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Fecha de publicación: 08/02/2008
The Basque economy


The economy of the Basque Country has grown significantly over the past decade and has moved from having a GDP per capita of 89.6 % in 1990 to 129,9% in 2006, which puts it among the four countries with the highest income, in terms of purchasing power parity, in the European Union.

One of the causes of this economic strength lies in the great importance of the industry and the construction in the Basque Country, where it makes up 38.90% of GDP, compared with the average for EU-27 countries of 26.41%. This is a hundred-year-old industrial tradition which has enabled the Basque economy to be competitive and to win a share of foreign markets, especially the European one. The industrial policy, investment incentives, support for quality improvement, innovation and technology advanced by the Basque Government have enabled current levels of competitiveness to be achieved.

Industrial specialisation has not hampered the process of tertiarisation of the Basque economy. The tertiary sector absorbs 64.64% of the active population and makes up 60.20% of Basque GDP. To the traditional strength of the Basque financial sector, with the Bilbao Stock Exchange as a clear example, must be added the rapid development of advanced business services, the modernisation of trade - particularly the international Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC)  - and the rise of tourism.

This economic development is having a positive effect on the unemployment rate, which has been showing a downward trend since 1999 to stand at 3,3%, the average figure for 2007, which is the lowest for the last decade and is within the average parameters recorded in the European Community. Although its origin can be found in the considerable business investment made within Basque territory - one of the highest in the European Union, 25.7 compared to 18,2 in the EU-27 - it is also true that the Basque Country has begun to prepare itself to face the challenges set by globalisation. To make sure it tackles them successfully, Basque public institutions and private organisations are joining forces on the way to concluding a new socio-economic policy which will have to be more competitive and, at the same time, more human.