During the current turbulence in the EU and euro area it is instructive to assess relative rates of economic growth. It was envisaged that the EU countries will converge in the long run in a sustainable way. Three figures below demonstrate the performance of Greece relative to other countries as expressed by real GDP per capita (retrieved from the Conference Board in 2011 EKS dollars). We have plotted the difference between real GDP per capita in a given country and that of Greece. After the start of the euro area, Greece demonstrated an excellent pace with almost all differences having negative trends. In other words Greece caught up almost all developed economies in the EU and outperformed east European countries. It is surprising that Greece was very successful during the first year of the current economic and financial crisis and lost just a few dollars per capita when major economies counted losses in hundreds and thousands dollars.
All that Greece gained in 2008 and even more was lost between 2009 and 2011. Even east European countries performed better and their respective differences have positive slopes. Greece is by far the worst performer since 2009. On the other hand, this effect potentially puts Greece in a position of fast recover when the current crisis is over.