Irish Examiner Saturday
EU: Munster ‘is richer than Paris region’
Munster remains the second-wealthiest region across the entire EU, based on GDP figures from the European Commission which purportedly show the region is wealthier than the Paris area.
A Eurostat report reveals GDP per capita in Ireland’s southern region — incorporating the six counties of Munster as well as Carlow, Wexford, and Kilkenny — is almost three-and-a-half times greater than the EU average.
It estimates average GDP in the southern region in 2019 was 240% of the EU average. Only Luxembourg, with 260%, had a higher level of wealth creation.
The figures put the area ahead of leading economic on mainland Europe, including Île-de-France (the Paris region), Brussels, Prague, and Hamburg.
Ireland’s eastern and midland region, which covers the remaining counties of Leinster, including Dublin was the joint fourth-highest, along with Brussels, at 202% of the EU average.
However, the Republic’s third region, northern and western — consisting of Connacht and the three Ulster counties in the Republic — had just 78% of the EU average. Eurostat said there was considerable variation in GDP rates both between and within the 27 EU members.
It partly attributes the strong performance of Ireland’s southern and eastern and midland regions to the large capital assets of some multinationals based in the Republic.
However, there is a wellknown problem with using the GDP figures to assess prosperity in Ireland, because the measure wildly overestimates the size of the economy in the way it acregions counts for the activity of multinationals here.
Eurostat said GDP per capita was a measure of the total economic activity in a region used for comparing the degree of economic development between different parts of the EU.
“GDP does not measure the income ultimately available to private households in a region,” it added.
The EU’s poorest regions were generally found in eastern Europe, where GDP per capita was as low as 32% of the EU average, in Bulgaria’s north-west region.
Ireland’s southern region also recorded the greatest labour productivity rate from some 240 regions in the EU in 2019.
The latest figures show GDP per person employed in the southern region was €205,000 compared to the EU average of €66,800, while eastern and midland had the second-highest level in the EU with €156,900.
In contrast, the rate for the northern and western Region was less than €70,000.