Compare recovery measures across Europe

See how different countries are tackling their debts and deficits with various austerity and recovery measures, plus comments on what is needed and how the economies may perform.
key showing country ratings and the colours
Country Deficit %(1) Debt as % GDP(1) Austerity/recovery measures Outlook/verdict (2)
Sources: (1) Eurostat; (2) Comments from EU, OECD, and IMF economic reports
Colour-coded economic status of countries based on GDP growth, debt levels, deficit/surplus, global competitive index, corruption perception index and future cost of ageing (European Policy Centre report 2010).
Austria 2009: 3.4
2010: 4.7
2011: 4.6
2009: 66.5
2010: 70.2
2011: 72.9
Cuts focused on subsidies and budgets rather than tax rises
Spending to be reduced by 1.7bn euro in 2011
Expected to levy special tax on banks to raise 500m euro a year
Raft of credit guarantees and subsidised loans to struggling companies
Government ministries to cut spending by 3.6%.
Timid but steady recovery in 2010 and beyond
Many specific fiscal measures yet to be spelled out
Recovery in Austria's main trading partners, Germany and Italy, vital
Unemployment rate will continue to rise through 2011.
Belgium 2009: 6.0
2010: 5.0
2011: 5.0
2009: 96.7
2010: 99.0
2011: 100.9
Wants to save 22bn euro by 2015 to balance the budget
Adopted expansionary fiscal measures in 2009, including wage subsidies, delay of tax payments for companies, increase in social benefits
But elections and regional divisions delaying clear deficit reduction strategy.
Competitive position weak and little improvement expected soon
Pick-up in global demand would have significant impact on small, but open, economy
Unemployment to rise to 9% in 2011
Told by European Commission in May to correct excessive debt by 2012.
Bulgaria 2009: 3.9
2010: 2.8
2011: 2.2
2009: 14.8
2010: 17.4
2011: 18.8
Cuts in public sector salaries and expenses
Discussions underway about raising direct and indirect taxes
Crackdown on tax evasion
Selling some state holdings in companies
Cuts being made in capital expenditure
But pensions raised by 9%.
Good record in achieving fiscal targets
But in June had to calm EC fears over accuracy of deficit figures
Economic stagnation in 2010 before recovery in 2011
Weak private consumption due to high unemployment
Previous double-digit inflation to remain around 2.5%
Cyprus 2009: 6.1
2010: 7.1
2011: 7.7
2009: 56.2
2010: 62.3
2011: 67.6
Plans to save 175m euro in 2010
Freeze on public sector pay and employment
Crackdown on tax evasion
Proposed rises in corporation and property tax
Cuts in child benefits to higher earners
Freeze on public sector recruitment
VAT rise under discussion.
Many budget reform measures still to be passed
A decade of solid growth ended
Crisis highlights oversized housing sector and loss in competitiveness
Weak outlook to weigh on labour market, especially in tourism and construction
Czech Republic 2009: 5.9
2010: 5.7
2011: 5.7
2009: 35.4
2010: 39.8
2011: 43.5
3.2bn euro savings package
Cuts in social security contributions and the introduction of short-time working schemes were followed by rises in VAT and excise duties
Proposed reform of pension and health systems still to be agreed by the new government.
EC said in March that recovery plans are "not ambitious" enough
Financial sector remains comparatively healthy
Economy's high dependence on exports has risks and rewards
Gradual recovery ahead
Denmark 2009: 2.7
2010: 5.5
2011: 4.9
2009: 41.6
2010: 46.0
2011: 49.5
Announced three-year package of cuts to save 3.2bn euro
Package includes cutting unemployment and family benefits, and ministers' pay
Foreign aid budget reduced
Planned tax cuts postponed
Estimated 20,000 public sector jobs to go.
Fiscal and structural reforms begun before economic crisis serving Denmark well
High levels of public investment to diminish from 2011
Real impact of budget cuts may not start until 2011
Estonia 2009: 1.7
2010: 2.4
2011: 2.4
2009: 7.2
2010: 9.6
2011: 12.4
Even before recession, Estonia cut spending, raised taxes, and maintained budgetary discipline to keep deficit within EU's 3% target - so that country can join eurozone in January 2011
Further tax rises planned for 2010-11
Suspended state contributions to national pension fund.
Well positioned to profit early on from a global economic recovery
Needs to raise productivity rates
High unemployment is a risk, especially if skilled jobless emigrate
Banking sector weathered global crisis well
Exports will be the main driver of growth in short term.
Finland 2009: 2.2
2010: 4.1
2011: 2.9
2009: 44.0
2010: 50.5
2011: 54.9
Fiscal stimulus in 2009 and 2010 to expand demand
Although there was an increase in VAT, some taxes lowered
Energy tax to raise 750m euro
Exercise tax on sweets and soft drinks to raise 100m euro a year.
Recovery taking hold after record fall in GDP
But IMF says still faces "unusually uncertain" outlook
Ageing population starting to impact on public finances
Wage growth maintained at historic levels.
France 2009: 7.5
2010: 8.0
2011: 7.4
2009: 77.6
2010: 83.6
2011: 88.6
Aim to cut state spending by 45bn euro
Three-year freeze on public spending, except pensions and interest on government debt, between 2011-13
Wants to cut state operating costs by 10% over same period
A further 5bn euros raised by closing tax loopholes
Intention to raise retirement age from 60
Has announced intention to impose bank levy.
Storm successfully weathered
Uneven recovery in 2010, gaining strength in 2011
The outlook for households' wealth is not bright
Uncertainty prevails in the real-estate and stock market
IMF has warned France of over-optimistic economic forecasts and "risks significantly underestimating the size of the required fiscal efforts."
Germany 2009: 3.3
2010: 5.0
2011: 4.7
2009: 73.2
2010: 78.8
2011: 81.6
Government wants to save 80bn euro between 2011-14
Welfare spending cut by 30bn euro over same period
Public sector jobs reduced by 15,000
New taxes on nuclear power plant operators and air travel
Has announced intention to impose bank levy
Cuts in many government subsidies to people and companies.
Recent recovery lost momentum due to weak domestic demand, but underlying growth momentum remains intact
Export sector regaining lost ground due to pick-up in global demand
With a largely bank-based financial system, a credit squeeze still risks hurting corporate sector
Job market remained strong during recession, but unemployment still set to rise.
Greece 2009: 13.6
2010: 9.6
2011: 9.9
2009: 115.1
2010: 124.9
2011: 133.9
35bn euro of cuts over four years
Public sector pay frozen until 2014; VAT up 2% to 23%; retirement date for women raised five years to 65, matching men's age
Tax on tobacco, fuel, alcohol up 10%
Guaranteed Christmas, Easter and summer bonuses for civil servants abolished for those earning above 3,000 euro a month; One tax on highly profitable companies.
Taking these tough austerity measures in order to be able to tap an EU-IMF package of survival loans
Immediate outlook for business sector poor
Highly uncertain environment
Cut-backs have sparked widespread demonstrations
Recession may deepen before improving as contraction in domestic demand continues.
Hungary 2009: 4.0
2010: 4.1
2011: 4.0
2009: 78.3
2010: 78.9
2011: 77.8
Saved from bankruptcy by a 20bn euro lifeline from the IMF, Hungary plans 430m euros in efficiency savings, and an annual special levy on bank profit
Cutting salaries of government officials by as much as 15%
Three-year tax on bank profits
Freeze on state spending
Looking to lower taxes to help employment creation (jobless rate is 10%).
Economy in fragile state even before financial crisis broke
Previous austerity measures focused on achieving higher revenues and not sufficiently on spending cuts and structural reforms
Economy expected to enter more sustainable growth path in 2011
Export-led industries should grow faster than domestic-driven sectors
2011 will be crucial year for turnaround.
Ireland 2009: 14.3
2010: 11.7
2011: 12.1
2009: 64.0
2010: 77.3
2011: 87.3
Three austerity budgets in just over a year
First two focused on tax rises, with third unveiling 4bn euro of spending cuts this year
Further savings worth about 3bn euro planned for each of 2011 and 2012
Measures include reduction in social welfare payments, cuts of 5%-15% in civil service pay, and tax rises.
Economy close to turning point after a severe recession
But broad-based revival will take some time to emerge after dramatic deterioration in public finances
Ongoing drastic contraction of construction sector to continue well into 2010
Pace of recovery depends crucially on clean-up of household and corporate balance sheets.
Italy 2009: 5.3
2010: 5.3
2011: 5.0
2009: 115.8
2010: 118.2
2011: 118.9
Announced austerity measures to save 24bn euro in 2011-12
Three-year freeze on civil service pay
Wage cuts for MPs
New taxes on stock options and bonuses
Regional and local authorities could be forced to impose spending cuts on schools, hospitals and other services
Possible expansion of toll roads
Crackdown on tax evasion, which government says costs 120bn euro a year in lost revenue.
Recession exacerbated long-standing structural weaknesses, but banking system weathered the crisis relatively well
Recent industrial recovery may fade in second half of 2010
During recession private consumption was resilient and will be main driver of growth
Outlook for exports depends on growth prospects in euro-area rather than faster growth outlook for emerging markets.
Latvia 2009: 9.0
2010: 8.6
2011: 9.9
2009: 36.1
2010: 48.5
2011: 57.3
Recently agreed spending cuts and tax rises to save between 551m-614m euro in 2011
This follows two years of budget cuts, with public services hit and public-sector pay reduced by up to a quarter
Latvia one of first countries to impose austerity measures as condition of securing emergency IMF funding.
Experienced one of EU's deepest recessions, but confidence is returning
Fiscal measures having encouraging impact, but still much work ahead
Exports now expected to grow at healthy pace
Property market recovering and consumer spending growing
But fragile economy could still be hit by any threat to confidence.
Lithuania 2009: 8.9
2010: 8.4
2011: 8.5
2009: 29.3
2010: 38.6
2011: 45.4
Lithuania's parliament debated further austerity measures in June. Additional steps include extending a two-year pay freeze for public officials beyond 2010 and gradually raising the pension age to 65
Maternity benefits may also be cut
Alcohol and pharmaceuticals to be taxed at higher rates
New measures would help save a third of the 1.2bn euro needed to achieve a 3% budget deficit target in 2012.
Finance ministry has warned that delays to further budget cuts could be costly
Country suffered one of the worst recessions in Europe
Recovery remains fragile, but economy should stabilise in 2010 due to export growth
Domestic demand to remain very weak and property market not yet reached the bottom
Young jobless rate is 30%, leading to new surge in emigration.
Luxembourg 2009: 0.7
2010: 3.5
2011: 3.9
2009: 14.5
2010: 19.0
2011: 23.6
Spending to be cut by almost 800m euro over next two years, but no plans for radical stimulus
Transport and education budgets likely to be hit
There were tax cuts in 2008 and 2009.
Economic activity picking up after sharp downturn
Tax receipts still buoyant
Jobless rate set to rise, but mainly among non-residents
IMF has called for fiscal cutbacks in pension reforms including rise in retirement age
Malta 2009: 3.8
2010: 4.3
2011: 3.6
2009: 69.1
2010: 71.5
2011: 72.5
Despite pressure on its finances Malta has resisted imposing austerity measures
Although budget cuts have made, there have been no major tax rises
In fact income tax has been reduced, and the last budget saw the introduction of big tax credits for business
Maltese government says job creation is a priority.
Continues to outperform euro area as a whole, albeit less markedly than in recent years
Was one of the euro-area countries least affected by the global crisis
International trade was hit, and consumer confidence is subdued because of the weak labour market (jobless rate is 7.3%)
Public investment in infrastructure and environment projects remains strong.
Netherlands 2009: 5.3
2010: 6.3
2011: 5.1
2009: 60.9
2010: 66.3
2011: 69.6
Mounted a support package for economy, especially ailing financial institutions
But no radical austerity measures introduced, something incoming government likely to address
Past budget review identified structural reforms and savings totalling 20% of government expenditure
Rise in retirement age being considered.
Should press ahead with plan to raise retirement age from 65 to 67 and reduce generous unemployment benefits, OECD says
Seeing first signs of recovery after deep recession
Financial institutions remain vulnerable
Public finances likely to deteriorate further but fall should be halted in 2011
Sluggish domestic demand dampening growth prospects
Poland 2009: 7.1
2010: 7.3
2011: 7.0
2009: 51.0
2010: 53.9
2011: 59.3
Plans for 14.4bn euro of cuts over next two years
Previous government proposed capping increases in spending to no more than 1% above inflation, a measure it said would save 2.2bn euro
New government to review budget reforms
Main fear among all parties is that tough cuts would choke off recovery
Economy performed strongly in 2009 and is forecast to grow
Another reason for optimism is that financial system held up well during crisis
Employment prospects improving faster than first forecast, though jobless rate still put at 9.4 for 2011
Economy been helped greatly by exchange-rate depreciation, something that may not last.
Portugal 2009: 9.4
2010: 8.5
2011: 7.9
2009: 76.8
2010: 85.8
2011: 91.1
Austerity plan aims to save 11bn euros over four years
5% pay cut for senior public sector staff and politicians
1% rise in VAT
Rise in corporation tax
Increase in income tax includes new 45% rate for those earning above 150,000 euro a year
cuts in social welfare budgets
Government wants to raise 6bn euro selling state assets.
OECD says measures go "in the direction of maintaining market confidence, supporting growth and ensuring fiscal sustainability". But high unemployment, large external borrowing needs, and low productivity growth will keep the recovery slow. Much will depend on the recovery of Portugal's main trading partners, notably Spain.
Romania 2009: 8.3
2010: 8.0
2011: 7.4
2009: 23.7
2010: 30.5
2011: 35.8
Government narrowly survived confidence vote in June over austerity plans
Must make cuts to secure 20bn euro IMF emergency aid
Plans to cut 25% off public sector wages and 15% off pensions
Retirement age to rise
IMF says austerity measures will probably lead to 250,000 job losses in the state sector
High unemployment, difficult access to credit, low investment, and stubbornly high inflation means recovery will be shallow
Banking system weathered downturn well.
Slovakia 2009: 6.8
2010: 6.0
2011: 5.4
2009: 35.7
2010: 40.8
2011: 44.0
Slovakia's new coalition government has yet to announce austerity measures, but fiscal and structural reform looks inevitable
Country likely to sell between 6bn euro and 8bn euro in state debt securities this year.
Recovering after seeing first fall in GDP since country was formed in 1993
Ongoing recovery being mainly driven by rising demand for its exports and a re-building of inventories
Household spending forecast to pick-up in 2011 after no growth in 2010
High reliance on exports exposes Slovakia to uncertainties.
Slovenia 2009: 5.5
2010: 6.1
2011: 5.2
2009: 35.9
2010: 41.6
2011: 45.4
The government has proposed cuts in public sector bonuses
Plans to adjust wages in line with inflation will not now be implemented
But minimum wage raised substantially
Prime minister told finance ministry in June to review plans for further rises in excise duties, saying any budget shortfalls would be covered by taxation.
Recovery began in the second half of 2009, underpinned by a rebound in exports
Pace of growth should pick up gradually through 2010 and 2011
Unemployment likely to rise short-time work measures are phased out
OECD urges reform to pension and healthcare systems. Inflation is likely to remain moderate owing to the large slack in the economy.
Spain 2009: 11.2
2010: 9.8
2011: 8.8
2009: 53.2
2010: 64.9
2011: 72.5
Agreed 15bn euro cost-saving plan in May, on top of 50bn euro package in January
Civil service pay cut by 5% in 2010 and frozen in 2011
6bn euro cut from public investment
1.2bn in savings by regional and local governments
Pensions payment freeze
Abolition of 2,500 euro childbirth allowance from next year
Foreign aid budget cut 600m euro
Rise in VAT.
Suffered severe economic contraction and although tough austerity measures were imposed, continuing high unemployment (now almost 20%) and further deterioration in finances cannot be ruled out
Major problems in construction sector to continue
Productivity growth expected to stay low
Savings ratio to remain high as people tighten their belts.
Sweden 2009: 0.5
2010: 2.1
2011: 1.6
2009: 42.3
2010: 42.6
2011: 42.1
Has increased spending and cut some taxes, but no radical spending cuts announced
With general election in September, unlikely to see any major announcements before the outcome
But given recent pick-up in economic activity and improvement in the fiscal balance government says tough measures not necessary.
Economy has stabilised but a strong recovery has proved elusive
Rising house prices are underpinning consumer confidence, but unemployment likely to remain high at about 9% into 2011
Interest rates may rise sooner rather than later
Once economic recovery is established, tighter fiscal measures will be needed.
UK 2009: 11.5
2010: 12.0
2011: 10.0
2009: 68.1
2010: 79.1
2011: 86.9
Added to austerity measures announced under the previous government, new proposals mean a total deficit reduction programme of £113bn by the end of 2014-15
Latest package includes rise in VAT to generate up to £13.5bn a year and welfare cuts to save £11bn annually by 2014-15.
Banks hit with levy to raise about £2bn a year
Most government departments to cut spending by 25% by 2014-15. Capital Gains Tax up from 18% to 28% for high earners.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría hailed the measures as a "courageous move...concrete and far reaching"
Bulk of the cuts come from public expenditure restraint, and the tax measures focus mostly on consumption
Economic downturn has bottomed out and unemployment rises smaller than expected "for such a large contraction" said EU economic report.

More Business stories