Benchmarking Report 2016

27 January 2017

A glance at the competitiveness of Europe and its industries

The 2016 edition of the ERT Benchmarking Report presents a comprehensive grading of Europe in the global context in terms of competitiveness, trade and investment, innovation, digital economy, energy and climate, employment and skills. It also provides some encouraging examples of “best practices” for innovation.

Innovation, digitisation, integrated and open markets – Key to Europe’s future competitiveness

Kurt Bock - BASF
Kurt Bock
Chairman, ERT Competitiveness Working Group
Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE

The report contains several infographics highlighting the main aspects of the EU economy often compared to its competitors. Suggestions are made as to how to improve EU competitiveness.

The key take aways from the report are the following:

  1. Industry remains the backbone of the European economy – contributing more than 30% of GDP growth and more than 80% of private R&D spending.
  2. Expectations for global growth have decreased. Most economic growth is taking place in countries like China and India, but stagnating in Europe.
  3. Trade and unrestricted access to global markets are of utmost importance for Europe as the global #1 exporter of goods and services.
  4. Due to a strong decrease of incoming investment, the EU is now at similar levels to other regions, but still #1 in terms of outflowing investment.
  5. Productivity and innovation challenges exist in most European countries.
  6. Although Europe is underinvesting in innovation relative to its key competitors, positive initiatives are emerging. Empirical evidence confirms correlation between R&D spending and productivity
  7. Digitisation is a growth driver for innovation, productivity and economic performance. Europe is underinvesting in digital infrastructure. However, initiatives and reforms have been launched.
  8. Europe is leading in energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions per GDP.
  9. Europe has some of the highest power prices – mostly driven by taxes and levies.
  10. Youth unemployment is a challenge in Europe. Ageing population will put additional pressure on social welfare systems.