New York Times
September 5, 2012
European economies are diverging in competitiveness, according to a report published Wednesday that highlighted a growing north-south divide as one of the factors at the heart of the continuing euro zone crisis.
The annual rankings of 144 nations, published by the World Economic Forum, show a vast difference between the best- and worst-performing nations in the 17-nation single currency area, with Finland taking third place and Greece languishing in the 96th spot — the lowest in the European Union.
Switzerland, which is not a part of the European Union, takes top place in the global table, with Singapore second, the United States occupying 7th position — down two places from last year — and Canada at 14th. China, in 29th place, is rated the most competitive among large emerging markets.
The survey comes during a crucial period for the euro zone, with the European Central Bank’s governing council due to meet Thursday and intensive discussions under way among European leaders both about Greece and about broader efforts to stem the debilitating debt crisis.