UK is more prosperous than all other major EU countries, according to think tank study

Chancellor George Osborne said the report provided further international support for the Government's long-term economic plan

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The Independent Online

The United Kingdom has beaten all other major EU countries in a new study revealing the world’s most prosperous nations.

Legatum Institute's 2014 Prosperity Index places the UK above Germany, France and Italy – although it fails to make the top 10, coming in at number 13.

Norway is named the most prosperous country in the world, while fellow Scandinavian countries Denmark, Sweden and Finland are ranked fourth, sixth and eighth respectively. Switzerland is in second place, while New Zealand is third.

Meanwhile, Germany is ranked fourteenth and France comes 21st in the list, Spain 26th and Italy 37th.  Russia is the worst performing country in Europe, falling seven places to 68th. The Central African Republic finishes bottom of the rankings.

The UK has risen three places since last year’s index and Chancellor George Osborne said the study provided further international support for the Government's long-term economic plan.

He said: "Thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken to deliver economic security and control the public finances, we have moved three places up the global rankings.

"It's fantastic to see Britain leading the way for entrepreneurship, personal freedom, health and education."

James Barty, a special adviser to the Institute, added: "Politicians are often blinkered by what drives national success.

"Although a solid economy is a pre-requisite - and the Government should be proud of its achievements in putting the public finances on a sound footing - other factors are vital when it comes to prosperity."

The index measures a set of eight categories that reveal how nations perform both economically and in vital areas of education, health, personal freedom, safety and security and entrepreneurship.

It covers 142 countries in the world, accounting for 96 per cent of the world's population and 99 per cent of global GDP.

The study shows the UK is a world-leader for entrepreneurship, coming 8th in the list, and that British people are some of the most charitable.

Additional reporting by Press Association