2020 was a disastrous year for economies around the world. In many places, bars had to be closed, shop doors remained closed, and cross-border trips were postponed. In the Netherlands, the year of disaster led to the largest economic contraction on record: minus 3.7 percent. How were the fare in other European countries?
2020 economic growth across Europe
Ireland’s economic miracle is a mixed picture in the rest of Western Europe
If you look at the graph, you’ll see only one bright spot: Ireland. The country was the only European country to score a plus last year: the economy grew by 3.4 per cent. Ireland also faced lockdowns, but the downturn in economic activity was offset by strong export growth. The country managed to export more than 6 percent of the goods, while global trade was expected to increase by more than 9 percent last year. He fell.
The picture is more mixed in the rest of Western Europe. Economies such as Germany and the Netherlands have contracted less sharply than average, while the United Kingdom is one of the countries hardest hit. The British saw the economy shrink by a tenth as the Corona crisis spiraled out of control. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government intervened twice too late, requiring strict and prolonged lockdowns to halt the progression of the virus.
Southern European countries contracted the most
Ireland’s economic miracle cannot be found in Southern Europe. This was where the hardest hit last year. The Spanish economy was 11 percent smaller at the end of 2020 than it was at the start. With more than three million infections, the country is one of the hardest hit in the world. Due to closures and travel restrictions, Spain has managed to receive fewer than 20 million foreign tourists (75 percent), while the tourism sector accounts for more than 10 percent of the Spanish economy.
Other southern European countries with a large tourism sector also fell: Greece, Croatia, Portugal, France and Italy all to the right of the chart, with a decrease of at least 7.6 percent. The last two countries are also among the most affected regions of Corona in the world in terms of the number of injuries and victims.
Limited damage in Northern Europe
After Ireland, damage was limited in Northern Europe. Countries such as Norway, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden have seen the economy contract, but by a maximum of -2.8 percent, it is sharply lower than the average.
The reasons for this are varied: the Norwegian corona approach is one of the few European success stories, while a country like Sweden has kept the economy open for a long time. Poland has been one of the fastest growing economies in Europe for years.