The convergence of the newer EU member states with their older counterparts is on track. The multi-year comparison with previous data shows a trajectory of catching-up. At the same time, the progress is not evenly spread as some countries stagnate and others regress. There is a particular risk of growing gaps between the Balkan countries and the rest of the continent.
The report “Don’t Stop Now: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index 2016” is based on the sixth edition of the index (www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu), which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries – the EU member states, the candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
Most of the newer EU members, which joined the EU in 2004/2007 and Croatia, which joined in 2013 (designated in the survey as EU10+1) are improving their index scores and ranking. Several of them are very close to the desired average benchmark of the fifteen older EU members, Cyprus and Malta, (designated in the survey as EU15+2).
The catching-up process seem to have specific geographic patterns. The Northwestern and Western countries are the best performing core, followed closely by the countries in the South, Northeast and Central Europe. On the opposite side of the map and the performance ranking are the countries in the Southeast of Europe. Previously, the dominant trend was of a North-South divide gradually replacing the old East-West gaps. In the current index, the most visible trend is the Balkan region lagging behind the rest with a small transitional cluster comprised of Croatia and Hungary, which illustrate the problems of stagnation and regress.
Full text of the report Don’t Stop Now: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index 2016.