The EU in the world introduction

Planned article update: June 2020.

The EU in the world 2018.jpg

The EU in the world provides users of official statistics with a snapshot of the wealth of information that is available on Eurostat’s website and the websites of other international organisations. The publication provides a balanced set of indicators, with a broad cross-section of information; it is composed of an introduction and three main parts — people, economy and environment — which together contain 13 different chapters.

The publication aims to present information for the EU-28 (the EU of 28 Member States), occasionally the euro area (based on 19 members), as well as 15 other major advanced or emerging economies from around the world, in other words, all members of the G20. Note that data are generally presented for the EU-28 and for the 15 other non-EU G20 members. In the text, statements such as ‘among G20 members’ refer (unless otherwise specified) to the EU-28 as a whole and the 15 non-EU members of the G20.

The cover image for this publication is a picture from Argentina: the next G20 Leaders’ summit will be held there in November and December 2018, while the other images are from various continents where G20 members are located.

Full article

Eurostat and the European statistical system

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union (EU), situated in Luxembourg. Its task is to provide the EU with statistics at a European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. Eurostat’s mission statement is ‘Trusted statistics. Informed Europeans. Better decisions. We provide high quality statistics for Europe’. Eurostat aims:

  • to provide other European institutions and the governments of the EU Member States with the information needed to design, implement, monitor and evaluate EU policies;
  • to disseminate statistics to the European public and enterprises and to all economic and social agents involved in decision-making;
  • to implement a set of standards, methods and organisational structures which allow comparable, reliable and relevant statistics to be produced throughout the EU, in line with the principles of the European Statistics Code of Practice;
  • to improve the functioning of the European statistical system (ESS), to support the EU Member States, and to assist in the development of statistical systems at an international level.

Since the creation of a European statistical office in 1952, there has always been a realisation that the planning and implementation of European policies must be based on reliable and comparable statistics. As a result, the ESS was built-up gradually to provide comparable statistics across the EU.

The ESS is a partnership between Eurostat and the national statistical offices and other national authorities responsible in each EU Member State for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics; this partnership includes the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The ESS also coordinates its work with enlargement countries and with other European Commission services, agencies, the European Central Bank (ECB) and international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Eurostat and its partners in the ESS aim to provide relevant, impartial, reliable and comparable statistical data. Indeed, access to high quality statistics and Eurostat’s obligation for trustworthiness are enshrined in law.

Cooperation on statistics with international and worldwide organisations

In a globalised world, statistical organisations are working to define and implement common concepts, classifications and methods for making worldwide comparisons of official statistics. European and international standards have been developed through joint work conducted by national statistical systems and international organisations such as the European Commission, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD. This work has led to the formation of a worldwide statistical system that strives to use a common language, international methods and standards to produce comparable data at regional, national and international levels.

Examples of the results of this work include:

The Group of Twenty or G20

In September 1999, the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven (or G7) members announced their intention to ‘broaden the dialogue on key economic and financial policy issues’. The establishment of the G20 recognised the considerable changes in the international economic landscape, such as the growing importance of emerging economies, or the increasing integration of the world's economy and financial markets. In November 2008, during the financial and economic crisis, the leaders of the G20 members convened for the first time in Washington D.C. (the United States). Between November 2008 and March 2018, the G20 held 12 Leaders’ Summits to seek agreements on worldwide economic matters.
Map 1: EU-28 and G20 members

The G20 brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies, comprising 19 country members and the EU. The country members include four EU Member States (Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom), and 15 non-EU members from the rest of the world: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. The EU (coloured blue) and the 15 non-EU members from the rest of the world (coloured orange) are shown in Map 1. The G20 members covered 60 % of the world’s land area and generated 86 % of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, and were home to 64 % of the world’s population in 2015.

Publication structure and coverage

Spatial data coverage
The EU-28 and euro area (EA-19) aggregates that are provided include information for all of the Member States or estimates for missing information; any incomplete totals or estimates that have been compiled are systematically footnoted. Time series for these geographical aggregates are based on a fixed set of Member States for the whole of the time period — any time series for the EU-28 refers to a sum or an average for all 28 current Member States regardless of when they joined the EU. The harmonised consumer price index (see Figure 12 in the article on economy and finance) is an exception and reflects changes in the composition of the EU. In a similar vein, the data for the EA-19 are consistently presented for the 19 current members of the euro area.

When available, information is also presented for a world total; in the event that data for the world are not available this heading has been excluded from tables and figures.

If data for a reference period are not available for a particular country, then efforts have been made to fill tables and figures with data for previous reference years (these exceptions are footnoted), normally going back up to three years, but sometimes longer.

The order of the G20 members used in this publication follows the alphabetical order of the members’ names in English; in most of the figures the countries and their data are ranked according to the values of a particular indicator. The data for China presented in this publication systematically exclude Hong Kong and Macao unless otherwise stated.

Data sources
The indicators presented are often compiled according to international — sometimes worldwide — standards, for example, UN standards for national accounts and the IMF’s standards for balance of payments statistics. Although most data are based on international concepts and definitions there may be discrepancies in the methods used to compile the data.

EU and euro area data

Almost all of the indicators presented for the EU and the euro area have been drawn from Eurobase, Eurostat’s online database. Eurobase is updated regularly, so there may be differences between the data presented in this publication and data that are subsequently downloaded. In exceptional cases some indicators for the EU have been extracted from international sources, for example, when values are converted using purchasing power parities (based on constant price dollar series), or for comparability reasons. Also in exceptional cases, in order to improve comparability, data have been presented for the EU for the same reference year as used for the non-EU G20 members despite fresher data being available for the EU-28. Some of the data presented for the euro area are sourced from the European Central Bank.

G20 members from the rest of the world

For the 15 G20 members that are not part of the EU, the data presented in this publication have generally been compiled by a range of official international organisations listed overleaf. In a few cases the data available from these international sources have been supplemented by data for individual members from national statistics authorities or other national official sources. For some of the indicators a range of international statistical sources are available, each with their own policies and practices concerning data management (for example, concerning data validation, correction of errors, estimation of missing data, and frequency of updating). In general, attempts have been made to use only one source for each indicator in order to provide a comparable dataset for the G20 members.

The data sources that have been used include:
Table 1: Data sources

Data extraction and processing

The statistical data presented in this publication were extracted during March and April 2018 and the accompanying text was drafted in April 2018.

Many of the international sources from which data were extracted present monetary data in national currencies and/or United States dollars (USD), whereas Eurostat data are normally presented in national currencies and/or euro (EUR). Monetary data for the G20 members from the rest of the world have been converted into euro using current exchange rates. Data that are expressed in USD having been converted from national currencies using purchasing power parities (PPPs) have been left in dollar based purchasing power standards (referred to in this publication as international USD). The use of PPPs rather than market exchange rates for conversion reflects differences in purchasing power between countries, in other words differences in price levels. Equally, time series for indicators expressed in constant prices have not been converted from the original currency (whether for national currencies or in USD).

Several indicators have been standardised by expressing their values relative to an appropriate measure for the size of a country, for example, in relation to the total population. Where necessary, these size measures have been extracted from the United Nations' databases.

Data presentation

Many of the data sources contain metadata that provide information on the status of particular values or data series. In order to improve readability, only the most significant information has been included as footnotes under the tables and figures. The following symbols are used, where necessary:

Italic data value is forecasted, provisional or estimated and is likely to change;
billion a thousand million;
trillion a thousand billion;
 : not available, confidential or unreliable value;
not applicable.

Where appropriate, breaks in series are indicated in the footnotes provided under each table and figure.

Online glossary

Many terms and abbreviations in The EU in the world online and portable document format (PDF) versions of this publication are linked to the glossary pages of Eurostat’s Statistics Explained website

Access to Eurostat data
The simplest way to access Eurostat’s broad range of statistical information is through the Eurostat website ( Eurostat provides users with free access to its databases and all of its publications in PDF format via the internet. The website is updated daily and gives access to the latest and most comprehensive statistical information available on: the EU and euro area; the EU Member States; the EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland); and the candidate countries (Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey).

Furthermore, a number of databases provide statistical information for key indicators related to other non-member countries, notably:

  • ENP-East — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine;
  • ENP-South — Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.

Eurostat online data code(s) — easy access to the freshest data
Eurostat online data codes, such as tps00001 and nama_10_gdp [2], allow users easy access to the most recent data on Eurobase. In this publication these online data codes are given as part of the source below each table and figure that makes use of Eurobase data. In the PDF version of this publication, the reader is led directly to the freshest data when clicking on the hyper-links for each online data code. Readers can access the freshest data by typing a standardised hyper-link into a web browser, http:/ /<data_code>&mode=view, where <data_code> is to be replaced by the online data code in question. Online data codes can also be fed into the ‘Search’ function on Eurostat’s website, which is found in the upper-right corner of the Eurostat homepage, at The results from such a search are hyper-links which take users to a dataset details page [3].

Note that the data on Eurostat’s website is frequently updated and that the description above presents the situation as of April 2018.

Eurostat publications and Statistics Explained

Eurostat produces a variety of publications.

Statistics Explained is designed to be a user-friendly wiki-based online publishing system where a large selection of Eurostat’s online publications, analysis and background methodological information is made available.

Eurostat’s publications are organised in several collections: statistical books that present statistical analysis and data on specific or cross-cutting topics; news releases with recent information; methodological documents or studies; as well as promotional compact guides.

All publications are available in electronic formats free-of-charge from the Eurostat website. Some Eurostat publications, including this publication, are also printed; these can be ordered from the website of the EU bookshop ( The bookshop is managed by the Publications Office of the European Union ( Most printed publications are also free-of-charge.

While the majority of Eurostat’s publications focus on the EU, the EU Member States and their regions, a number of publications focus on the EU’s neighbours or countries further afield. Recent examples include:

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  1. This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
  2. There are two types of online data codes: Tables accessed using the TGM interface, for example tps00001, tepsr_sp320 or sdg_03_20; Databases accessed using the Data Explorer interface, for example nama_10_gdp and sts_inpr_a.
  3. The dataset details page can also be accessed by using a hyper-link, for example, http:/ /<data_code>, where <data_code> is to be replaced by the online data code in question.