UK 'most prosperous EU country'

Chancellor says the news shows his long-term economic plan is working

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The United Kingdom is the most prosperous of all major European Union countries, according to a new study by a public policy think tank.

Legatum Institute's 2014 Prosperity Index reveals Norway as the most prosperous country in the world, while the Central African Republic finishes bottom of the rankings.

The UK is ranked 13, three places higher than last year's index, and one spot ahead of Germany. France came 21st in the list, Spain 26th and Italy 37th, while Russia is the worst performing country in Europe, falling seven places to 68th.

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

He went on: "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."

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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% of the world's population and 99% 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.

It found 74% of Brits donate to charity, the 4th highest in the index, compared to 42% in Germany and 26% in France.

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