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Maria Klonowska-Matynia, Maria Sasin
Politechnika Koszalińska

Abstract
This article discusses important and current issues of sustainable development of the EU countries in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy (a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth).
The main objective of this article is to prepare hierarchy and classification of the EU countries (including Norway and Croatia), showing the degree of core indicators implemented as described in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy. Authors attempt to isolate groups of the EU countries which present similar development levels on the basis of accepted development indicators. It was attempts to determine:
- the level of sustainable development EU countries (based on synthetic indicator),
- trends in changing of sustainable development level EU countries,
- the main factors determining the level of sustainable development level EU countries.
Based on estimated indicators following assumptions were verified: the development distance between EU countries has steadily decreased and the economical factors are the most strongly determining factors of sustainable development.
Selected methods of multivariable objects hierarchy and classification have been used in the study. In order to measure the level of sustainable development of the EU countries, linear ordering has been applied based on the standardized sums method. As a result, a relative level indicator of development has been assigned to each country.
The classification of the EU countries has been made mainly according to the Ward hierarchical agglomeration procedure. Thus, groups of countries appeared have been similar in terms of analyzed characteristics. It allowed an attempt to determine basic features of these countries’ groups in terms of factors determining their development.
Analysis will be carried out in spatial and time dimension as a part of the research. The subject of spatial analysis will be the EU countries, in particular their socio-economic development indicators as described in the Europe 2020 strategy framework. The time range of the study includes 2004 and 2012. Eurostat has been the main data source.
Based on the obtained results, it has turned out that the development distance between European countries has been reduced. Analyzing changes of the level of the European countries development in 2004 and 2012 has showed visible process of catching-up development by countries in Central and Eastern Europe (with the leading position of Poland).
Strong spatial differentiation of the European countries in terms of socio-economic development persists still. Analyzes have allowed to distinguish three groups of countries (both in the resulting hierarchy and grouping method): the Scandinavian countries and the countries of the so-called "the core of the EU", characterized by the highest level of life and the best economic situation. The second group of countries, called "Eastern bloc" of the enlargement of the EU in 2004 (except Malta), that are currently on the way of approximating their richer neighbours. They characterized by relatively high growth, mainly in the social sphere. The third group consists of countries that are in the structures of the EU for years, the countries of southern Europe (mainly Spain, Greece and Italy), in which the progress has not been observed or has been negligible.
As many as three out of five features under examination (two of economy pillar and one of the society pillar) comparatively strongly explain the level of sustainable development indicator. It was proven that an environmental component was of less importance.

Słowa kluczowe:
zrównoważony rozwój, hierarchia, klasyfikacja, Unia Europejska, strategia Europa 2020

047. EU Countries Socio-Economic Development in the Context of Europe 2020 Strategy

Keywords:
sustainable development, hierarchy, classification, EU countries, Europe 2020 strategy

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Zadanie Czasopismo, Annual Set The Environment Protection Volume 17. Year 2015 (wersja elektroniczna) dofinansowane ze środków Ministerstwa Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego