EU has resigned to mediocrity

Apparently, Germany goes well and is the driving force of Europe. However, the data do not support such impression. If we look at long periods of time, for instance the 30 years between 1983 and 2012 (which show quite a lot of extraordinary phenomena that neutralises statistics), we find that the country offers an average annual growth of 1.9%, similar to France’s, above the Italian (1.4%) and below the British (2.3%), the Spanish (2.5%) and the American (3%).

During those years, Germany achieved its reunification at a high price that was also paid by the rest of the European members. But now, a good part of German society –wary of its southern partners- has forgotten those events.

The present crisis (6 years so far) is punishing the Europeans more than anyone else. Thus, Europe –with German predominance- has settled in mediocrity with falls of around 5% in GDP (in Spain it plummeted to 7%).

Germany goes better now and it can even grow on annual average by around 1% in 2013-2014, whereas the southern members will grow some tenths less. The debate about those tenths is little stimulating –it’s just pure propaganda.

A GDP growing by some tenths with high –and apparently immobile- unemployment rates, as well as harsh living conditions in the society as a whole means that the EU has resigned to mediocrity.

Take Spain for instance. The official discourse claims that the county has accomplished an extraordinary change in the last years, with impressive reforms. However, the results are quite dull: unemployment at its highest as well as the public deficit. But this is just an example: Germany –the reference for Europe- is not any better…

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

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