In Focus – Europe


GDP – The economy of the EU, measured in terms of total production of goods and services, actually ranks higher than that of the United States. In 2012, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 27 Member States reached a value € 12,945 trillion.

Trade – Despite constituting only 7% of the world’s population, the volume of the EU’s trade with the rest of the world corresponds to 20% of total world imports and exports. Around two thirds of EU trade is concluded between Member States.

Total trade of the EU-27 with the world – The 27 member states conducted business equivalent to € 2,837 billion in 2013. Germany was responsible for 27,7% of exports to third countries and almost 19,2% of imports.

Intra-EU Trade – The 27 member states conducted business equivalent to € 2,837 billion in 2013.

Trade surplus in 2013 – € 49.5 billion (€ 115 billion in 2012). In relation to Brazil, the EU had a surplus of € 5.5 billion.

Table 1 – Results of the commercial balance of the EU in 2013 (€ billion)

Commercial Flux Jan.-Dec.
EU-28 export outside the EU 1.732.9
EU-28 import outside the EU 1.683.4
Result of commercial balance + 49.5

Fonte: Eurostat

Unemployment– Unemployment has been severely aggravated by both the global economic crisis and the Eurocrisis. By the end of 2013, the unemployment rate in the Eurozone was 12% and the EU-28’s was 10,7%. Rates in the EU varied from 2,6% in Oberbayern, Germany to 36,3% in Andalusia, Spain.

Annual inflation of the Euro – Between December 2012 and 2013, the inflation of the Euro was of 0,8%.

Table 2 –European Union: main economic indications (2012)

Indication Value
GDP US$ 16,4 trillion
Share in the world GDP 20,6%
Population 504 bilhões de habitantes
Share in world population 7,8%
Total export US$ 5,69 trilhões
Share in world exports 31,6%
Imports from third countries US$ 5,73 trillion
Share in world imports 31,5%
Trade US$ 11,41 trillion
Share in world trade 31,5%
Commercial Balance US$ 42 billion

Source: Ministério das Relações Exteriores (MRE)

Main trade partners of the EU

Imports Between November 2013 and January 2014, imports added up to € 14,0 trillion. Imports from the majority of main partners of the EU-28 decreased in 2013 compared to 2012, except from Turkey (+4%). The biggest declines were products from Japan (-13%), Brazil (-12%), and Switzerland and Norway (both at -11%).

Exports – Between November 2013 and January 2014, EU exports reached € 11,7 trillion. Diverging trends were recorded in exports with the biggest increases being to Switzerland (+27%), South Korea (+6%), and China and Turkey (Both at +3%). The biggest decreases were India (-7%) and Russia and Japan (Both at -3%).

Table 3 –Main commercial partners of the EU-28 (€ billion)

Exports from the EU-28 to Imports from the EU-28 from Commercial Balance
Jan.-Dec./13 Growth Jan.-Dec./13 Growth Jan.-Dec./13
USA 288.0 -2% 196.0 -5% 92.0
China 148.1 3% 279.9 -4% -131.8
Rússia 119.8 -3% 206.6 -4% -86.8
Switzerland 169.5 27% 94.3 -11% 75.3
Norway 50.2 1% 90.0 -11% -39.8
Turkey 77.7 3% 50.2 4% 27.5
Japan 54.0 -3% 56.4 -13% -2.4
South Korea 40.0 6% 35.8 -6% 4.1
Brazil 40.1 1% 33.0 -12% 7.1
India 35.9 -7% 36.8 -2% -0.9

Source: Eurostat

EUROPEAN UNION – what it is and how it works.

The European Union is a political and economic partnership between 28 countries aimed at promoting free trade and the free movement of persons in between Member States while maintaining security and democracy.

The EU project is to create a diverse, pluralist and multi-cultural Europe.

The EU holds diplomatic relations with almost all countries with a network of 141 EU delegations worldwide with similar functions to embassies.

Below is a list of the 28 countries which compose the EU and their entry date.

Germany (founding member, 1952) Belgique (founding member, 1952) France (founding member, 1952)
Italy (founding member, 1952) Luxemburg (founding member, 1952) Netherlands/Holland (founding member, 1952)
United Kingdom (1973) Denmark (1973) Ireland (1973)
Greece (1981) Portugal (1986) Spain (1986)
Finland (1995) Sweden (1995) Austria (1995)
Slovakia (2004) Slovenia (2004) Cyprus (2004)
Estonia (2004) Hungria (2004) Latvia (2004)
Lithuania (2004) Malta (2004) Poland (2004)
Bulgaria (2007) Romania (2007) Croatia (2013)

1950 Creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.

This marks the beginning of integration between European countries.

Crédito - European Comission

1957 – In March, the treaty of Rome was signed, founding the European Economic Community (EEC).

1986 – On 17th February, nine Member States (Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal and the United Kingdom) signed the Single European Act (SEA) amending the treaty of Rome with the aim of relaunching European integration and concluding the creation of the common market. On the 28th of February, Denmark, Italy and Greece joined the SEA.

1987 – On 1st July, the Single European Act entered into force.

1992 – On 7th February, the Treaty on the European Union was signed in the Dutch town of Maastricht, which gave the actual name the European Union.

This treaty established rules for a common currency, foreign and security policy and a cooperation on justice and home affairs.

1993 – Following the completion of the Single Market on the 1st of January 1993, The European Union finally came to be on 1st November. This Single Market was based on the ‘four freedoms’: free movement of goods, services, people and capital.

Crédito European Comission

1999 – On 1st January, the Euro (€), destined to be the single currency of the eleven Member States, was created.

2002 – On 1st January, Euro (€) bills and coins were formally introduced.

2003 – On 1st February, the treaty of Nice entered into force, widening the powers of the European Commission, extending Qualified Majority Voting, reweighting the votes in the Council of Ministers and allowing for more flexible integration.

The project on the European Constitutional Treaty was to be an extension on the institutional reforms set out in the treaty of Nice.

2009 – Between 22nd and 25th June, 736 deputies were elected into the European Parliament for the current term (2009 – 2014).

The Group of the European People’s Party and Christian Democrats achieved the majority with the Socialists in second place.

2009 – On 1st December, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force amending the treaty on the European Union. It conferred upon the EU a judicial frame and the necessary instruments to face future challenges and to respond to citizens’ expectations.

2014 Between 22nd and 25th May elections to the European Parliament will take place.

2014 – In November, a new President of the European Commission will be appointed who will in turn name 27 commissioners, one from each country.


Crédito European Union 2014

Directly elected every five years by the citizens of the Union, the European Parliament is one of the biggest democratic assemblies in the world. The current administration is in office until May of this year. “Act. React. Decide” is the slogan which incentivises euro-electors to exercise their right through polls.

Each member state applies identical democratic rules: the right to vote at 18 years of age – with the exception of Austria, where the right to vote is acquired at 16 years of age – and universal suffrage and optional secret ballots. Around 43% of euro-electors attended polls in 2009.



The EP has three main functions:

1) Debate and approve EU legislation jointly with the European Council;

2) Supervise and control the various institutions, most particularly the European Commission;

3) Approve the budget of the EU in a democratic way.

The EP also has the power to dissolve the EC and elect the European Ombudsman, who hears complaints from citizens of the Union.


Crédito - European Comission

The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch of the European Union. It is made up of a President and 27 Commissioners, with a term of five years, each appointed for their respective countries.

The current president of the EC is the Portuguese José Manoel Durão Barroso, who began his term in February of 2010, with its end planned for 31st October 2014.



Previously called the Council of Ministers, the Council unites various sectoral committees. The council of General Affairs, the Council of Foreign Affairs, ECOFIN (of Economic and Financial Affairs), and the Justice and Home affairs council among others.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED the European Council (ex Council of Ministers) with:

  • The Council of the European Union – Composed of the different heads of state and government from each Member State, the president of the European Council and and the president of the European Commission. Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom holds the highest num-ber (29 to each country) and Mata the lowest (3). It convenes around four times a year to dis-cuss the political priorities of the EU.

Crédito - Eric Chan

Between 2014 and 2020, the EU will invest nearly € 1 trillion (€ 960 billion) in economic growth and employment. The proposal would allow for more flexibility in managing funds and targets a reduction of 3,5% of global payments as opposed to the situation between 2007 and 2013. € 142,6 billion is destined to the 2014 budget. This value would only represent 1% of the total sum annually generated by EU Member States.

The European budget finances projects and acts in areas which EU countries qualify as within the scope of EU competences.






Represents the various EU activities in Brazil. Among other things, it promotes political and economic relations and accompanies the implementation of the Strategic Brazil-EU Partnership. It keeps the public informed on the politics of the EU and participates in the realisation of EU support programmes.

In Focus – Europe

The European Union in Numbers

In Focus – Brazil

Brazil in Numbers

Brazil and Europe working together

Strategic partnership Brazil and the European Union