Conference: “17th EACES Biennial Conference”, September 15-17 (IWE CERS, Hungary)

The COVID pandemic has worked as a magnifier of old problems and an accelerator of structural change and modernization. On the one hand, the global economy has undergone a dramatic slump, with GDP losses that were unrecorded also during the 2007 economic and financial crisis. On the other hand, all countries of the world have realized of the need to support households and firms to cope with the dramatic crisis, putting aside the past tendency to “austerity” in economic policy typical of the European continent in the previous two decades.

Some EU countries have performed better than others. Especially South European countries, quite surprisingly, have been able in a few months to cover part of the previous gaps with respect to the most advanced Central and Northern European countries. At least in terms of digitalization. Italy and Portugal are among the countries with the largest share of vaccinations. Other countries, especially the Eastern European and the former Soviet Union countries have lagged behind, therefore, further increasing their gap with respect to the rest of the continent. The latter group of countries seems to have caught only in part the challenge of the pandemic in terms not only of digitalization but also of other objectives, such as the vaccination.

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