Video – Portugal, Spain and Greece: Revenge of the “Club Med” countries

Video – Portugal, Spain and Greece: Revenge of the “Club Med” countries

In 2023, the growth of Spain, Portugal and Greece – sometimes called the countries of the Mediterranean Club – will exceed that of the northern European countries. Concretely, Spain's GDP grew by 2.5% last year. Portugal rose by 2.3% and Greece by 2.2%. On the other hand, Germany saw its GDP decline by 0.3%, while France's GDP increased by only 0.9%. At the union level, growth has remained almost stagnant at 0.5%.

There are three reasons that explain this unprecedented turn in the economic history of the European Union. First, the economic model of these countries, which relies more on services, is more resistant to economic shocks. In addition, southern European countries are the first beneficiaries of the European recovery plan “NextGenerationEU”.

Greece, Spain, and Portugal receive huge sums, relative to their GDP, in exchange for structural reforms. “Macroeconomic studies conducted when recovery plans were adopted suggest that the most transformative impact should come from reforms,” explains Eulalia Rubio, senior researcher at the Jacques Delors Institute.

Consolidation of public finances

Finally, the countries of the South, most affected by the sovereign debt crisis, are now going through a period of economic recovery. This good health is accompanied by a strengthening of its public finances, especially in Portugal, which recorded a budget surplus of 1.2% of GDP in 2023.

“Today, these economies are in a better budgetary position than France and other countries in northern Europe,” adds Guillaume Derain, economist at BNP Paribas. However, structural weaknesses continue to threaten these economies. So how did the countries of southern Europe regain good economic health? Will you continue? The answers are in our video decoder.

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This video was recorded in April 2024. Editor-in-Chief: Clemence Lemaister. Head of Video Department: Raphael Laurent. Journalist: Elise Cotnoyan, Guillaume de Caignon. Creative direction: Fabien Laborde, Alice Lagarde. Director of photography: Thierry Mino. Voice: Pauline Jacquot. Documentation: Anne Flatow. Animator: Michael Mastrangelo. Thanks: Guillaume Derain, Eulalia Rubio

Production: Upian for Les Echos

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About the Author: Irene Alves

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