Greece ranked 9th in the world in handling the coronavirus crisis

Greece tops the ranking of the comparative study on crisis management and resilience among 29 OECD and European Union countries conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation.

The study assessed, among other things, the resilience of democracy, the organization of crisis management and the resilience of the welfare state during the pandemic.

“Greece has reached the top places on the rating scales and is one of the surprisingly successful states in dealing with the pandemic and one of the best placed states,” the researchers said.

More specifically, in the “Governance resilience” category, Greece is ranked ninth out of 29 countries, with a score of 7.56 out of 10, behind New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, Denmark, ‘Germany, Ireland, Canada and Switzerland. Greece is followed by Finland, Austria, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, while below average are Estonia, Chile, France, Spain, Belgium, Turkey, the Czech Republic and the United States. Mexico, Hungary and Poland occupy the last positions.


Well-organized democracies have so far weathered the coronavirus crisis better than those with deficits in this area. These democracies have benefited from their forward-looking and participatory approach to governance. However, we see worrying developments continuing in states where democratic values ​​such as media freedom, civil liberties and the independence of the judiciary were already under threat before the crisis. These states also posted the weakest performance in terms of crisis response. These are the findings of a special survey conducted by our Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) project on resilience in the context of the coronavirus crisis. The survey examined the resilience of democracy, resilience of governance capacity, economic resilience and resilience of the welfare state during the first year of the pandemic.

The pandemic as a litmus test for state and democracy
New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland top the ranking of resilient democracies, while Poland, Hungary and Turkey rank low. The governments of these latter countries have exploited the pandemic to impose restrictions on civil rights. These rights have also been temporarily restricted in other countries, notes Schiller. “However, the question then becomes to what extent do governments commit to restoring these rights as quickly as possible or to best compensating for the losses suffered. In this regard, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia, Greece, Portugal and the United Kingdom have adopted the most binding roadmaps.

The resilience of governance itself is also very important. South Korea was the only country surveyed to have presented a crisis management architecture ready to face a pandemic emergency. The country has benefited from the experience acquired during the MERS pandemic. However, New Zealand quickly caught up, leading the governance capacity resilience ranking due to its ‘go hard and go early’ approach and four-tier COVID-19 alert system. Greece is also doing very well. The Netherlands, Portugal and France land in midfield. Clear assignment of responsibilities and coordination of policies posed challenges for many states – not just federally organized states like Germany and Austria, which still ranked relatively well in 5th and 11th places, respectively. . Crisis management arrangements in Mexico, Hungary and Poland received particularly low marks, with Israel and the United States performing only slightly better. “States with the institutional capacity to prepare for and respond to a crisis effectively while maintaining accountability will emerge better from the pandemic. Being better prepared for future crises requires regular adaptation of a state’s crisis management architecture, ”explains Schiller.

In the vast majority of countries, legislatures were also poorly integrated into crisis management systems. However, this was mainly a factor of time constraints, as leaders often had to react quickly to the situation. In New Zealand and Denmark in particular, at least crisis communication has proven to be effective, experts say. Hungary, the United States, Poland and Mexico scored the worst in this regard during the crisis.

Well-organized democracies are characterized by stronger economies and welfare states
In terms of the resilience of their economies as well as their welfare states, Sweden, Germany and Denmark were best prepared in the first year of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Germany tops the ranking of the most resilient economies, thanks to its comprehensive short-time working programs and fiscal policy preparedness. Sweden and Switzerland also score high in this area. Japan and France land in midfield. The United States ranks in the bottom third. And once again, Mexico brings up the rear. All the states got into massive debt during the crisis. “Credit-financed support has, in some cases, helped cushion the short-term economic and social impacts of the crisis. However, this support has not yet made a significant contribution to long-term challenges such as the sustainable transformation of an economy, ”says Thorsten Hellmann, study co-author and economic expert at our foundation.

[Bertelsmann Foundation]

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