The purpose of this article is to form a holistic picture of the European private equity market through an analysis of the dynamics and trends, structural features, as well as its position in the global market. The study is based on data from 2021 on the investment activity of EU member states, as well as Switzerland, UK and Norway. The author presents a theoretical basis through characterizing the features of this asset class, the main types of investment and their properties. The volume, structure and dynamics of the European private equity market are analyzed. The study considers data depending on investment categories, areas of activity of portfolio companies, types of investment funds in countries and regions where investors and portfolio companies are located. An analysis is also made of the position of private equity in European countries depending on the indicators of innovative efficiency, state support for R&D, country risks and the business climate. As a result, a grouping of countries with similar indicators in terms of these factors and the share of Private equity in GDP was proposed.