115. The highest standard of living was found in Luxembourg (240) and Ireland (212). The lowest values ​​were in Bulgaria (64), Greece (67) and Latvia (71).

Risk of poverty

In 2022, on average, almost one in six EU residents (16.5 percent) was at risk of poverty. However, the risk here also varied greatly depending on the country of origin. The lowest rate in 2022 was in the Czech Republic at 10.2 percent, followed by Hungary and Slovenia (12.1 percent each). Germany was in the middle at 14.7 percent. The highest risk of poverty was in Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria (around 23 percent), but the figure was also high in Italy and Spain (around 20 percent). Anyone who has less than 60 percent of the average income of the respective country is considered at risk of poverty.

Unemployment and national debt

According to the latest EU statistics for 2022, the highest unemployment rates for people between the ages of 20 and 64 were in Spain (12.6 percent), Greece (12.3) and Italy (8.0). The least likely people to be unemployed were in the Czech Republic (2.2), Poland (2.8) and the Netherlands (2.9). For Germany, this figure was 3.1 percent. Greece had the highest debt level in 2022 (172.6 percent of gross domestic product), and Bulgaria had the lowest (22.6). The German figure was 66.1 percent.


According to the latest data for 2020, EU citizens are responsible for an average of 7.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas per capita. Luxembourg had by far the highest per capita value at 17 tonnes, the lowest figures were in Sweden (4.5 tonnes) and Malta (4.4). In Germany it was 9 tonnes.

Source: Stern

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