Economy and resources
Europe's agriculture is highly developed, but there is
great variation between different countries and regions.
Agriculture accounts for about ten percent of employment.
About 30 per cent of the continent's area is cultivable.
Most important in Northern Europe is the production of
vegetables, meat and milk, in Central and Eastern Europe
cereals and in Southern Europe fruits, vegetables and wine.
Abbreviationfinder, the EU countries have more than half of the world's wine
production. Animal husbandry is of great importance in all
European countries, but most in Northern and Western Europe.
Forestry is most important in Russia, Scandinavia and
The main players in fisheries are Russia, Norway,
Iceland, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Fish farming has
become a major industry in Norway and Scotland.
European countries have consistently high energy
consumption. In the industrialization of Europe, coal has
been, and still is, an important source of electric power
generation, but many coalfields are being emptied. The
largest deposits of lignite are in Germany, the Czech
Republic, Slovakia and Poland, and the main coal deposits
are in Ruhr and Saar in Germany, France, Poland, the Czech
Republic, Spain and Ukraine. Countries with a lot of iron
ore are Russia, France, Ukraine, Sweden and Spain.
Most of the hydropower has the Nordic countries, alpine
countries and Russia. The largest share of nuclear power is
France, Lithuania and Slovakia.
There are rich deposits of oil and natural gas in
particular Russia and the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and
the Barents Sea, with Norway, the Netherlands, the United
Kingdom and Russia as major players. The three largest
oil-producing countries in Europe (Russia, Norway and the
UK) account for 96 per cent of the continent's total
production. Seven countries account for the remaining four
percent: Denmark, Italy, Romania, Ukraine, Germany, Turkey
and the Netherlands. In the list of the 30 countries in the
world with the largest oil reserves, there are three
European countries: Russia no. 8, Norway no. 21 and UK no.
30. The five largest European gas producers are Russia,
Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and Ukraine.. Russia has the
world's largest reserves of gas, while Norway has the
seventh largest. Many European countries rely on oil and gas
imports. Germany, Italy and France import the most.
The heavy industry has long played an important role with
the production of iron and steel, and with Western European
countries and Russia as major players, but in recent times
the iron and steel industry has been more important in
Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. The coal and steel
union, which was entered into between France and West
Germany in 1950, formed the basis for the emergence of the
European Union (EU), which today encompasses 28 European
countries (not Norway).
In the EU area, industry accounts for approximately one
third of value creation and employment in the private
sector. In recent years, many large Western European
industrial companies have increasingly moved production to
Asia, Southern and Eastern Europe. Large parts of the EU
area have in recent years had unemployment of more than ten
per cent. Europe accounts for close to 40 percent of world
In 2016, Europe had 28.5 percent of the world's gross
domestic product. Germany has the world's largest national
economy. Monaco is the richest country in Europe and the
world by gross domestic product per capita. Europe's poorest
country is Moldova.
Europe's economy is the world's largest, but with wide
variations. The richest countries are in the west, and
several of the countries of the former Eastern bloc are poor
and still struggling with the collapse of the Soviet Union
The euro zone experienced its first recession in 2008. It
gave rise to several expressions, among other things, which
led to an unemployment rate of 10.3 per cent in April 2012.
For the 15-24 year age group, the same month was 22.4 per
cent. A severe debt crisis developed especially in Greece,
Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Especially for Greece, Europe's
richest countries, with Germany at the forefront, put in
place economic measures. Several other European countries,
including Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary,
also experienced economic setbacks. In November 2013, the
European Central Bank reduced its key policy rate(loan rates
to banks) from 0.5 to 0.25 percent and in March 2016 to 0.0
percent. The primary objective was for euro area countries
to be able to sell their goods a little cheaper abroad, thus
strengthening competitiveness against Asian and American