European Growth and Jobs Monitor 2008

The second edition of our annual European Growth and Jobs Monitor, which measures progress in the Lisbon process, shows sharp improvements in most countries. Eleven of the EU’s largest economies are well-placed to meet the Lisbon targets. Finland and Ireland rank Nos. 1 and 2; Austria, France and Italy lag; UK and Germany most improved; Netherlands suffers steep downgrade. Productivity growth in 11 European countries is now rising faster than in US. We have extended the group of countries analysed from the nine largest EU economies in our last Monitor to the fourteen largest this time round. What is more, the highly charged nature of the debate on climate change has prompted us to include a special section in this paper entitled “Energy efficiency – a key driver of growth”.

The Lisbon Indicator ranks countries according to six key criteria decisive for success in the 21st century: economic growth, productivity growth, employment, human capital, future-oriented investment and fiscal sustainability.

Among the study’s key findings:

- Assuming that current performance can be upheld, the EU-15 looks to be on course to meet its Lisbon Agenda goals, as demonstrated by the current overall score of 1.05 – up from 0.89, or 89%, at the end of 2006

.- Only three of the countries surveyed – France, Austria and Italy – are currently not on track to meet their Lisbon targets.

- Finland tops the ranking, with high marks on economic growth, labour productivity, human capital and fiscal sustainability; the study suggests that Finland will comfortably overshoot the Lisbon targets.

- Italy is at the bottom of the list, scoring particularly poorly in economic growth, skilled labour, labour productivity and sustainability of public finances.

- France comes in at No. 12 (third to last). The main reasons: sluggish growth and weak public finances.

- The first new EU member state to be included in the ranking, Poland, debuts at No. 5, despite a very mixed performance on sub-indicators. Poland is strong on economic and productivity growth, but scores poorly on employment rate and educational qualifications.

- Eleven countries currently boast faster productivity growth than in the United States – a remarkable shift, particularly in view of Europe’s “jobs miracle”, the creation of six million new jobs in the last two years alone. 

- A highly skilled workforce is becoming a key competitive advantage, with Finland, Belgium and Ireland scoring highest on the respective Lisbon sub-indicator.

- Many European countries have not used the recent economic recovery to consolidate their public finances sufficiently and prepare for future challenges, particularly the coming demographic crunch.


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