A new report on world prosperity confirms Romania’s place as the poor man of Europe. Ranking 60th out of 142 on the Legatum Institute’s World Prosperity Index 2012, Romania was by far the lowest placed EU country and well behind neighboring member states. Bulgaria ranked 48, Hungary 39, Slovakia 36, while the Baltic states were also well ahead – Latvia 47, Lithuania 43 and Estonia 35. The highest placed from the Central and Eastern Europe region were Poland – 32, the Czech Republic 28 and Slovenia 27.
Romania did manage to rank more highly than its non-EU neighbors, with the Ukraine ranked 71, Serbia – 79 and the Republic of Moldova – 81. Overall in Europe, Western European countries ranked in the top 30, while Eastern European states appeared a little behind, with the exceptions of Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Globally, Scandinavia topped the prosperity ranking Norway, Denmark and Sweden in first three place respectively. Australia, New Zealand and Canada came next followed by Finland. Meanwhile the Netherlands (8 ), Switzerland (9 ) and the Republic of Ireland (10 ) rounded out the top ten spots. Down at number 60, Romania was just behind Sri Lanka and Mongolia and ahead of Mexico and Jamaica. The bottom of the rankings were as usual filled with African states, however, Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and Yemen were also in the last ten places.
The prosperity index looked at a number of factors beyond macro economics; the overall state of the economy was taken into account, but public perceptions of personal and national finances were also included. The index gave countries scores in eight areas – Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Personal Freedom and Social Capital. Romania’s best score was for Safety & Security, for which the country ranked 47th. Education and Entrepreneurship & Opportunity also scored quite well, Romania ranked 49th for both. However, for Economy Romania was number 94 and for Social Capital (a measure of civic spirit and moral integrity) the country was ranked a dismal 113. Even more worrying is Romania’s slipping in the rankings over the last three years – the country’s place has dropped in all eight areas in each ranking since 2010.
The Legatum Institute is a non-partisan public policy research organization based in London. The organization carries out prosperity research, hosts economic symposiums and operates open forums for discussion between scholars, policy makers and enterprises. The Legatum Institute also studies democracy and countries in transitional stages of development, it is the co-publisher of the Democracy Lab.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
(photo source: sxc.hu)