BUSINESS

Greece far behind its EU peers in GDP and private consumption

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Economy

Greece’s per capita gross domestic product and real private consumption remained well below the European Union mean rate in 2018, according to Eurostat.

Even if there has been a one-percentage point improvement in both those figures compared to 2017, they still significantly lag 2008 levels, when per capita GDP was close to the bloc’s average and real private consumption exceeded it.

The figures released yesterday in Brussels showed that, taking into consideration purchasing power parity, the real consumption in Greece amounted to 77 percent of the EU average last year, up from 76 percent in 2017. This puts Greece in 20th place among the bloc’s 28 member-states. In 2008 Greece had stood five percentage points above the EU average rate, in 13th position.

GDP per capita was also low in 2018, amounting in Greece to 68 percent of the EU mean rate, up from 67 percent in 2017. Therefore this country ranked a lowly 25th, only above Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Ten years earlier Greece had 93 percent of the EU average in GDP per capita terms.

The Eurostat data also illustrate that no other country that has had bailouts or similar austerity measures implemented for their fiscal streamlining (Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, Spain and Italy) has seen such stagnation in its per capita GDP and private consumption as Greece. Even so, Cyprus, Italy, Ireland and Spain found their real private consumption 10 percentage points below the EU average. Lithuania, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Malta were between 10 and 20 percentage points below par.

The inequalities in the EU are best illustrated by the GDP per capita, with Luxembourg enjoying a level 161 percent above the EU mean rate, while Bulgaria had just 51 percent of the average amount in the bloc.

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