Size and population
Living standards are calculated by measuring the price of certain goods and services in each country relative to income in that country. This is done using a common national currency called the purchasing power standard (PPS). Comparing gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in PPS provides an overview of living standards across the EU.
In 2017, the GDP of the EU-27 represented 16.0% of the world’s GDP, expressed in PPS. China and the United States were the world’s two largest economies, with shares of 16.4% and 16.3% respectively. India was the fourth largest economy, with 6.7% of global GDP, followed by Japan with 4.3%. Germany was the largest EU economy, with a 3.7% share of world GDP.
The amount of money each EU country spends on education varies. Student exchanges in the EU are organised through the Erasmus programme, which helped more than 4 million people to study and train abroad between 2014 and 2020.
In addition, the EU actively encourages pupils to learn new languages from an early age, as increased mobility leads to more contact with people from other countries.
Energy and transport
Energy from renewable sources has continued to grow in the EU in recent years. Renewable energy sources in the EU include wind power, solar power, hydropower, tidal power, geothermal energy, biofuels and the renewable parts of waste.
An effective transport system is vital for EU businesses and people. EU transport policy encourages clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe.
Transport currently accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The EU is seeking a 90% reduction in these emissions by 2050. Moving to more sustainable transport means putting people first by providing them with healthier, cleaner and more affordable alternatives.