Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

European competitiveness report

European competitiveness report
Published on: 11/09/2014
The annual European Competitiveness Report uses empirical research to analyse the competitive performance of the EU economy as a whole, as well as specific industries. It also assesses the impact of structural reforms on EU competitiveness and considers the need for further reforms. The report has been published annually, since 1997.

2014 Report: Helping Firms Grow

The 2014 report focuses on some of the most important drivers of growth for EU companies. These include access to finance, SME internationalisation, the efficiency of public administration, and innovation throughout the business cycle. The report also dedicates a chapter to energy costs and energy efficiency.

Findings from the 2014 report include:

  • EU exporters continue to have comparative advantages in most manufacturing sectors. This includes high technology intensity sectors such as pharmaceuticals and medium-high technology intensity sectors such as motor vehicles.
  • Financing gaps may limit the investments and growth of many EU enterprises. In particular, small and young firms often find it more difficult to obtain bank credit, even if their financial performance is the same as larger companies.
  • Smaller firms are less likely to enter international markets. When they do, they primarily enter as exporters because of lower levels of required capital investment and of associated risk.
  • Efficient public administration has a positive impact on employment and the total share of high-growth firms in the economy. The quality of the governance system, including the presence of an independent judiciary, and the absence of corruption are particularly important.
  • Competitiveness is negatively affected by high electricity and gas prices, and energy efficiency improvements have not fully offset the impact of increasing prices.

Full 2014 European Competitiveness Report - also available through the EU bookshop

Chapter 1: From recession to reindustrialisation? 

Chapter 2: Access to external financing and firms' growth

Chapter 3: Drivers of SME internationalisation 

Chapter 4: The efficiency of EU public administrations in helping firms grow

Chapter 5: Firm growth, innovation and the business cycle 

Chapter 6: Energy costs and EU industrial competitiveness 

Statistical annex


Previous reports can be found in the EU Bookshop.