A lot of statistics that are used in communication about Europe fail on one issue in most people's perception: "It's like comparing apples and oranges". On a fruit dish that is fine, but when dealing with statistics you shouldn't do so, as every child is taught at school.
In answer to this, the Europe partner checker was created. It's a measuring tool with a number of scales, think of an old-fashioned slide rule, that allows the conversion of absolute statistics of countries into relative ones, in other words into statistics that you can compare. Which of those scales you consider appropriate is up to you. In this way the claims of politicians and the press are put into a better perspective for us, the people.
How does it work?
Suppose you have a question: "If some politicians consider our financial contribution to the EU too high, how should I look at this in relation to those of the other partners?" Or, for instance, one of the many daily news items: " France wants 1.5 billion Euro of extra government support". Or yet another one: "Textile branch happy with EU agreement on China ". How do you regard the statistics in question from the viewpoint of any given European country?
You type in a statistical figure that you want to check in the column for that particular country. You can only check one country at a time.
You press enter or the yellow compare button at the top that will fill in all the scales with corresponding relative figures for said country. Amounts will be shown for every other country that is related to your original question. Any figure, not only one representing money, can be looked at in perspective. In the last example, the agreement on import in 2005 on 24.5 million dresses from China to the EU, you can see the EU total from the "country" at the bottom: How many dresses are likely to come to our country?
The five scales
1. The total economy of a county: Is it an economical heavyweight?
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as kept tally with and made available by the IMF (International Monetary Fund). This is the total value of goods and services that a country produces in a year. The GDP counts the income in the country where it is earned, instead of who the owner is of the (sometimes foreign) production facilities, in the way the GNI (Gross National Income) counts. The EU contribution of each country is measured in GNI because this is a better measure for the analysis of resources and use of income.
The GDP, however, is a better measure for production in the short term.
2. The standard of living: How prosperous are those people?
This is the GDP pro capita, expressed in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). This is a formula which compares currency in relation to each other in order to represent the purchasing power in a country. Because this is an average figure for every country, you cannot see if this standard of living is equally spread over the population.
3. The amount of people: How many mouths are involved?
The total population, as votes in the democratic process are a decisive factor. But also for potential markets, an important factor regarding how many consumers there are.
4. The population density: How much space is there?
This is the total population divided by the total land area. It gives an idea of the feeling of full, of the measure for space and crowded and of the amount of natural land that remains. Keep in mind that it is an average figure per country, varying considerably in different areas.
5. The total land area: How big is that country?
The borders of the European Union are determined with these data in square kilometres. But modern ways of communication mean that it doesn't tell you much about a country these days. Except that you would have to travel a lot to go everywhere. And that there are probably numerous stretches of borders or coastlines. And a lot of mountains, forests, fields and air.