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The Report – now in its second edition – is the first attempt to measure the degree of economic freedom in the countries of the European Union and in the EU as a whole compared to Japan and the United States. This year the analysis also includes an evaluation of the economic freedom of five of the eight countries of western and central Europe (the so-called pecos) admitted to negotiations for entry into the European Union in 2004. The idea of defining and measuring a country’s economic freedom, which emerged over eleven years ago, has led to the birth of the Economic Freedom Network – a network of more than 50 research institutions all over the world of which Centro Einaudi has been the Italian partner since 1997 – and the periodic publication of a report entitled Economic Freedom of the World. Centro Einaudi and Corriere della Sera, with the support of Lazard, have decided to apply the methodological pattern developed over years of collaboration with the Economic Freedom Network to the 15 European Union member countries (varying the parameters originally used to calculate the world Index case by case). The results obtained come with a warning note: the Index per se analyses only some aspects of the ‘economic life’ of the EU countries; it thus needs to be used carefully without reading overmuch into it or using it instrumentally.