Summary of Why has COVID-19 hit different European Union economies so differently?

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Why has COVID-19 hit different European Union economies so differently? summary

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The coronavirus pandemic hit all members of the European Union hard, but some countries are faring worse economically than others. According to researcher André Sapir's incisive analysis, much of the disparity derives from three factors that vary broadly across EU countries: economic structure, institutional governance and shutdown rigor. This astute overview concludes that, to craft bespoke economic responses, EU leaders will have to parse carefully the drivers behind the slowdowns.

About the Author

André Sapir is a senior fellow with Bruegel.


The severity of the economic shock from COVID-19 on European Union economies differs by country, sometimes significantly.

The economies of Southern Europe sustained a harsher blow from the coronavirus pandemic, as measured by declines in GDP, than their northern counterparts. Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands – the “frugal four” – experienced a decrease in GDP that averaged 6.1%. In contrast, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy saw an average GDP drop of 10.2% in the first half of 2020.

The EU Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF), ...

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