The PIIGS are flying20 May 2011
The 'OK' onesIn my opinion, the best-off country is Italy. Italy has a long-standing reputation for high levels of debt, but Italy's deficit has been fairly stable for most of the last decade. Its economy was not really affected by the banking crisis, with the trend in its deficit and debt levels not changing significantly since 2008. As things currently stand, of the 5 PIIGS Italy has the strongest economy, since it is based around exports rather than services.
The next two countries are ones that were hit hard by the credit crunch, but had entered the crises with fairly good fiscal positions. Before the credit crunch Ireland ran a surplus and had paid off large portions of it national debt. However, like the UK, it had to borrow vast amounts of money to bail out its banking system, which had been affected by a property bubble where the level of speculation was complete insanity. At least in the UK property speculation was at least on the outskirts of cities, whereas in Ireland they had been building housing estates in the middle of nowhere. Italy's banking bail-outs seem to be ongoing, unlike in the UK where they were all concentrated in one year. Like Ireland, Spain had also been running surpluses in recent years, and hence had paid off a lot of national debt in the last decade. Spain also had an insane explosive in construction and needed bank bailouts, but I suspect a lot of the debt that fuelled Spain's bubble was not domestic.