Eurozone

FT Baseline

How do standard of play and level of competition vary across Europe’s top leagues, and can this tell us which provides the best football?
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Valentina Romei

Keith Fray and Valentina Romei

During the six years from 2007 to 2013 the annual output of the Greek economy fell by more than 26 per cent. On the FT’s statistics desk we wanted to know how that fall ranked compared with sustained periods of economic retrenchment and dislocation in other countries. Read more

Valentina Romei

“The good school” is the title of the reform to the Italian educational system proposed by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi that was approved by the lower chamber of parliament on the 20th of May and that now needs to be approved by the upper chamber in the next few weeks.

In the words of the Ministry of Education Stefania Giannini the reform is aimed at improving “autonomy, transparency, responsibility, fair valuation and merits” in the educational system. The reforms involve funding for hiring thousands of temporary teachers on permanent contracts, more training, the introduction of a one year trial for new teachers and larger school autonomy among other – sometimes controversial – measures. Read more

Our new unemployment tracker shows the latest jobs data across the European Union, including top-line figures for each country’s constituent regions. The most recent figures are for September 2014.

You can also download the latest data using the link beneath the graphic. Read more

Renewables outstripped lignite, the most polluting form of coal, as Germany’s top power source for the first time ever in 2014.

This was a big milestone for the country’s energy transition, or Energiewende, which aims to use renewables for 80 per cent of Germany’s energy needs by 2050, and to stop using nuclear energy by 2022. Read more

Martin Stabe

The European Central Bank on Sunday released the long-awaited results of its stress test.

The test, conducted on 130 euro area lenders, requires banks to have common equity tier one ratios of more than 5.5 per cent even under a “adverse scenario” of falling economic output, rising unemployment and declining house prices.

The stress test found 25 banks had capital shortfalls under the adverse scenario applied to banks’ balance sheets as of the end of 2013. However, that number fell to 13 once capital raised by the banks in 2014 was taken into account.

This sortable table shows a summary of the results of the stress test, including any shortfall after net capital raised since December 2013 is taken into account. Read more

by Gavin Jackson and Keith Fray

On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook. A striking new finding emerges: the seven largest emerging markets are now bigger, in gross domestic product terms, than the long established G7 group of industrialised nations, when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). Read more

No one knows how many Chinese people live in Europe.

The United Nations estimated Europe’s China-born population at 886,882 in 2010, its most recent count, while Chinese-based social scientists put it somewhere between 2m and 3m.

Why, in the age of big data, is there so much uncertainty where our neighbours are from? Read more

This weekend the FT Weekend Magazine publishes its first guide to all things gastronomic in the French capital. All the articles – on fine dining, natural wine bars, street markets, specialist coffee hangouts, food politics and more – can be found on the magazine’s website.

The interactive map below shows the locations of more than 100 restaurants, bars, shops and cafes listed in the magazine.

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The price of salad is about to jump after prices for olive oil, lettuce and tomatoes have soared following a lengthy drought in Spain. Read more

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by Nassos Stylianou and John Burn-Murdoch

Between May 22 and 25, some 400 million people will be eligible to vote in the European Parliament elections. But how many of them will actually turn up at the ballot box?

Following 2009 treaty changes, the European Parliament will for the first time have a more direct role in electing the president of the European Commission , the EU’s executive arm, giving May’s election added significance.

Despite the increasing influence of the European Parliament, the percentage of those voting to elect its members has fallen in every election, from 62 per cent in 1979’s inaugural direct elections through to 43 per cent in 2009.

At the last European elections five years ago, less than half of those eligible voted in 18 of the 27 member states. In six countries, the turnout was below 30 per cent. In one country, Slovakia, less than one in five of those eligible voted.

Turnout in Germany, France and Italy – founding members of the common market – has eroded by more than 20 percentage points since then. In the UK, turnout was already low at 32.3 per cent in 1979 and levels have remained consistently below 40 per cent ever since.

However, several of the newer member states such as Estonia, Latvia and Bulgaria recorded a surge in turnout in 2009.

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Valentina Romei

Elena is a 26 year old Italian woman with a degree in child psychology who has been working in London as a nursery teacher for nearly a year. She moved to the UK after months spent looking in vain for a job in Tuscany, a region where the unemployment rate, at 7.9%, is well below the Italian average of 11.3%.

But Elena is not counted among more than 16,000 Italians that moved to the UK, according to official statistics updated for the FT by the Italian Ministry of Interior. These numbers are based on the registry of Italians living abroad (AIRE). Elena has a vague knowledge of this register but decided not to sign up for fear of losing important rights and services (including healthcare) in her home country. Read more

Croatia today becomes latest nation to enter the European Union. This itself is a remarkable achievement as less than 20 years ago, Croatia was a party to a fratricidal war that tried to break the former Yugoslavia into ethnically pure geographic regions and included the mass murder of civilians of other ethnic groups.

Although it is now long over, the EU’s newest member still faces considerable economic and demographic challenges to bring it in line with EU norms. Life expectancy at birth for men, for example, lags the rest of the EU by nearly four years and its GDP per capita is only 61 per cent of the EU average.

Moreover, it cannot count on a growing population to boost its economic output; its fertility rate at 1.4 per woman is not only below the level needed to keep population stable, it is lower than the EU average of 1.57 births per woman.

Croatia charts

Source: Thomson Reuters Datastream Read more

Valentina Romei

Following on from 10 charts (part 1), which included the first five challenges facing the next Italian government, here are the next five as we head towards Italy’s general election.

1) Corruption

Corruption is a plight for the country that together with bureaucracy prevents an efficient allocation of resources and discourages investment. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Italy 72nd out of 182 countries evaluated in 2012, three positions lower than the previous year. The perception of corruption of Italians is particularly high for the political system, which is one of the main reasons for the country’s political instability and poor governability.

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Italy goes to the polls on February 24 and 25, after Mario Monti, the country’s technocratic prime minister, announced his resignation in December. He is attempting to safeguard his legacy by standing as a campaigning politician, but Mr Monti faces strong competition.

This interactive graphic shows Italy’s economic standing and its regional disparities and what the newly elected government will have to grapple with once it comes to power.

Valentina Romei

The UK Department for Transport is under fire over the cancellation of a deal to award a rail franchise, because of “technical flaws” in the bidding process.

The incident brings the British railway system back into the headlines, where it has often been because of contested fare rises. Complaints about the railways may be something of a national sport, but according to a survey published last month by Eurobarometer, the European Commission body that analyses public opinion, people in the UK are more satisfied with their national and regional rail system than most of their European counterparts. Read more

Kate Allen

Angela Merkel has been making much of Germany’s predominant role in the EU’s trade relationship with China – the oft-touted ‘special relationship’. The EU overtook Japan as China’s main source of imports back in 2011, and Germany is the biggest contributor to that. But Europe’s elevated status is not due to its own export growth; rather, it is due to Japan’s continuing performance slide.

Chinese imports

Source: IMF/Haver Analytics

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Martin Stabe

The latest data from the FT/Economist Business Barometer, the quarterly global business sentiment survey, was published last week and the business-friendliness section again made for interesting reading.

France’s “business friendliness” has plummeted since the last barometer survey, which was conducted before before the election of François Hollande as president. For the first time, more of the business executives surveyed by the EIU rated the country’s ”unfriendly” than “friendly” to business. Read more

It’s EUROPE’S SCARIEST CHART (against some pretty stiff competition): Spanish youth unemployment above 50 per cent! One in two young Spaniards on the scrapheap! Packs of ravening wolves roaming the streets of Madrid!

Prepare to be terrified:

Actually, a bit misleading.

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